- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
The Gastric Bypass and It's Psychological Effects by Jonathon D. Jordan
The Gastric Bypass Surgery and It's Psychological Effects
In today’s world, obesity is a huge issue with many Americans and people all around the world. It seems more and more people are becoming obese at all ages.
Obesity is very dangerous and deadly. Many people struggle with dieting and exercise being an effective way for them to lose weight. It seems as if it’s an everyday battle and the motivation for diet and exercise is just temporary for most people. After some people have an unsuccessful attempt after attempt to shed the pounds they resort to a weight loss surgery such as gastric bypass.
The gastric bypass surgery is performed on people who have morbid obesity. This procedure divides the stomach and rearranges the small intestine The surgery aims to reduce the size of the stomach through the new arrangement. As an effect of the surgery, the patients lose weight because they end up with “smaller” stomachs because of the operation. If you have a smaller stomach, you tend to get full easily and you also tend to eat less. This is why gastric bypass can help you lose weight easily.
There are variations of the procedure, first is the gastric bypass roux en-y proximal, roux en-y distal, and lastly loop gastric bypass which is also known as a mini bypass. Surgeons decide on what type of procedure to push through with patients. These patients very rarely gain weight again because of the procedure. Weight loss due to the gastric bypass occurs a lot quicker than most diets and exercises. This is primarily due to the smallness of the intestines that is easily filled when one eats.
Whenever someone is considering having the gastric bypass they should really look not only into the facts of the surgery itself, but also the possible problems with their body after the surgery. These problems include vomiting, clogging (food blockage), reactive hypoglycemia, constipation, gas, gallstones, hibernation syndrome, very serious emotional problems, and other body changes. While the doctors do touch on the risks of the surgery and these issues they do not go into great detail. Many people are so stuck the idea of losing the weight they are not concerned with focusing on or researching the issues and problems that the surgery can cause.
One serious side effect of the gastric bypass surgery that people often fail to consider is how the overwhelming changes will affect their marriage. Studies show that the divorce rate after weight loss surgery is extremely high. Undergoing surgery is just a first step. Over the next year or two, the dramatic weight loss has ramifications for every aspect of your life. And since it happens so quickly, it’s really easy to lose touch with reality. Imagine living in a funhouse for a year or so. All the mirrors are warped, so you have no way of knowing what you really, truly look like. You may even begin to lose sight of who you are. It’s as if a new person is emerging from beneath the layers of fat.
Meanwhile, as these changes are occurring, the world around you starts treating you differently with every pound you shed. Every relationship you have will change in some way simply because you are changing. You start being noticed by the opposite sex. Some people may even flirt with and hit on you. This new attention can be frightening, but it can also really turbocharge your ego. All of this change can be very difficult for your significant other. Not to mention that you probably bonded over food before, but now that option has been taken off the table.
So suddenly, your partner loses the old, comfortable spouse, and gains a new, confident, attractive and outgoing one. And just like the change is a mind-bender for you, it can be overwhelming for your spouse as well. Some gastric bypass patients get so excited and full of energy that they just can’t wait to get out and enjoy life. They want to go for walks, socialize, see and be seen. They want to get out and live. The last thing they want is to sit around and watch TV all evening. Unfortunately, that may be exactly what your spouse wants and he or she may feel real insecure about the idea of you going out alone.
However, the surgery itself is not always to blame in a divorce occurring afterwards. Being morbidly obese makes many people feel inferior and undeserving, so they often settle for less than what they truly deserve, thinking it’s the best they can do. Some people put up with abuse, infidelity, or just a bad marriage because the weight has killed their self esteem. They just don’t have the confidence to stand up for themselves and demand respect. Others blame problems on their weight, believing that once they are thin things will automatically change for the better. After gastric bypass surgery, the excess weight is no longer there to take the blame, and confidence and self esteem begin to rise. All of these things together can make many take a long, hard look at what may be an unhealthy marriage.
The studies conclude that weight loss surgery has a very high divorce rate. Experts say that few procedures can test a marriage like bariatric surgery because, for one or both spouses it signals that their old life is over. Often it may not be what one or the other signed-up for. They may miss the old life so much that they seek a new partner. The bottom line is that gastric bypass surgery will have a dramatic effect on your marriage. Just be prepared for a wild ride.
Gastric bypass surgery has an emotional, as well as a physiological, impact on the individual. Many who have undergone the bypass surgery suffer from depression in the following months. This is a result of a change in the role food plays in their emotional well-being. Strict limitations on the diet can place great emotional strain on the patient.
The surgery reduces one’s stomach by about ninety percent. Energy levels in the period following the surgery will be low. This is due again to the restriction of food intake, but negative change in emotional state will also have an impact here. It may take as long as three months for emotional levels to rebound. Muscular weakness in the months following surgery is common. This is caused by a number of factors, including a restriction on protein intake, a resulting loss in muscle mass and decline in energy levels.
