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Gastric Bypass Surgery: Reproductive Risks for Teen Girls

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The most frequent bariatric surgery in the country is a gastric bypass. Its purpose is to change the digestive system of the patient. Generally, the surgery lowers body weight and limits the amount of food that can be eaten.

When a gastric bypass is combined with a healthy diet and a consistent exercise program, long term weight loss is possible. However, there are a number of risks associated with the surgery, and for teen girls, those risks might be even more significant.

Obesity and Gastric Bypass

Many of the patients that decide to have gastric bypass surgery are seriously overweight or obese. These people cannot maintain a healthy weight by exercising and eating the right foods. Since they are more prone to illnesses that are linked to obesity, surgery is an option for them.

Any way you look at it, there is something very sad about a teenager who is overweight to the extent of considering this type of surgery. During this period of a person's life, they should be focused on enjoying all of the aspects of being young, which include increased energy and optimism. When a person is obese, their energy is drained and they often have a low level of self-esteem. This is a dangerous combination.

Gastric bypass surgery might offer a chance to avoid the damaging effects of obesity, but it is essential that the patient alter their lifestyle accordingly. The success of the surgery depends on the person's dedication to eating healthier and exercising. Among the side effects and risks of a gastric bypass are vitamin and mineral deficiency, dehydration, a bleeding stomach ulcer, kidney stones, gallstones, low blood sugar, and intolerance to certain foods.

The Controversy of Gastric Bypass and Teen Pregnancy

Recently, the level of concern for teenagers who have had gastric bypass surgery has been raised due to the possible effects it could have on pregnancy. Because of the stapling of the stomach and rearranging of the anatomy that is done in a gastric bypass, there could be a deficiency in the way that nutrients are absorbed from foods.

If a teenage girl who has had a gastric bypass surgery becomes pregnant, complications for the fetus are possible. As explained above, a vitamin deficiency is a risk of the surgery, which might lead to an impaired development of the brain and spinal cord in a fetus. Paralysis and neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, could also occur in babies born to teenage mothers that have had gastric bypass surgery. The reason for the clarification in age is that adult women are more likely to follow the instructions and advice of doctors than teenage women.

To counter the concerns of pregnancy risks, other medical experts think gastric bypass surgery does not have much negative impact on the health of a baby. Their opinion is based on the fact that a mother's obesity places the baby at risk. If a person receives the surgery and removes the obesity, they should theoretically be in better condition to have a child.

Both sides of the debate make valid points. With a gastric bypass surgery, there is the possibility of healthier weight management and a risk of vitamin deficiency that could endanger a fetus. So, the solution is to consult with a doctor and learn about the repercussions of a gastric bypass surgery. Teenage girls need to be well informed about all of the complications that might arise if they become pregnant after the surgery. More studies and future research should be done in order to understand the extent of the risks of a gastric bypass.

Every person has an individual situation that is considered when approaching any type of surgery. All teenagers can greatly improve their health and life by eating nutritious foods and staying physically active. Those two things should receive just as much attention and consideration. In the last two or three years, the number of teens who have had gastric bypass surgeries has more than doubled.


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