Monday, September 22, 2008

Bariatric surgery, stress eating, marginal ulcer and PTSD

Here is something not talked about EXCEPT in medical journals (where it's OFTEN talked about): (from Melting Mama's blog)

... [she] had roux en y gastric bypass a couple years back. She's been having burning "acid" pain and discomfort and took her concerns to her Bariatric Surgeon. He says it's a "Marginal Ulcer." The doctor said there will be NO denying when it perforates, and to get to the hospital.

My reaction here is that many Weight Loss surgery (WLS) post ops especially longer term post ops, are living with a form of "Post Traumatic Stress syndrome" - i.e. when things "just happen" to you suddenly, rather unusual things which do not happen with such regularly, frequency or severity to the general public, or like the individual above, you are WAITING for "things to happen", it tends to cause a type of stress which can lead to catastrophic thinking (and fear and anxiety) on a daily basis.

Again this is NEVER discussed at pre op seminars and seldom discussed when post op depression (which many post ops I know, have) is encountered. They are given medications which they may or may not absorb and sent home. If they eat to help their stress, they are often verbally abused by medical providers.

Meanwhile the ads and promos and seminars for WLS continue to brag that it will help depression to lose weight with WLS! I guess they hope folks won't read some of the yahoo listserves where longer term post ops hang out....

Also, I know cases where overeating has gotten folks through periods of extreme trial and stress, in their lives when, without this method of stress management, they might have had nervous or physical breakdowns.

Again, medicine almost never acknowledges stress and how it can be the MOST devastating thing to a person's health - much MORE devastating than some extra pounds (to put it mildly).

One person on another list talked about being recently hospitalized for "being suicidal". I've known this person for quite some time now, and she is usually an upbeat, cheerful, optimistic person and also of very high intelligence. So when I heard she had been thinking of the ultimate bad ending, I was more than a bit shocked. Did anyone ever consider that her "suicidal ideation" might be because of her gastric bypass which not only did NOT produce the weight loss she was promised (despite her being a model patient) but also has caused numerous NEW comorbidities which are difficult to impossible, to treat? I bet not one person who has treated my friend ever asked these questions. :(

By the way, the Junkfoodscience blog has an excellent analysis of the latest study suggesting that bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) is more cost effective for insurance companies than treating obesity. I love her title "
No evidence that bariatric surgeries save healthcare costs or save lives" Seems this study has more holes in it than swiss cheese. Bravo to this blog and its author for exposing these um...less than scientifically sound (how's that for politically correct) studies!

Finally by way of news, the young lady who made the headlines a while ago for getting a lap band (after lipo suction etc) in her early teens, appeared on the new show, "The Doctors". Seems she (not the parents!) is looking to get more plastic surgery. "I want my arms done," she told those watching the show, pinching a small bit of skin under her arms. She admitted she wanted a few other procedures also. I found myself wondering whether she, like so many of us, is getting into the "hooked on plastic surgery" thing. Of course, this attitude seen in many American women, keeps plastic surgeons in business, but so often the bottom line is the inner feeling that "I will never look good enough" a possibly correllary of which is "I will never BE good enough". Many people who get WLS are also motivated by looks and highly disappointed with the results when they don't come out looking like the air brushed models in the magazine with totally flat abs etc, even if the surgery produces a weight loss close to the so called "ideal". This young lady, now at the age of 15, remains a lovely naturally good looking young lady who, because of societal pressure, may well not be enjoying what nature gave her, and just the exhilaration of being young with her life ahead of her, instead looking for happiness in places where perhaps happiness may not be found. Should she be looking for inner happiness which may make her feel a lot better than yet-more surgery?

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