Researchers have discovered that individuals who undergo a weight loss procedure known as laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass are likely to develop food intolerance and lasting digestive problems.

In a study featured in the journal British Journal of Surgery, Dr. Thomas Boerlage and his colleagues at MC Slotervaart in the Netherlands examined the effects of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery on extremely obese individuals.

Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is a medical procedure wherein the size of the patient's stomach is reduced, making it as small as an egg-sized pouch.

Despite being a difficult operation to perform, the surgery became popular because of its associated benefits such as less scarring, minimal incisional hernia risk, reduced discomfort, faster recovery time, and a shortened hospital stay for the recipient.

Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

For their study, Boerlage and his team analyzed medical data from more than 200 extremely obese patients who had undergone Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

The researchers wanted to confirm if the weight loss procedure does indeed cause an aggravation of gastrointestinal problems following the operation. Previous studies have only examined its impact on the health of patients one year after the surgery.

By examining data from two years after the gastric bypass, the research team discovered that patients were able to lose as much as 31 percent of their total body weight on average.

However, when compared to those of 295 obese individuals who didn't undergo the weight loss procedure and served as the control group, the gastric bypass patients had a higher likelihood to develop indigestion and lose the ability to tolerate multiple foods.

Boerlage and his colleagues also surveyed both the gastric bypass patients and members of the control group for 16 different digestive problems. They discovered that those who received the procedure had an average of 2.2 gastrointestinal symptoms, while those from the control group had only 1.8.

Most of the weight loss patients suffered from digestive problems such as flatulence, belching, stomach gurgling, indigestion, and hard or loose stools.

Members of the control group, on the other hand, experienced issues with hunger pains.

As many as 71 percent of weight loss patients developed a tolerance for food such as fried foods, pastries, and carbonated drinks. The 17 percent from the control group that developed similar food tolerance pointed to fried foods and milk as the ones most problematic.

The researchers weren't able to find a direct correlation between the amount of weight shed and the number of food intolerances experienced by the participants.

Boerlage and his team also noted that their study only involved a small number of participants. They also lacked enough data on the patients' symptoms before they underwent gastric bypass surgery, which makes it difficult to find out what gastrointestinal issue was caused by the procedure.

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