Bariatric surgery affects hormones due to how your body responds to stress. Hormones are chemical messengers that regulate processes in the body. Hormones leptin, ghrelin, insulin, sex hormones, and growth hormones impact our appetite, metabolism, and body fat distribution and are affected after bariatric surgery.
A system of glands, the endocrine system, secretes hormones into our bloodstream. The endocrine system works with the nervous system and the immune system to help the body cope with different circumstances and stresses. When hormone levels are off balance, too high/too low, it can cause obesity. Yet, obesity can also cause changes to your hormone levels.
How Bariatric Surgery Affects Hormones
After bariatric surgery, your hormones will be affected, leading to strange bodily changes.
1. Your taste buds and cravings will change.
You may notice that certain foods you enjoyed eating before weight loss surgery are no longer appetizing. Similarly, foods that you despised eating may now be your favorites. In one study, 73% of patients reported changes in their taste buds, and 50% reported changes in their smell. Most commonly, patients experienced a greater sensitivity to sweet and/or sour foods.
The exact cause of why your taste buds change is unclear; however, many doctors and dieticians believe that it has to do with the fluctuation of hormones in the body and the psychological impact on the nervous system after bariatric surgery.
2. You won’t be as hungry.
One of the other ways bariatric surgery affects hormones is the change in hunger. Weight loss surgery impacts the hunger hormone ghrelin, produced in the stomach. During bariatric surgery, the surgeon removes a large portion of the stomach. This causes most of the ghrelin in the body to be removed. Therefore, many patients will not feel as hungry after bariatric surgery, while some even claim that eating becomes a chore and they have no interest in food.
It is common for patients to become concerned about how small the portions are immediately after weight loss surgery. Yet they will find that the meal is filling with some patients unable to finish their plate. Physical hunger usually comes back several months after bariatric surgery, but it isn’t nearly as intense as before surgery.
3. You may have more breakouts.
Acne is another way bariatric surgery affects hormones. However, the good news is that, in many cases, the acne and breakouts are temporary.
Bariatric surgery itself does not cause acne, but instead, it is related to the hormonal and dietary changes that occur. Healthy-looking skin has a lot to do with your hormones and what you eat. 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 the root causes of your breakouts.
4. You will be moodier.
Bariatric surgery is a significant stressor in your life and can lead to some moments of intense emotions. 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 eat 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 side effects, bariatric surgery is 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, you can schedule an appointment on our website!