The weakness may result in balance problems, difficulty climbing stairs or lifting heavy objects, and increased fatigue following simple physical tasks. Many of these issues will pass over time as food intake gradually increases. However, the first months following the surgery can be very difficult, an issue not often mentioned by physicians suggesting the surgery. The benefits and risks of this surgery are well established, but the psychological effects are not well understood and potential patients should ensure a strong support system before agreeing to the procedure.
Vitamins are normally contained in the foods we eat, as well as any supplements we may choose to take. The amount of food which will be eaten after gastric bypass surgery is severely reduced, and vitamin content is correspondingly reduced. Supplements should therefore be taken to completely cover the minimum daily requirements of all vitamins and minerals.
An anastomosis is a surgical connection between the stomach and bowel, or between two parts of the bowel. The surgeon attempts to create a water-tight connection by connecting the two organs with either staples or sutures, either of which actually makes a hole in the bowel wall. The surgeon will rely on the healing power of the body, and it’s ability to create a seal like a self-sealing tire, to succeed with the surgery. If that seal fails to form, for any reason, fluid from within the gastrointestinal tract can leak into the sterile abdominal cavity and give rise to infection and abscess formation. Leakage of an anastomosis does occur in about two percent of gastric bypass procedures, usually at the stomach-bowel connection. Sometimes leakage can be treated with antibiotics, and sometimes it will require immediate re-operation.
As the anastomosis heals, it forms scar tissue, which naturally tends to shrink or contract over time, making the opening smaller. This is called a “stricture.” Usually, the passage of food through an anastomosis will keep it stretched open, but if the inflammation and healing process outpaces the stretching process, scarring may make the opening so small that even liquids can no longer pass through it. Infection of the incisions or of the inside of the abdomen may occur due to release of bacteria from the bowel during the operation. Nosocomial iinfection, such as pneumonia, bladder or kidney infections, and sepsis are also possible.
A hernia is an abnormal opening, either within the abdomen, or through the abdominal wall muscles. An internal hernia may result from the surgery, and re-arrangement of the bowel, and is mainly significant as a cause of bowel obstruction. An incision hernia occurs when a surgical incision does not heal well. The muscles of the abdomen separate and allow protrusion of a sac-like membrane, which may contain bowel or other abdominal contents, and which can be painful and unsightly. The surgical procedure puts patients at risk for a hernia.
While researching the surgery I have found horror stories from all over which are related to or caused by the surgery. While the number one downfall was divorce, I also found many stories of stomach bleeding, death, hernias, serious infection, denial of identity, stress, depression, hemorrhage, nutritional deficiencies, ulcers, leakage, weight gain, too much weight loss, surgery reversal, as well as other complications. The surgery not only effected the patient who underwent the surgery but also those people around them.
While talking to Virginia Harrison of Gulf Breeze, FL, I had a prime example of someone who had to have the surgery reversed because of stomach bleeding. She decided at 512 pounds and after falling through the roof of her upstairs apartment to have the weight loss surgery. She has struggled her entire life with her weight and was warned my her doctor that if she didn’t do something soon her condition could be fatal. A little over one year and about ninety pounds later she started having problems. She dealt with the issues for about eight more months. After losing another fifty pounds the she was admitted into the hospital for testing and was rushed into emergency surgery for the reversal. She has managed to keep the weight she lost off but has not lost any excess. She wishes she had never had the surgery to begin with but is proud of herself for giving it a shot.
I have personally had several experiences with knowing people who have had a weight loss surgery. Of these the people who are closest to me are my mother, aunt, and grandmother.I was twelve years old whenever my mother had “the surgery.” She had gained a lot of weight after marrying and having kids. She had progressively became addicted to eating and to food. Whenever her insurance approved her for the surgery because of her morbid obesity she weighed in at about three hundred and thirty pounds. Her recommended weight was about one hundred and forty. Our entire family was excited for her. Her surgery was a success and for the three years she had minor and mostly common aside from being admitted into the hospital once. As my mother lost more and more weight it was like she was an entirely different person from the woman that I and the rest of my family had always known. This change caused my parents to divorce after nineteen years of marriage, which has split up my entire family. Even without seeing my mother just a conversation with her you can tell she is different. She has been admitted into the hospital several times for iron deficiency and blood transfusions. These admittances seem to be more and more usual as time passes. My entire family worries about her all of the time. We wonder what happened to the person she used to be. When talking to her she said that “I sometimes feel like I am walking around in someone else’s body.” She also said, “there have been times whenever I didn‘t recognize the person looking back at me whenever I looked in the mirror.” This is really a lot to take in. At the same time, we are all very glad she seems like a happier person and the surgery did lower her risks for some very serious issues such as heart disease or diabetes.
All in all this gastric bypass and other weight loss surgeries are a lot to consider. It’s not just “going under the knife.” It causes serious change for the patient and their families and these changes are very permanent. I feel like more research should be completed and I also feel that all of the research and all that is already known should be emphasized by doctors and surgeons whenever they have a potent ional patient who is considering the surgery. I also feel that a patient should be required to see a psychologistfollowing there surgery to help them cope with all of the changes that they are undergoing.