6 Bizarre Things Nobody Tells You About Weight Loss Surgery (Gastric & Bariatric)

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The rate of obesity is at a record high, a lethal side effect of a modern world full of cheap food and sedentary hobbies. Science is now coming around to the fact that for people like me, bariatric surgery is sometimes the only option. But because of the continued stigma of obesity (not to mention billboards like this that make the procedure seem like a spa treatment), surgery is often seen as the easy way out for people who are too lazy to diet and exercise, like a cheat code to skinny.

Let me assure you, it’s not. They’re reaching into your guts and either clamping off part of your stomach or patching in a hunk of intestines to bypass it completely. If you think that’s the kind of thing you can shrug off in a weekend, let me tell you that …

#6. The Surgery Results in Uncontrollable Shitting

Here’s what you need to know right away: if you’ve had surgery for weight loss, you’re vulnerable to “dumping syndrome,” which is exactly what it sounds like. It happens when foods that are high in sugar or simple carbohydrates, aka everything that tastes good, get processed too quickly by your newly-neutered digestive system, resulting in sweating, shaking, intense cramps, vomiting, and of course, uncontrollable diarrhea.

It can happen the instant you swallow the offending food, it may hit you hours later, or it may not happen at all. You might go months thinking you’re in the clear, and then one day, one tiny bite of ice cream does you in. It gives the word “crapshoot” a whole new meaning.

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It’s a rocky road in multiple ways, is what I’m saying.

I didn’t think I would experience dumping syndrome because I had the less severe of the surgical options — gastric sleeve surgery as opposed to a gastric bypass. That means that instead of reducing my stomach to the size of a cupcake, it was reduced to the size of three cupcakes (God, even thinking about cupcakes is making me queasy). In theory, that should mean the food I eat is processed more before it hits my intestines, reducing my risk of dumping syndrome. Boy howdy, I was … not correct about that. A few days ago, I was woken up in the middle of the night by the foreboding stabs of intense stomach cramps, and knew I could look forward to spending the rest of my morning on the toilet, with no idea what I had eaten that caused it.

That’s really important, because the only way to prevent it is to remember what foods have triggered it in the past. Basically, you spend your life making sure you’re never too far from a restroom, never knowing when you’ll be possessed by the shit demon. You hope and pray that it doesn’t happen anywhere important, like when poor Al Roker shat his pants at the White House.

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