Obesity is a burgeoning health issue the world over. Globally, the prevalence of obesity is more among women, compared to men. This scenario is true across continents, as well as developed and developing countries.
In India too, obesity is a major worry. Also, women outnumber men in this lifestyle malady. In the urban population, 23 percent of women are obese, compared to 20 percent men.1 Obese women also face a higher risk of contracting a variety of cancers, stroke, diabetes, high cholesterol, and BP.
“Obesity among women is directly correlated to a long-term energy imbalance between too many calories consumed and too few calories expended, as well as demographic, social, cultural and occupational factors. Another major challenge for women with obesity relates to fertility/pregnancy. Obese women are estimated to be 78 percent more at risk of infertility (leading to increased risk of pregnancy-related complications and the need for Cesarean section), 12.4 percent PCOS, and 4X risk of OA/joint issues. Several other comorbidities in women are also associated with obesity wherein surgical interventions help manage them,” said Dr. G Moinoddin, Bariatric & Metabolic Surgeon, Dr. Moin- Obesity & Laparoscopy Center.
To escape the comorbidities, obese women have to make efforts to lose weight. However, the traditional ways of achieving this goal through dieting, doing exercise, and taking weight-loss pills have limited scope. Therefore, the right option boils down is the long-term weight-loss plan. Though liposuction is said to be a long-term option, persons undergoing this procedure tend to gain weight after some time. But, this doesn’t happen in surgical interventions such as bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery falls under two categories – Restrictive surgery, and Restrictive & malabsorptive surgery. The former, which entails Sleeve Gastrectomy helps reduce the stomach by 15 percent of its original size, permanently reduces the size of the stomach, and helps lose upto 60% percent of the excess weight in 6-12 months adds Dr. Moinoddin. Sleeve gastrectomy is done through a single incision through the umbilicus, with little or no scarring and very little pain. The recovery time is also short.
The latter category involves (i) Mini-gastric bypass and (ii) RYGB. Mini-gastric bypass creates a long narrow tube of the stomach, and a loop of the small gut is brought up and hooked to this tube at about 1.5 to 2 meters from the start of the intestine. The mini-gastric bypass reduces operating time, simplifies the procedure, and reduces complications. In RYGB, the stomach is divided into a small upper pouch and a much larger lower pouch, and then the small intestine is rearranged to connect to both.
“Bariatric surgery offers lots of benefits, which can be categorized as ‘Psychological’, ‘Physiological’, and ‘Treatment of Comorbidities’. Post weight-loss, the person gets a better sense of self. BP and diabetes are resolved speedily. For those unable to conceive, chances of pregnancy improve. I cite a case study, which reveals how beneficial this procedure has turned out in fixing the comorbidities associated with obesity,” said Dr. Moinoddin.
Ranjini (name changed), 26 years, had a one-year history of PCOS, three-year history of Hypothyroidism, and was suffering from pustules filled with pus in the Axilla and Inguinal region. She was getting no respite from any treatment. Worse, the medical conditions were delaying her wedding resulting in social stigma.
“After Bariatric Surgery, she lost 40 kg weight, and her comorbidities were resolved. The medicine dose of thyroxine was reduced. She is now married and have conceived a baby.
So, all obese women should now take heart! Weight gain is not anyone’s fault, it’s a disease with many contributing factors –girls/women should stop blaming themselves for it! Instead, they should undergo bariatric surgery, and take charge of their lives.