Gastric Bypass Surgery Not Only Aids Weight Loss But Relieves GERD

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Patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery to treat their obesity are also finding the weight loss relieves bothersome gastrointestinal symptoms, according to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Patients who undergo minimally invasive gastric bypass surgery for morbid obesity not only experience significant and long-term weight loss, but their problems with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), abdominal pain and other symptoms of gastrointestinal distress improve, according to the study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery in Las Vegas.

“Before they have laparascopic gastric bypass surgery, morbidly obese patients are greatly bothered by a host of gastrointestinal symptoms,” said Dr. Ronald H. Clements, who compared surgery patients’ symptoms to those of a less obese control group. “After surgery, these symptoms essentially returned to normal — their symptoms are no more troublesome than in the controls.”

However, researchers found that the patients who had gastric bypass surgery had more difficulty swallowing than the control group. This is an expected side effect of the surgery as the operation reduces the patient’s stomach to the size of a thumb, and when the stomach is full, it is hard to swallow, said Clements.

Measurements taken before surgery of abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, GERD, gastric reflux and sleep disturbances were as much as double what was seen in the control group, reported Clements.

“Symptoms related to the GI tract cause morbidly obese patients significant problems. Now we can tell them the data shows many of these difficulties will be improved after laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery,” he added.
Source: Obesity Week of July 7, 2002

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