Swallowable Weight Loss Balloon: An Alternative Solution To Lose Weight
Weight loss has somehow become quite a tricky thing to achieve. In the past, if someone wants to lose weight, they would immediately go start creating a diet plan and exercise regimen. While this classic formula still works, it might not be the appropriate method for everyone. Some people achieve their weight goals while some struggle to lose weight through traditional methods. Some may find more success through alternative solutions such as surgery or swallowable weight loss balloons (capsule).
The thing about diet and exercise is that you need to constantly alter your approach once in a while. Doing the same meal plan and workout regimen for a period of time may help you shed off weight. However, you run the risk of experiencing a weight loss plateau, where your weight loss starts to slow down and eventually stop. The logic is simple. As your body starts to become familiar with the routine, diet and exercise are less likely to work on you.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the time and resources to keep up with their diet and workout needs. People are always busy and on the go, and they do not have the time to prepare their own meals or hit the gym for a couple of hours. That is why many turn to enroll in fitness programs that can help them to stay on track with their weight loss goals.
On the other hand, in some cases, your body may be used to your current weight or additional weight gain that diet and exercise alone cannot suffice to lose weight. This is the case among people who are considered overweight or obese according to their Body Mass Index (BMI). The longer you stay within those brackets, the harder it is to lose weight through traditional means.
As a result, bariatric or weight-loss surgeries are usually recommended to treat these cases. Some of these include gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and gastric banding. With that said, surgery is still a bit of an unpopular option among people who are looking for alternative solutions for weight loss. Probably, it is because bariatric surgeries require invasive procedures, and they are afraid of the possible complications that these procedures may entail.
Luckily, as mentioned, those are not the only options you have regarding weight loss. As more people are becoming more conscious and look to live a healthier lifestyle, there are more options out there for people who want to shed off weight. If traditional means do not work for you, and surgery may be too much for you to undergo, a swallowable weight loss balloon might be for you.
What is a weight loss balloon?
As the balloon takes up space in your stomach, it makes you feel fuller faster during meals despite consuming a smaller portion of food than usual. It also lets food stay longer in the stomach. In turn, the balloon helps to reduce the urge to eat more as you feel full for a longer period.
Placement of weight loss balloons does not require invasive or bariatric surgery. However, these balloons are not permanent. Most weight loss balloons are left in the stomach for around four to six months using endoscopy before being removed. In case it hinders your health in any way, these balloons can be taken out before the scheduled removal. Similar during placement, an endoscopy is required when removing the balloon. If you have completed the four to six months, you may opt to have a second balloon placed- as per doctor’s recommendation- for further weight loss. The second balloon will also be removed after a four-month period.
Furthermore, most weight loss balloons come as a part of a lifestyle and fitness program. Again, the balloon is not a permanent solution when you want to lose weight. The program assists you in changing certain aspects of your lifestyle and adapting healthier habits. It helps you maintain great results or even keep shedding off weight even after the balloon is removed.
How does the weight loss balloon work?
In order to achieve the best results, it is best to be aware about what goes into the placement of weight loss balloons. Also, just like any other medical procedure, there are things you need to take note of pre-and post-procedure, not only to ensure the quality results but also your safety.
Before the scheduled placement of the weight loss balloon, your healthcare team will provide you with detailed instructions on how to prepare your body for the procedures. It may include restrictions when it comes to food and drinks and medications that you might need to take ahead of time before the procedure. Your doctor may require you to start a physical activity program even before the placement of the balloon. They may also run various tests and exams before your procedure, just to make sure your body is set for balloon placement and minimize risk of complications.
During the procedure, the doctor will place an endoscope, a flexible tube with an attached camera, into the back of the throat. The endoscope helps to recognize any existing problems in the stomach such as inflammation and ulcer, which may affect the balloon. You may be asked to swallow once the endoscope is in your throat to help it easily pass down the esophagus and into your stomach. It is also common for doctors to use anesthesia to keep the patient sedated and relax throughout the procedure.
Once you are cleared and no problems are seen, the doctor will proceed to place the weight loss balloon in the stomach. The inflated balloon is attached to a thin catheter, which is passed down the throat into the stomach. It is then filled with either 650 to 750 millilitres of air or 400 to 700 millilitres of sterilized water. The doctor will again use the endoscope to make sure that the balloon is properly filled. The whole procedure may take around 20 minutes to an hour.
The placement of the weight loss balloon is an outpatient procedure. It means that you should be able to go home the same day. Unlike bariatric surgeries that take weeks for recovery, weight loss balloons require little to no downtime. You should be able to go back to your regular routine after one to two days, depending on how long the balloon settles in your stomach.
Though recovery may be quick, there are some restrictions immediately after the procedure. You may be able to take in a small amount of clear liquids around six hours after the procedure. You will most likely be recommended to maintain a liquid diet until the start of the second week post-procedure, when you can start eating soft foods. After one to two weeks, you may proceed to eat regular solid foods.
As mentioned earlier, you should not rely on the weight loss balloon alone to lose weight. Diet and exercise are still recommended alongside this weight loss solution. You should be able to start exercising a week after the procedure. However, before resuming your physical activity, consult your healthcare team to know what are the safe ways to exercise without compromising the balloon in your stomach. Also, regular exercise helps your body get used to doing daily activities even with the placement of the balloon.
