What am I letting myself in for and what can help me? If you are thinking about having a gastric balloon inserted, you will inevitably ask yourself about the side effects. We would like to show you very transparently what you can expect and show you ways to manage the side effects of the gastric balloon correctly.
If you already have a gastric balloon, this article can help you to better assess minor side effects and give you some tips. However, it is best to contact your Weight Buddy. Together you will find a quick solution to the symptoms.
How common are gastric balloon side effects?
First of all, you should know that the gastric balloon is a very safe medical device and a good aid in the treatment of obesity. Complications only occur in rare cases. Side effects are undesirable effects of a therapy that can occur in the case of gastric balloon treatment, particularly at the beginning. All patients usually notice that there is a foreign body in the stomach, but the severity of the symptoms depend
How do you feel after a gastric balloon?
Your new flatmate has finally moved in with you. Now you have to get used to each other. As a rule, your body will need around 2 to 3 days before you can return to your normal everyday life. But what do these first few days look like? Remember, every body is unique and therefore reacts differently to the gastric balloon. Symptoms can occur to varying degrees or not at all.
- Tiredness: A twilight anesthetic is required during the gastroscopy to insert the gastric balloon. You will therefore feel a little tired and listless on the day of implantation. However, this will pass relatively quickly.
- Nausea and vomiting: The stomach’s job is to digest everything that goes into it. If this is not possible, as with the gastric balloon, the stomach wants to get rid of the foreign body. Nausea and vomiting are therefore a protective reaction of the body to the non-digestible foreign body in the stomach. After about 1 to 3 days, these symptoms subside in almost all patients.
- Heartburn: As already mentioned, the stomach wants to digest the balloon. To do this, it produces more stomach acid. If the stomach acid rises into the oesophagus, heartburn occurs. Heartburn can occur during gastric balloon therapy, especially when sleeping.
- Stomach pain: At the beginning, the stomach may cramp a little and cause pain. This is also a side effect that is normal at the beginning. The reason for this is that the stomach first has to get used to the balloon. Over time, this also decreases and the pain disappears.
- Feeling of pressure and loss of appetite: The gastric balloon is intended to reduce stomach volume and thus lead to an early feeling of fullness. What is actually an advantage when losing weight can be perceived as a nuisance at the start of therapy. Even small amounts of food or liquid can feel like a sumptuous meal. Here too, the stomach first has to get used to the new situation.
How long sick after gastric balloon?
Vacation is advisable for the procedure and the following days, as the first few days are exhausting and you will find it difficult to work with the symptoms described above. Depending on your job, between 2 and 3 days of vacation are advisable. If you work in an office or even from home, you can usually return to work after 3 days. However, if you have a physically demanding job, you should take a little more time off. But here too, everyone is different. Some people will be able to return to work as normal after a short break, whereas others will need more time to get used to it. You know your body best and know how to deal with pain or nausea. Plan days off for your gastric balloon accordingly.
Reading tip: How Antje lost 34 kilos with a gastric balloon
5 tips for the first few days
You are never alone with these side effects. We will call you every day during this phase and discuss how you are doing. If your Weight Buddy is unable to reach you, you are of course welcome to call back, as small tips and tricks often help to improve the symptoms. Some advice is general and helps every patient with the gastric balloon:
- Movement is key: the gastric balloon loves movement, as this allows it to slide into the correct position and allows fluids and food to pass easily. Movement during the first few days can include walking back and forth around the apartment, climbing stairs, walking around the block with a companion or jumping in place.
- Correct sleeping position: Lie on your left side to sleep so that stomach acid cannot easily enter the oesophagus and heartburn is prevented. It is also advisable to sleep in a raised position.
- Drinking is important: To help you recover quickly and prevent your body from becoming dehydrated, you should focus on drinking. Still water and tea are easy to digest if you take small sips. If you are unsure, you can practise drinking together with your Weight Buddy.
- Relaxation exercises: If your stomach wall is cramping, relaxation exercises can have a calming effect and reduce pain. You can also call or contact your Weight Buddy for this.
- Balloon massage: If there is pressure or you feel that the balloon is too high up, a massage of the gastric balloon can help. Your Weight Buddy will explain to you exactly how this trick works.
We know that the start of treatment can be challenging, so we will be in close contact with you after the procedure.
Side effects of the gastric balloon after the first few days
The gastric balloon is generally well tolerated. Some side effects such as heartburn may persist for a little longer. If this is the case for you, it can be decided together with your Weight Buddy whether you should continue to take an acid blocker to protect your stomach.
However, it sometimes happens that you (unnoticed) fall back into old habits during the course of therapy and symptoms occur. Heartburn or nausea, for example, can also occur if you eat quickly and the food is not chewed properly. If you experience such symptoms during your treatment, please discuss this with your Weight Buddy during your next consultation or contact us. We will ask you a few questions to find out the cause. Once the cause has been discovered, we can work together on your diet and habits so that the symptoms disappear and do not recur.
If you experience diarrhea in combination with foul belching during treatment, contact your Weight Buddy. A so-called food baby has then formed on your stomach balloon and is fermenting in your stomach. This is unpleasant, but no drama, because with a little trick you will soon be fine again.
3 tips for a relaxed time with your gastric balloon
- Incorporate regular exercise into your everyday life: In addition to sport, everyday exercise also includes taking the stairs instead of the elevator, leaving the car at home more often and cycling or walking. True to the motto “every step counts”, more and more movement should be part of your new lifestyle.
- Eat slowly and consciously and chew your food well: Communication between the stomach and brain takes about 20 minutes. A feeling of fullness cannot develop before then. Eating slowly helps you to lose weight and also prevents nausea and heartburn.
- Weigh your meals: Around 250 grams are filling with gastric balloon. For better control over the quantity, it is therefore advisable to weigh your meals. This also prevents nausea and bloating during treatment and also supports your goal of losing weight.
Does the gastric balloon also have risks?
Everything in medicine has risks, even a blood sample can theoretically be life-threatening, but we don’t usually worry about that. Informing yourself is important, but please don’t let Dr. Google drive you crazy. We will be happy to advise you about the procedure, the Weight Buddy System, the costs, the requirements such as your body mass index and much more in a free consultation.
Before a gastric balloon is inserted, one of our doctors will discuss the procedure and the possible, but rare, risks and complications with you in a medical consultation.
The yo-yo effect, cravings, stress - losing weight can be quite frustrating. But there is a way out for everyone. Together we will find the right solution for you. As a nutritionist at My Weight®, I support my patients individually and personally on their way to their desired weight. Losing weight can and should be fun...and we work on this together! 😊
Maren - Weight Buddy® and nutritionist at My Weight®