Bariatric surgery changes the body in many ways in addition to weight loss. Those who are obese will lose significant amounts of weight, post-op, and thus improve will Bariatric surgery affect hormonestheir health and well-being.

However, studies show that weight loss surgery, particularly Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, changes the activity of certain hormones, including ghrelin, “the hunger hormone.”

Because your endocrine system plays a major role in your body’s energy balance, growth and development, reproductive system, and responses to stress and injury, any change resulting bariatric surgery will deeply affect the way you experience each day of your life. The following types of surgery can alter your hormones in different ways:

  • Adjustable gastric band (AGB): In this type of surgery, surgeons place a band around the top of the stomach, creating a small pouch with the ability to hold only minimal amounts of food. Your surgeon can adjust the size of the opening in subsequent procedures to allow for more or less food to pass through.
  • Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB): This type involves rerouting the digestive tract by bypassing most of your stomach and a small section of the intestine. This surgery reduces your stomach size, reduces your body’s use of ghrelin, and often decreases the amount of nutrients absorbed from food.
  • Vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG): VSG slows down how quickly food leaves your stomach and significantly reduces the size of your stomach, lowering food intake. This type of surgery also causes a change in the way your hunger hormones operate, reducing the desire for food.

Endocrine Benefits

Bariatric surgery’s benefits for obese individuals greatly outweigh any risks. The pros of bariatric surgery include:

  • Improved or even eliminated type-2 diabetes. Roux-en-Y surgery can cause improvements in diabetes within just days of surgery.
  • Balanced blood fat levels, including reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglycerides, and raised HDL (good) cholesterol.
  • Improvements in fertility in obese women. Improvements were particularly noted in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common condition in women ages 20-40 resulting in diabetes, raised blood pressure, and an increase in unhealthy levels of fat in the blood.
  • Eliminated or, at the very least, reduced high blood pressure.
  • Increased testosterone levels in obese men.

Hormones manage every aspect of your body and contribute to the way you think, feel, and behave. If you are considering weight loss surgery, understanding the hormonal changes that may occur can help you prepare for these physical, mental, and emotional changes, and inform your choice of surgery. Have questions or concerns? Contact a weight loss surgeon you trust.

About the Author:

Toby Broussard, MD and Gregory F. Walton, MD, General and Bariatric Surgeons, comprise WeightWise Bariatric Program. Dr. Broussard and Dr. Walton perform weight loss surgery techniques including lap band surgery, laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery, and laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery. WeightWise Bariatric Program is located right outside of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and also serves areas including Tulsa Oklahoma, Dallas Texas, Amarillo Texas, Wichita Kansas, and Little Rock Arkansas.

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