Again, the balloon lasts until four to six months before being removed, again with the use of an endoscope. After so, you may opt to have another balloon placed as per doctor’s recommendation. During this period, you will also work with your healthcare team to continue to lose weight even with the absence of the balloon.
Furthermore, be mindful of how you feel after the placement of the balloon. Weight loss balloons are generally found to be safe. It is not associated with increasing the risk of developing diseases such as cancer and arthritis.
However, the use of an endoscope during the placement still comes with some possible risks and complications. It may lead to infections and allergic reactions post-procedure. During the passage from throat to stomach, the endoscope may cause tearing in the area, which can also result in bleeding due to the minor damage. It may also cause chest pain, breathing difficulties or heart irregularities.
Though, do not let this stop you in pursuing weight loss balloons. In the hands of professional and skilled doctors, you will have a safe procedure with weight loss balloons. If placement using an endoscope starts to strike fear in you, there is nothing to worry about. With the innovations when it comes to losing weight, there are other types of weight loss balloons out there that do not involve the use of the said instrument. There are swallowable weight loss balloons that may suit what you need.
How to lose weight with a swallowable weight loss balloon?
Unlike other weight loss balloons in the market, it does not require surgery, endoscopy, or anaesthesia. Without using an endoscope, the placement minimizes the possibility of the complications mentioned earlier.
The balloon placement is performed by a certified medical specialist. The swallowable weight loss capsule will be inflated into a balloon as attached to a thin catheter. The capsule form allows you to ingest the balloon with a glass of water. It is not hard to swallow either. Published clinical studies show that 99.9% of people succeeded in swallowing the balloon. If you find it difficult to swallow the capsule on your own, do not worry as your medical specialist will be there to help you ease the process.
Upon swallowing, an X-ray is run to make sure that the inflated balloon is placed properly in the stomach. The vegetarian casing of the capsule dissolves once it is inside of the body. The balloon is then filled with 550ml of purified water until it is the size of a grapefruit. You will undergo another X-ray to assure that the balloon is properly filled. The whole process only takes 20 minutes.
The Swallowable Weight Loss Balloon helps you reduce your food intake by taking up space in the stomach for four months. In turn, it reduces your desire to eat excessively and allows you to feel full even with smaller portions of food. The presence of the balloon in the stomach also delays gastric emptying, allowing the food to remain in the stomach and make you feel full longer.
After the four-month period, a time-activated valve opens and allows the balloon to deflate. The remnant of the balloon passes through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and is naturally excreted out of the body through a bowel movement. However, in case you want the balloon to be taken out before the period ends, an endoscopy is required to perform the procedure.
Since its launch, over 40,000 Swallowable Weight Loss Balloons have been successfully placed all over the world. It is clinically proven to help lose an average of 10-15% of total body weight after four months. Of course, results may vary from person to person, depending on the body’s reaction to the balloon and the lifestyle choices made during and after the balloon’s placement.
There are some possible side-effects upon placing the balloon. Some of these include nausea, abdominal cramping, and occasional vomiting. In most cases, these are temporary and well-controlled with the commonly used medications prescribed.
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Who is suitable for a swallowable weight loss balloon?
By now you might be enticed to have Swallowable Weight Loss Balloons placed to help you lose weight. However, weight loss is not a one size fits all type of situation. Every individual has their personal needs, which means that not all weight loss solutions fit everyone. There are criteria that make a good candidate for the placement of a swallowable weight loss balloon.
One way of identifying if you can go on with the said procedure is through your Body Mass Index (BMI). The Body Mass Index is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in meters. It is an inexpensive and easy screening method to know whether you are underweight, have a healthy weight, overweight, or obese.
For the placement of a swallowable weight loss balloon, a person should at least have a BMI of 27 or above. Commonly, a Body Mass Index of 25 to 30 is considered overweight. A BMI of more than 30 is categorized as obese, while more than 40 is already indicated as morbidly obese.
For people within the overweight bracket, there is still a possibility for you to lose weight through diet and exercise. However, as mentioned earlier, that is not the case for everyone. BMI alone is not an immediate indicator for your need to have a balloon placed. Considering factors like ethnicity and age may also be helpful in making your decision. Most Asian people tend to develop metabolic complications, specifically diabetes, and other medical conditions despite having a BMI below the obese bracket. In these cases, it requires a more immediate solution for weight loss. Diet and exercise alone may take a longer time to yield results compared to a swallowable weight loss balloon.
Aside from overweight people, weight loss balloons can further help those categorized as obese. Obesity can lead to other diseases such as hypertension and Type 2 Diabetes, just to name a few. Sadly, despite the urgency, obese people tend to have a harder time losing weight. Bariatric surgeries like gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy are usually recommended for these cases. Still, very few opt to undergo surgery, but using swallowable weight loss balloons can be an alternative solution.
Generally, weight loss balloons are a good option for those looking for a non-invasive medical solution. Unlike bariatric surgeries, results of this procedure are potentially reversible. So, if you are not ready to commit to a permanent change in your body, this might be the way to go.