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How does gastric bypass surgery affect the digestion process?

Steven C. Simper, MD
Vascular Surgery
During gastric bypass surgery, the surgeon creates a smaller stomach pouch. The surgeon then attaches a Y-shaped section of the small intestine directly to the pouch. This allows food to bypass a part of the small intestine, which normally absorbs calories and nutrients. Having a smaller stomach helps you feel fuller sooner and eat less food. Gastric bypass surgery also triggers powerful hormone changes that help you control hunger. After surgery, some of the nutrients that your body normally would absorb will be limited and you'll also eat less food overall. Taking vitamin and mineral supplements everyday can help prevent any nutritional deficiencies.
Abby Ellin
Nutrition & Dietetics
Although the procedure causes enormous weight loss, it also significantly affects the normal digestion process. Bypassing the first part of the intestine interferes with normal absorption of critical nutrients and causes complications related to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, like anemia (iron deficiency) and metabolic bone disease (calcium and vitamin D deficiency).
Teenage Waistland: A Former Fat Kid Weighs In on Living Large, Losing Weight, and How Parents Can (and Can't) Help

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Teenage Waistland: A Former Fat Kid Weighs In on Living Large, Losing Weight, and How Parents Can (and Can't) Help

We've been inundated lately with books and articles about childhood obesity. Most offer cultural critique or nutrition and exercise advice — in tones that are alternately appalled and patronizing....

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.