Gastric Bypass Surgery - Why does it work?

I have had a few friends undergo gastric bypass, with amazing results. My father is seriously considering it, and if I ever get benefits again, I’m definitely going to give it some serious thought. But one thing I haven’t been able to figure out is why it works.

As far as I understand it, it’s pretty basic, and the end result is, part of the stomach is bypassed. Why does this cause the drastic weight loss that is so common? One of my friends said a huge amount of her weight was lost in the first few months (the first 6 weeks of which, she was on a liquid diet). So that part I can follow. But beyond that, does reducing the functionign size of the stomach make a huge difference? With some of the friends, and definitely with my father and I, a big part of our downfall was that we ate not because we were hungry, but because it was good. So would having a smaller stomach change that? Is it a fear factor? Obviously overindulging after a stapling could be a pretty dangerous thing to do; does the fear alone keep most people in check?

I’m truly baffled, so pardon my ignorance, and thanks for any help.

I don’t think you could overeat. Once your stomach is stapled every time you eat a miniscule amout your full. If you tried to overeat it wouldn’t go down and you’d automatically regurgitate it.
I’ve heard that people that get this procedure done have strict diets set for them.
Not because they’re not allowed to eat as much but because they can’t. What they do manage to eat has to have the right nutrients so they can live.

Stomach surgery also lessens how much of what you eat is digested and absorbed. This is one of the causes of dumping syndrome (nausea and diarrhea following too much sugar, fat, alcohol, etc), the fact that you can’t digest it. It also drastically lowers the levels of Ghrelin, which is a hormone that tells your brain you are hungry.

So as far as i know it works due to three things

Decreased Ghrelin levels
a smaller stomach
less absorbtion of the food you eat

I’m sure the fact that alot of patients are encouraged to walk daily helps too, a morbidly obese person walking for an hour can burn 500+ calories.

I have a public relations company. One of my clients is a psychologist who specializes in working with people who suffer from eating disorders/body issues.
Three of her patients have had bypass surgery and have gained the weight back. (They came to her after gaining the weight back.) She says that the bypass surgery can be “eaten around” and many people are now fatter than ever.

I know 2 people that have had the surgery. They both confirm that they are simply incapable of eating more than the tiniest portions of food. They also have both had amazing results.

As with any surgery, there are inherent risks. One of them developed an infection shortly after the surgery and was in a coma for 6 weeks. :eek: He’s fine now.

It is true that some patients do regain all of their weight after surgery. That has happened to two people I know out of several who have had a by-pass. I’m not certain, but I believe that they were both very compulsive eaters who force fed themselves until their stomachs could hold more and more.

Compulsive eating is a disorder and not as simple as just a matter of will power anymore than other compulsive disorders.

When I had the procedure, my stomach was made into about the size of an egg. Actually, I have two stomachs. The food goes to the egg-sized one which doesn’t hold very much and I fill full very quickly.

When the food enters my intestines, gastric juices from the old stomach held to digest the food. The intestines have been shortened to limit absorption of calories, etc. So I have to take supplements to make sure that I am getting all of the vitamins and minerals that I need.

I have read that most gastric by-pass patients regain about 1/3 of their weight and then level off. I lost 155 pounds and regained 33 before leveling off.

About a year or so ago, one of my physicians decided that he wanted me to try a medication called topamax. He said that it was originally developed for treating seizures but that it had been successful in controlling compulsive behaviors. Since then I have lost 13 pounds without any effort to curtail my eating at all.

That is only a pound a month. But considering that I no longer relate to food compulsively (even though it still tastes great), that is amazing to me. I just don’t think about eating and have to remind myself that I need something.

I used to think that I ate because it tasted good. If that were true, I would still be eating all the time. With my brain chemistry slightly rewired, I’ve suddenly developed all of this “will power” that everyone said that I needed to exercise. :rolleyes:

I have never once regretted the surgery. It has been my greatest gift to myself. But it is serious surgery and quite painful. Everyone reacts differently. Get all of the information that you can.

My understanding is that a woman should be at least 100 pounds overweight. With men, it is slightly more. I think most surgeons want you to be under age 60.

My surgery was on Fat Tuesday in 1998. Given my ups and downs and the use of topamax, I have maintained an overall weight loss of 135 pounds for six years and eaten pretty much what I have wanted to eat.

I wish you every success in whatever you choose to do!