Weight Loss Surgery | Los Angeles | Orange County | Inland Empire

LAP-BAND

Gastric bypass surgery is performed to help morbidly obese patients lose significant amounts of weight.

Pouch Revision Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery is performed to help morbidly obese patients lose significant amounts of weight.

Gastric Sleeve

Gastric bypass surgery is performed to help morbidly obese patients lose significant amounts of weight.

Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass surgery is performed to help morbidly obese patients lose significant amounts of weight.

Weight Loss Surgery | Los Angeles | Orange County | Inland Empire Weight Loss Surgery | Los Angeles | Orange County | Inland Empire Weight Loss Surgery | Los Angeles | Orange County | Inland Empire
Gallbladder_featured

April 07th, 2012 By Jeremy Korman

How Can I Avoid Gallbladder Problems after Bariatric Surgery?

Gallbladder problems are more common in the obese. As your body-mass index goes up, so does your risk of developing gallstones. This is because obese people appear to produce more cholesterol. The gallbladder produces bile, a substance that breaks down cholesterol; when too much cholesterol is present, an imbalance occurs, causing gallstone formation. Also, obese people sometimes have bigger gallbladders, and these might not empty the same way normal gallbladders do, leading to the collection of materials that become gallstones.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the common symptoms of gallstones include:

  • Upper abdominal pain, usually severe, that comes on all of a sudden and lasts from a half-hour to many hours.
  • Pain in the right shoulder blade or under the right shoulder.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Indigestion after consuming fried foods, desserts, or other fatty foods.

Who else is at higher risk of gallstones?

Those who lose weight quickly. Rapid weight loss may cause an imbalance of bile and cholesterol in the body, as well, which can lead to the formation of gallstones.

If you go on a very low-calorie diet and lose more than, say, three pounds per week, you may have a 10- to 25-percent chance of developing gallstones. Most of these are “silent” gallstones, meaning that the patient doesn’t have any symptoms. However, about a third of patients with gallstones — three to eight percent of very aggressive dieters, those who consumed around 800 calories a day — felt symptoms, and some of them needed surgery.

Higher statistics for bariatric patients

Because of the rapid weight loss, about a third of weight loss surgery patients develop gallstones in the first few months following surgery, and many of them do have symptoms. This is one reason that you should consistently adhere to the followup care schedule and consult with your bariatric surgeon should you experience serious discomfort or irregularities.

It is important to note: obesity carries a greater risk of gallstones — and of other health problems — than losing weight does. While it is true that both obese people and those losing weight get gallstones at a higher rate than the general population, losing weight is still the better option for your gallbladder and the rest of your body.

To decrease the risk further, you can aim for more gradual weight loss — although with bariatric surgery, this is not often possible.

To lower the risk, bariatric patients can do a few things:

  • Eat a moderate amount of healthy fat as part of your diet; you should take your nutritionist’s advice on this one. Your Marina Hospital nutritionist can advise you on the appropriate amounts and types of fat.
  • Work out. If you’re able, you should be getting an hour to 90 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise nearly every day.  If not, you should be working up to that goal. Exercise benefits your body in so many ways, including weight management and gallbladder health.

Gallstones can be a concern for bariatric patients, but you can manage the risk and monitor your health for signs of this condition. Set up an appointment for a free consultation if you are obese and at risk of gallbladder conditions by calling (800) 491-1977 today!

References:

By Jeremy Korman