4 hormonal Side Effects of bariatric Surgery
Post Weight Loss Surgery
4 Hormonal Side Effects of Bariatric Surgery 

Hormones play a significant role in how your body responds to stress on the body, causing many hormonal side effects 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 bariatric surgery.

A system of glands, known as the endocrine system, 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, it can cause obesity. While on the other hand, obesity can cause changes in your hormones. 

Hormonal Side Effects of Bariatric Surgery

After bariatric surgery, your hormones will be impacted, leading to some rather strange bodily changes. 

1. 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 dieticians suggest that the hormonal side effects of bariatric surgery result from the fluctuation of hormones in the body and the psychological impact on the nervous system after bariatric surgery. 

2. You won't be very hungry

One of the other hormonal side effects of bariatric surgery is the change in hunger hormones. Weight loss surgery affects the hunger hormone ghrelin, 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.

acne as a hormonal side effect of bariatric surgery3. You may have more breakouts.

Acne is one of these horrible hormonal side effects 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. 

4. 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. 

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 side effects 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! 

Mike Blaney, MD
Dr. Mike Blaney is a board-certified surgeon with over 20 years of experience in general and bariatric surgery. He is the founding physician of Live Healthy MD which has since been acquired by HCA and now operates under the name Doctors Specialists – Bariatrics and Surgical. Dr. Blaney is co-founder and CEO of Bariatric Centers of America and is fueled by a passion to cure the disease of obesity.
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