Hormonal Changes After Weight Loss Surgery

Click play to listen to the interview.

In this interview we talk to Bonnie from California. Bonnie had gastric bypass surgery 7 years ago. She has lost 150 lbs and says it was one of the best decisions she has ever made.

While Bonnie had great results and minimal post-op pain, she was surprised by one change after surgery. She quickly experienced menopause.

Obesity produces excess estrogen (Reduced-Calorie Dietary Weight Loss, Exercise, and Sex Hormones in Postmenopausal Women: Randomized Controlled Trial). Hormones change after weight loss. Estrogen is significantly decreased after weight loss surgery. Surprisingly, this is a good thing. Studies show lower levels of estrogen reduce the risk of breast cancer. And a study published in the November 2005 issue of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing showed an increase in fertility.

Why Do Hormonal Changes Happen After Bariatric Surgery?

It doesn’t matter which procedure you’ve had. Gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and Lap Band surgery can lead to hormonal changes. In a 2012 study published in Science Daily researches found that fertility did not increase but libido (sex drive) increased.

When you are overweight your body produces more estrogen. When you lose weight, the estrogen is decreased and the testosterone to estrogen ratio is increased. Testosterone is linked to higher energy and sex drive.

Bonnie’s Before And After Gastric Bypass Experience

Bonnie before and after gastirc bypass surgery.

A few short months after gastric bypass surgery, Bonnie experienced menopause. After talking to her doctor she found out, while rare, sudden weight loss can trigger menopause in ‘older’ (late 40’s and 50’s) women. Bonnie admits she wasn’t happy nor prepared for this after surgery. However, she would definitely do it again if she had the choice.

Tips From Bonnie’s Interview:

Bonnie’s insurance changed shortly before her procedure. She had to find a new doctor. Below are some questions she asked, already knowing the answers she wanted to hear.

  • What are your complication rates?
  • Explain in detail what the surgery entails – show me pictures.
  • What is the recovery time?
  • Can I talk to previous patients?
    • This is a great question that more people should ask prior to surgery. Talking to a previous patient and even asking them to meet for coffee is a great way to get real patient feedback.

Bonnie’s biggest surprise was sudden onset menopause shortly after her gastric bypass surgery.

  • Bonnie had zero libido almost overnight! She says it was almost overnight.
  • Talk to your doctor about the possibility of menopause after surgery. Particularly if you are around 50 years of age.
  • Weight loss surgery can actually regulate menstrual cycles in many women who have had irregular cycles due to obesity.

Bonnie’s tips for people considering weight loss surgery include:

  • Weight loss surgery is not the easy way out.
  • Diet and lifestyle have to change if you want to be successful.
  • Surgery is a tool to get the weight off and help tell you when you should not be eating.
  • You’ll still feel hungry, still want to eat that pizza. But if you’re serious about keeping the weight off, stick with your program. Don’t test your tool.

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