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Weight-Loss Surgery Ups Risk of Alcohol Problems

July 12th, 2017

For many people who struggle with weight problems, bariatric surgery -- a procedure that significantly reduces the size of the stomach and changes connections with the small intestine -- is a way to lose weight quickly. While the procedure can help improve the health of people who are overweight or obese, new research shows an unexpected downside. One in five patients who undergo one of the most popular weight-loss surgical procedures, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, is likely to develop problems with alcohol, with symptoms sometimes not appearing until years after their surgery, according to new research from   Wendy C. King, PhD. In contrast, only 11.3 percent of patients who underwent gastric banding reported problems with alcohol use. While researchers aren’t sure why people who have bariatric surgery are more likely to develop a problem with alcohol use, these findings indicate that bariatric surgery patients should receive long-term clinical follow-up to monitor for and treat alcohol use disorders.

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