Hormones play a significant role in every bodily function including how you respond to stress on the body, causing many hormonal consequences of bariatric surgery. Hormones are chemical messengers that regulate processes in our body. The hormones leptin, ghrelin, insulin, sex hormones, and growth hormones influence our appetite, metabolism, and body fat distribution and are impacted after weight loss surgery.
The endocrine system, a system of glands, secretes hormones into our bloodstream. The endocrine system works with the nervous system and the immune system to help our body cope with different events and stresses. When your hormone levels are too high or too low, you are more likely gain weight. While on the other hand, obesity can cause changes in your hormones.
Hormonal Consequences of Bariatric Surgery
After bariatric surgery, your hormones will be impacted, leading to some rather strange bodily changes. Below are 4 ways your hormones impact your body after bariatric surgery.
1. You won’t be very hungry
One of the hormonal consequences of bariatric surgery is the change in hunger hormones. Weight loss surgery affects the hunger hormone ghrelin which is produced in the stomach. When the surgeon removes a large portion of the stomach, it is believed that most of the ghrelin present in the body is also removed. Therefore, many patients will not feel very hungry after bariatric surgery. Some even claim that eating becomes a chore, and they have no interest in food at all.
It is not uncommon for patients to become concerned about how small the portions are immediately after bariatric surgery. Yet what they will find is the meal is quite filling with some patients not able to finish their plate. Physical hunger usually comes back several months after bariatric surgery, but it isn’t nearly as intense as before.
2. Your taste buds and cravings will change
You may notice that certain foods you used to love eating before surgery are no longer appealing to your taste buds or even to your nose. Similarly, foods that you despised eating may now be your favorites. In one study, 73% of patients reported changes in their taste, and 50% reported changes in their smell. Most commonly, patients experienced a greater sensitivity to sweet and/or sour foods.
Although the exact cause of why your taste buds change is unclear, many doctors and dietitians suggest that the hormonal consequences of bariatric surgery result from the fluctuation of hormones in the body and the psychological impact on the nervous system after bariatric surgery.
3. You will be moodier.
Bariatric surgery is a significant stressor on your life and can lead to some unpleasant moments. Although you will experience more self-confidence and have a more positive self-image, negative emotions may sweep in if you are not careful.
Our mood is partially impacted by serotonin, a nerve cell found mainly in the digestive system. A diet high in carbohydrates increases serotonin synthesis, while proteins block this response in the brain. After bariatric surgery, your serotonin production will be low when you are eating a high-protein and low-carb diet. This can lead to feelings of depression, resulting in more mood swings.
4. You may have more breakouts.
Acne is one of these horrible hormonal consequences of bariatric surgery that will have you dread going out in public. However, the good news is that, in many cases, it is temporary.
Bariatric surgery itself does not cause acne, but instead, it is related to the hormonal and dietary changes that ensue. Healthy-looking skin has a lot to do with your hormones and what you are eating. Post-bariatric patients are at risk of malnutrition, which can negatively affect their skin if they are not getting the appropriate amount of vitamins and nutrients.
If you are experiencing prolonged acne, you recommend you visit a dermatologist so they can begin better to understand some of the root causes of your breakouts.
Maintaining a healthy weight after bariatric surgery is complex and requires many different hormones and organs working together to maintain the proper balance in the body. When our hormonal system is off-balance, you may experience weight gain or the inability to lose weight, which goes well beyond the conscious control of eating less and exercising more.
In summary, hormonal imbalances can lead to weird symptoms after bariatric surgery. Yet despite these hormonal consequences of bariatric surgery, the procedures are very effective in helping patients lose a significant amount of weight and regain their health. If you are interested in starting your weight loss journey with a bariatric surgeon in our network, you can schedule an appointment on our website!
This post was originally published on the Bariatric Centers of America blog.