Stomach Stapling Kills

The death of an obese woman and her unborn child underscores the concern many health professionals have about the risks of pregnancy so soon after having gastric bypass surgery. The deaths, reported two years ago, were the first suffered by a woman and an unborn child due to complications from such surgery.

The big concern: Women make up the majority of the 110,000 people who have gastric bypass surgery, largely during their childbearing years.

  • About 20 percent of the patients who choose gastric bypass surgery will suffer complications
  • An estimated 1 to 4 out of every 200 patients will die from those complications
  • Eighty-five percent of all gastric bypass surgeries are done on women, primarily during their childbearing years
  • Tears or hernias weren’t uncommon, experts say, and could happen up to five years after surgery

Because the surgery lessens the number of nutrients available to a fetus and can lead to serious infections, many physicians prescribe contraceptives for two years after the surgery to avoid pregnancy until a woman’s weight stabilizes. Also more common are pregnancies a year after the surgery because fertility rises with a major weight loss.

How gastric bypass surgery works: The surgeon separates a small pouch at the top of the stomach with staples from the rest. He or she then cuts the bottom segment of the small intestine and attaches it to the newly stapled pouch. The upper part of the stomach that holds digestive juices is reattached to the lower part.

Because the “new” pouch holds just a few ounces of food, calories and nutrients aren’t absorbed into the small intestine, meaning people lose weight. But they also have to take supplements and protein to guard against malnutrition.

Because three more patients in Massachusetts have died due to gastric bypass complications in the past 20 months, the state is considering new safety guidelines.

A staggering 61 percent of American adults currently meet the scientific definition of obesity, putting them at increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, depression and several forms of cancer. This is a problem of catastrophic proportions and one that can be relatively easily corrected. Gastric bypass may seem like the quick fix, however it is not the solution because of its many negative long-term health consequences.

You can avoid costly surgery and improve your health dramatically today by taking three important steps:

  • Retool your diet based on your personal metabolic type while eliminating grains and sugars
  • Start exercising
  • Learn an effective tool that helps you better deal with the emotions behind the eating that sabotage your health

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