The one thing life guarantees us is that there will be change…especially after weight loss surgery. Along with the changes to come in size, eating (both portions and habits) and in the levels in which you will be able to physically perform will come changes less easy to see with the naked eye. Our hormones are constantly regulating themselves by what we do or do not eat, so there is should be no surprise that after weight loss surgery you’ll have to be mindful of your hormones. Let’s break down some of the hormonal changes you may encounter during your weight loss journey.
Let’s Talk Periods
For women, we see the hormonal changes under monthly basis. Yes, I’m referencing our beloved menstrual cycle. Every month our bodies make magic in preparation for a possible pregnancy. During this amazing time of cleansing and renewal, we also get hit hard by the pesky cravings, painful cramps, never-ending fatigue and more. Yes, gentlemen, we are superheroes.
A couple of months after my sleeve gastrectomy, my periods were behaving as they normally did. They were long heavy menstrual cycles spanning anywhere from 6 - 8 days. They were painful and often left me feeling depleted of energy. The worst part had to be the cravings! Maybe due to my new stomach size and strict eating rules, I didn’t indulge in my usual chocolates and ice cream. Yet, the need was there and it was growing.
Luckily there was light at the end of the tunnel for me, after my losing my first 50 lbs approximately about 4 months after surgery, my menstrual cycle changed. I began noticing the volume of my menstrual volume had significantly decreased. No complaints there, also my menstrual cycles became smaller, from 6 - 8 days cycles to anywhere from 4 - 6 days. Again, no complaints at all. As for the cramping pain, it seemed to get better yet I’m not sure if it was due to the weight loss or if it was due to regular exercise.
Let’s Talk Skin
My skin has never truly been an issue for me, I’ve been lucky to not have to deal with acne but I did have sunspots on my forehead and the sides of my cheeks. I’m proud to say my complexion evened out a quick 2 months after surgery. Again, regular exercise tends to produce an amazing glow and it helps to keep the post-wls depression at bay.
Others weight loss patients have seen a difference in oily skin and a reduction in acne. I would like to also credit food choices to this positive too. When we reduce the fatty foods and carbonated drinks your body doesn’t have to work as hard to get rid of these toxins. Therefore, your body ultimately works better for you as opposed to against you.
Ghrelin & Leptin
Ghrelin is a hunger hormone. It’s made by the stomach, secreted by the stomach lining, and it stimulates appetite whiling preparing the body for food. Bariatric surgery actually suppresses this hormone. Leptin is a hormone that communicates with the brain. It’s released from fat cells in adipose tissue. Basically, leptin is like a personal trainer it signals your brain, specifically an area called the hypothalamus, to stop eating sending a message that your stomach is full. Leptin is also like a personal trainer in the way that it regulates how much energy your body burns throughout the day.
Why does all of this matter? Well due to weight loss surgery, the stomach and its lining are reduced leading to a reduction in the amount ghrelin produced in the body. Leptin will continue to be made by the body through the fat cells in the adipose tissue. This is great because having a surplus of leptin will give you the full satisfied feeling, while before surgery feelings of hunger appear more frequently due to the surplus of ghrelin produced by the stomach. Therefore, you will physically feel satisfied after weight loss surgery but will have to still deal with head hunger.
Are you post weight loss surgery? Or maybe you know someone who is, share this with them and ask them what their experience has been with the varying hormone changes then leave us a comment below!
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