Written By: Emma Squillace
Weight loss surgeries like the gastric sleeve and gastric bypass help thousands of people lose a substantial amount of weight each year. You may know some of the reasons behind the success of these procedures – they’re designed to help you eat less, feel full with smaller meals, and often have a hormonal or metabolic component also. The surgeries have been shown to help treat type 2 diabetes in a significant way, and reduce the risks of stroke, heart disease, arthritis, sleep apnea, and more. If you’ve been considering bariatric surgery, you may have heard the benefits, but you’ve probably also heard certain rumors. Today, we’ll cover some specific concerns our patients ask us about, and will give you the truth behind these questions.
Will my hair fall out?
Have you heard that bariatric surgery patients sometimes lose their hair? There is some degree of truth to this, but the hair loss is temporary. The most common time for hair loss is about 3 to 6 months after your weight loss operation. Even patient who take vitamins and supplements, may lose some hair. With proper nutrition, this hair loss is temporary for almost everyone.
Will I always need vitamins?
Yes. With bariatric surgeries, you will need to take certain vitamins and supplements. All patients must take a multivitamin, and some need to take additional vitamins as well, like Vitamin D. We may also recommend you take an iron and/or calcium supplement. This is because you’ll be eating less, so your body will be getting fewer nutrients. Even by following a carefully balanced diet, you are at risk for some deficiencies. We will make sure you are very clear on what vitamins and supplements to take. These will vary based on what procedure you had performed. We recommend that each year you have a blood test done to ensure your levels are good, and we can work with you to adjust your vitamins and supplements as needed.
Can I try to get pregnant? Will the baby be healthy?
Yes, in fact we have many patients who have gone on to have children after bariatric surgery. Sometimes obesity is a major factor in infertility, so by losing weight, some people are more easily able to conceive. You will want to wait until you’ve had time to heal adequately, and let your body adjust, after bariatric surgery. We generally recommend waiting 1 – 1.5 years after surgery before you get pregnant, but please speak to us if pregnancy is a factor for you. We are happy to discuss our specific recommendations with you. Some extra good news is that babies of women who were obese, and then lost weight with bariatric surgery, are less likely to be obese themselves. For many people, their weight loss surgery can actually help the weight of their future children!
What kind of exercise will I be able to do?
The best exercise to start with after bariatric surgery is walking. Walking is an exercise that most people can do almost right after their procedure. You do NOT need to walk for a long time to see benefits. Just short walks at first are fine. You can work up to longer distances or a faster pace, as you gain strength. There are also videos of seated workouts online, that you may want to try. These allow exercise beginners to build up their strength with short workouts that can be done from even your dining room chair. Swimming is another exercise that many people like, especially because it’s so low impact and comfortable on the joints. One thing to keep in mind is we do not want you to try swimming until after any wounds from the surgery are completely healed.
If you have been thinking about bariatric surgery, you likely have questions. Our supportive team is happy to speak with you and make sure any question you have is answered. There is no such thing as a ‘stupid’ question, especially when it comes to your health! Please reach out to us if there is anything we can answer for you about bariatric surgery or the process to get started. We can be reached at (855) 690-0565.