Gastric bypass surgery is an effective weight loss option for people struggling with obesity.
This procedure involves the creation of a small stomach pouch that is then connected directly to the small intestine, bypassing most of the stomach and the first section of the small intestine.
While the procedure offers numerous benefits, it also comes with certain risks and potential complications.
One such concern is the use of alcohol after surgery. While alcohol consumption is a common social activity, its consumption post-surgery can have severe consequences for patients.
Alcohol use after gastric bypass surgery can cause adverse reactions such as nausea, vomiting, and malabsorption, as well as lead to the development of addiction and other health concerns.
It is crucial for patients to understand the potential dangers of consuming alcohol after surgery and take necessary precautions to ensure a safe and healthy recovery.
In this blog, we will delve into the risks and precautions associated with alcohol use post-weight loss surgery and offer valuable insights to help patients make informed decisions about their health and well-being.
Exploring the Connection Between Gastric Bypass Surgery and Alcoholism Risk
Gastric bypass surgery is a common weight loss surgery that offers patients a chance to improve their health and overall quality of life. However, recent studies have shown that there may be a connection between gastric bypass surgery and an increased risk of alcoholism.
While the reasons behind this connection are still not fully understood, some experts suggest that changes in the way the body processes alcohol post-surgery may be a contributing factor.
This raises concerns about the potential risks of developing alcohol use disorders and highlights the need for patients to be aware of the risks and take necessary precautions.
In this blog, we will explore the potential link between gastric bypass surgery and alcoholism risk, as well as discuss ways in which patients can reduce their risk and maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle post-surgery.
Why Is There a Connection?
One possible reason for this link is that bariatric surgery alters your stomach and affects certain hormones in your body, including ghrelin, leptin, and dopamine. These hormones influence hunger, and the rewards of eating, and can also influence alcohol consumption. In other words, drinking more after surgery may be related to altered body chemistry and the increased feeling of reward.
Research also shows that, because gastric bypass patients metabolize alcohol differently, they get drunker quicker and take longer to sober up. In a 2007 Stanford study, people who had undergone gastric bypass took an average of 108 minutes to reach a breathalyzer reading of zero after a single glass of wine, versus 72 minutes for the control group. Since alcohol has a more powerful effect, it may become more appealing to drink.
Finally, it is always possible that addiction transfer comes into play. If someone is addicted to overeating, they may transfer that tendency to other substances such as alcohol in the process of making a change.
Among gastric bypass patients, other factors that might influence vulnerability to alcohol addiction include being male, younger age, smoking, pre-surgical AUD, and a lower sense of belonging. Overall, however, there are still many unanswered questions about gastric bypass and alcohol abuse.
Keeping a Healthy Relationship With Alcohol After Gastric Bypass Surgery
After receiving gastric bypass surgery, your physician will likely instruct you to completely avoid alcohol for at least the first six months of your recuperation. Afterward, the best approach is to reintroduce it gradually, if at all, and be very mindful of the impact it is having. If you discover that it has a more pleasurable effect than before, or that you are drinking more frequently, it is advisable to abstain altogether.
For those individuals who have a long history of alcohol misuse, this process may be more complicated. In this case, it is essential to address any drinking problems prior to surgery and to maintain a strong support system afterward.
Needless to say, this can be a challenge for many people. It’s important to know that you’re not alone and that resources and support are available.
At Ria Health, we use the latest scientific approaches, including FDA-approved medications, to help our members reduce or stop drinking. Our members show an average 75 percent reduction in alcohol use within one year. And, according to CMO Dr. John Mendelson, “the response to treatment is similar in post-bariatric surgery patients to patients who haven’t had surgery.”
Get in touch with us today to learn how we can support you in keeping a healthy relationship with alcohol.