bariatric surgery

Could Bariatric Surgery Increase Risk of Gastrointestinal Issues?

Individuals who undergo laparoscopic gastric bypass experience more gastrointestinal problems than other obese individuals, according to the results of a recent study.

Although laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass has been shown to be an effective treatment for morbid obesity, its effects on gastrointestinal complaints and food intolerance in the long-term have not been well explored.

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To examine this relationship, researchers conducted a cross-sectional study of 249 patients who had undergone bypass surgery 2 years prior and 295 obese controls. The participants were given a general health questionnaire, the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS), and a food intolerance questionnaire.

Overall, GSRS scores were higher in individuals who had undergone bypass surgery than in controls (2.19 versus 1.75). The difference in prevalence of indigestion was most prominent, and intolerance to specific foods was reported in 70.7% of postoperative participants.

The researchers also identified correlations between food intolerance and GSRS score and between weight loss and abdominal pain.

“At 2 years after surgery, patients undergoing [laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass] for morbid obesity have more gastrointestinal complaints than obese controls,” the researchers concluded. “Food intolerance is a common side-effect of [laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass] independent of degree of weight loss or the presence of other abdominal symptoms.”

—Michael Potts


Boerlage TCCC, van de Laar AWJM, Westerlaken S, Gerdes VEA, Brandjes DPM. Gastrointestinal symptoms and food intolerance 2 years after laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass for morbid obesity [published online December 19, 2016]. BJS. DOI: 10.1002/bjs.10419.