If you’re considering bariatric surgery to overcome obesity, having all your questions answered before making the decision is important. If you’ve been researching your options online, you’ve likely seen many people ask if your stomach can stretch after a mini gastric bypass.
The answer is yes, which surprises many people. But there are steps you can take to ensure that the stomach “pouch” created during the procedure remains small.
What Happens During a Mini Gastric Bypass?
Before learning how a stomach can stretch after a mini gastric bypass, it’s essential to understand what occurs during the procedure and how it helps patients lose significant weight. A mini gastric bypass involves two parts and reduces the stomach’s capacity by about 80% of its original size. After dividing the stomach, the surgeon creates a small pouch and joins it to the small intestine. This bypasses a large portion of the stomach. As you eat, the small pouch fills and sends signals to the brain that you’re full.
How Does the Stomach Stretch?
Before bariatric surgery, your stomach stretches while eating as it fills with food and then contracts when it is empty. When it nears capacity, the stomach signals to the brain that you’re satisfied. People become overweight because their brains don’t get these signals, and they continue eating, which expands the stomach even more. Additionally, you may feel hungry even when the stomach is half full because the stomach has extra capacity.
By reducing the size of the stomach and bypassing much of the small intestine, a mini gastric bypass not only limits how much food you need to feel full, but it also results in less food being absorbed. Overeating after a gastric bypass can gradually stretch the pouch and essentially trick the brain into thinking you need more food to feel full.
This leads to regaining lost weight.
How Can You Avoid Stretching Your Stomach?
It seems pretty simple, right? Don’t overeat at meals, and your gastric pouch will remain small. Of course, that can be easier said than done for some bariatric surgery patients. That’s one of the reasons we developed our 5-Year AfterCare Success Program at SmartShape™ Weight Loss Centre. The program includes regular appointments with a registered dietitian or registered nurse to ensure patients meet their post-surgery milestones. This support system is a vital part of keeping weight off.
Besides not overeating, other steps you can take to prevent stretching your stomach include:
Sip water throughout the day: Instead of drinking a glass of water with your meal, keep a water bottle handy during the day and take small sips periodically. Drinking water or another beverage during a meal contributes to stretching the stomach. You should avoid drinking any beverages 30 minutes before your meal.
Stop eating before you’re full: People often wait until they feel full before they stop eating, but that can actually lead to overeating. By paying attention to how you feel before you’re full, you can eat smaller portions and still feel satisfied.
Consume small, healthy snacks: If you feel hungry between meals, having a healthy snack helps you avoid overeating at mealtimes.
If you’re planning to get bariatric surgery and want to learn about your options and strategies for keeping weight off after your procedure, call us at (888) 278-7952. Or request a consultation using the online form to talk with one of our experienced weight loss surgeons.