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Does Gastric Bypass Increase Alcohol Abuse

Gastric bypass is a weight loss surgery that continues to help thousands of people every year combat obesity and boost their self-confidence. Despite this, gastric bypass has been linked to an increase in alcohol intake a few years after surgery. Although this link is not quite clear, there are many theories that show why gastric bypass or other weight loss surgeries may lead to an increase in alcohol abuse. This article looks at exactly that.

How Can Gastric Bypass Increase Alcohol Abuse

Many weight loss surgeries exist but only one seems to be connected with post-surgery alcohol abuse – gastric bypass. During gastric bypass, the doctor creates a small pouch on top of the stomach. This pouch creates a small space, making the patient unable to consume large amounts of foods like in the past. Furthermore, a part of the small intestine is attached to the small pouch to make calorie absorption into the body difficult.

gastric bypass surgery to lose weight

These two procedures are believed to cause increased alcohol abuse after gastric bypass. The reasoning behind this is that alcohol dehydrogenase, an enzyme in the stomach that breaks down alcohol, is reduced after gastric bypass, meaning that more alcohol can get into the bloodstream.

Research shows that individuals that consume alcohol after gastric bypass have higher alcohol content in their bloodstreams. Due to this, they reach peak levels much faster and the alcohol stays in their system for longer than those who have not undergone gastric bypass. In a certain study, participants were seen to reach above legal limits after having just one drink. We can thus say that gastric bypass affects how the brain responds to alcohol, leading to increased alcohol abuse.

Further studies also found out that gastric bypass affects more than just alcohol levels in the body. It may also change the effect of some foods on the brain’s reward pathway. It hence has the potential to change how alcohol is recognized in the brain. At times, this pathway can be activated after alcohol consumption, leading to abuse.

Is Drinking Alcohol in Moderation After Gastric Bypass Advised?

Moderate drinking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) usually entails two drinks for men and one drink for women per day. Although frequent drinking does not usually seem to have a huge impact on individuals that have not had a gastric bypass, it does have major consequences for those that have.

In a study to confirm this, three and four years post-surgery patients were asked to drink one beverage containing alcohol. All the participants did state that they felt some effects of the alcohol even prior to finishing the beverage.

Although people still do it, medical studies discourage drinking alcohol in any levels after gastric bypass. After this link between alcohol consumption and gastric bypass, more research is still being conducted to identify the cause of this connection. The main cause is yet to be realized but there could be possible pre-surgery factors. Avoiding alcohol intake seems to be the only best way to prevent the possibilities of alcohol abuse after gastric bypass.

How to Reduce the Risk for Alcohol Abuse after Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass is quite beneficial because it can help you achieve your weight loss goals. However, the risk of developing alcohol use disorder after the surgery is real. This is why you want to ensure that you are taking the right measures to prevent this from happening. This part of the article looks at some things you can do reduce the risk for alcohol use disorder after gastric bypass.

  • Be Honest With Your Healthcare Provider

You need to talk to your healthcare provider and tell them about your history with alcohol consumption. This should be done prior to the surgery so that your doctor can provide you with advice on the best way forward.

  • Attend All Your Appointments

You have to attend all your appointments after the surgery. Alcohol abuse usually starts about two years after the surgery. Therefore, you have to attend your appointments because this helps identify any irregular behaviors quite early. This increases the chances of dealing with the problem much earlier.

  • Have a Strong Support System

Weight loss is a tough journey. You hence need people around to offer you with the support you need to achieve the desired weight loss results. Consider joining a weight loss support group, as you will find people in the same situation as you. With the assistance you get, indulging in alcohol will not be an option.

Gastric bypass has been proven quite beneficial to those individuals looking to shed some extra weight. Despite this, it has been linked to increased alcohol abuse due to the significant changes it makes on the body. It is hence important to be wary of this and even consider not indulging in alcohol for the best possible results after gastric bypass.

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