Special Issues for Women After Bariatric Weight-Loss Surgery
While the time and dedication required to effectively lose weight with bariatric procedures are well worth the effort, life after surgery isn’t always easy. From a new diet to an altered appearance, your body and your outlook may change as you adjust to the new you.
Issues for women after bariatric surgery can include hormone shifts affecting fertility, and bone health. If you are considering a surgical procedure for weight loss, these are some of the special conditions you should discuss with your doctor before moving forward.
Bariatric surgery is available for women between the ages of 18 and 65, with a majority of surgeries taking place on patients of childbearing age. Although pregnancy is recommended prior to surgery due the intense strain on the body, a healthy, normal pregnancy is certainly possible after a gastric sleeve, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, or adjustable gastric band surgery. As such, contraception becomes a necessary consideration for all women, including mothers, child-free women, and those with future hopes of childbirth.
Due to the nature of bariatric surgery, fertility may be affected. Many overweight and obese women face problems with infertility, including restricted ovulation, inadequate hormone levels, and irregular menstrual cycles. After surgery, however, these issues can improve, leading to the potential for a successful pregnancy even after previous struggles to conceive.
Following bariatric surgery, women are encouraged to seek effective contraception. Implants and intrauterine devices, or IUDs, are frequently recommended for women during recovery as these methods continue to work for three or more years without any additional action. For those who feel more comfortable with a less permanent option, hormonal choices like the pill, the ring, or the shot are also available.
Bone health is a concern for many women, especially those who have reached middle age, due to an increased risk of osteoporosis. Losing weight quickly can unfortunately exacerbate existing issues, leading to bone thinning and a higher likelihood of breaks and sprains.
In order to maintain strong, healthy bones after surgery, many physicians will recommend supplements, including calcium and vitamin D. Regular tests for these vitamins may be performed as well to make sure you and your doctor understand current risk levels. Postmenopausal women may require additional testing before and after surgery to prevent against critical bone loss as a result of bariatric procedures. Women who smoke may be encouraged to quit, due to the negative relationship between tobacco use and bone health.
Bariatric surgery is an extremely personal choice, and there’s no one right answer for all patients. With several potential issues for women after bariatric surgery, talking to your physician prior to moving forward can be the best way to guarantee treatment that’s right for you.
Interested in learning more about how weight loss surgery can affect women’s health? Contact Olde Del Mar Surgical today at 858-457-4917 or register for an online seminar!