How To Shrink Your Stomach

When trying to lose weight, have you ever heard it said that if you go on a fast or eat very few calories, your stomach will shrink? Is there any truth to this? Can your stomach shrink after it has been stretched out?

This is actually a myth because your stomach is an adaptable organ and can stretch up to about four times its size to accommodate food, but then reverts back to its original size when it is empty. Today we are going to look at stomach size, how it relates to an individual’s weight, and what your options are to make your stomach smaller to promote weight loss.

Does Your Stomach Shrink When You Lose Weight?

It may seem surprising, but the size of your stomach is not directly related to your weight. Some naturally thin people may have stomachs as large as those who constantly struggle with their weight. Making healthier food choices can result in weight loss and a decrease in your body fat percentage, as well as a reduction in visceral fat. This will help make your abdomen or stomach appear smaller, but it does not directly impact the organ’s actual size.

Your Stomach Has Some Nerve!

You may think your stomach can shrink because you have seen changes in the amount of food you can eat before feeling full, but that is not what is really going on.

Your body contains a complex sensory system that sends and receives messages to and from key areas to keep everything functioning correctly. One such system that sends and transmits messages to and from your stomach is the nerves that are part of the vagus system. This stomach nerve operates at the speed of a sloth, but researchers have discovered that when stretched, it is responsible for sending your brain the signal that you have eaten enough, that you are full, and to stop eating. On average, it takes about 20 minutes for the message to be received by the brain; however, normally, by that time, you have eaten more than you should.

When you consistently begin to eat smaller meals, your stomach itself can’t shrink, but this nerve can adjust and signal the feeling of fullness with smaller amounts of food. The same goes for those who continue to overeat; the stomach can grow used to allowing more food to fill it before the signal is sent.

How To Make Your Stomach Smaller

If you physically wish to make your stomach smaller, the only way to accomplish this is with some type of medical intervention. Historically, the options would have been limited to bariatric surgery, but today there are ways to make your stomach smaller without surgery. Let’s take a look at the options available today.

Surgical Options For Shrinking The Stomach

Patients can undergo different surgical procedures that make changes to their digestive system to promote weight loss. The type of bariatric procedure an individual undergoes depends on their health, age, BMI, and various other considerations.

Patients must fulfill certain criteria to qualify for weight loss surgery set by their surgeon and their health insurance company if they are expecting help offsetting the costs. The surgeon will recommend the type of bariatric procedure necessary to help the patient overcome obesity and its associated conditions. The most common stomach-shrinking surgeries include:

Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Also called a sleeve gastrectomy, this surgery involves cutting away and removing a large portion of the stomach, leaving behind a pouch that looks like a long, thin pouch. After the surgery, the amount of food the stomach can hold is significantly limited. Also, the part of the stomach that is removed can no longer produce the hormone that causes hunger. Because their stomach is smaller, they must practice portion control, their appetite is reduced, and they feel full longer. Patients find it easier to stick to their diet plan and create a calorie deficit, which leads to weight loss. This stomach shrinking surgery is the most popular weight loss surgery performed today. While it can lead to significant weight loss, it also has risks, including bleeding, stomach leaks, GERD, and more.
Gastric Bypass Surgery
This surgery goes a step beyond gastric sleeve surgery and adds a malabsorptive aspect to how it promotes weight loss. The surgeon first creates a small pouch that will become the primary stomach at the top of the patient’s existing stomach. Next, a portion of the small intestine will be rerouted to connect right to this pouch. A gastric bypass not only limits the amount of food a patient can eat, but it will also shorten the path of digestion, so the body is not able to absorb all the calories eaten. The combination of these restrictive and malabsorptive techniques can help individuals lose a tremendous amount of weight; however, they may also encounter complications such as nutritional deficiencies, ulcers, and more.
Duodenal Switch Surgery
This surgery combines both sleeve gastrectomy and intestinal redirection. First, a large part of the stomach is cut away, leaving a smaller sleeve with a shape that resembles a banana. Then most of the small intestine is diverted and connected to the new, smaller, stomach. This is the most restrictive and malabsorptive type of bariatric surgery because it reduces both the stomach’s capacity and the absorption of a large number of calories and nutrients. This surgery is normally reserved for the severely obese and offers the greatest amount of weight loss potential, but also has the highest percentage of associated risks and complications.

Shrinking The Stomach Without Surgery

Today, it is possible to shrink your stomach without surgery through an endoscopic weight loss procedure. These are procedures that are done with zero incisions and completed using the patient’s mouth and throat to gain access to the stomach. These are outpatient procedures, so there is no associated hospital stay and a very low-risk profile.

A special hollow, flexible tool that houses a tiny camera is lowered down the esophagus and used to allow other tools to enter the stomach to carry out the procedure. The gastroenterologist can safely and effectively navigate the areas using the live video provided by the endoscopic camera as the procedure is taking place. The procedures that can help with weight loss include:

Gastric Balloons

The Orbera and Spatz3 are intragastric balloons that are placed in an individual’s stomach to create a perpetual feeling of fullness. The device takes up about 75% of the stomach space, so the patient must eat very small portions. An endoscope is used to allow the flexible balloon to go down the esophagus and into the stomach, where it is filled with saline solution. Depending on which balloon is chosen, it remains in the stomach for between six and nine months, and then it is removed. The goal of a balloon weight loss program is to provide life skills to the patient that will become lifelong habits, ultimately improving their health and lowering their BMI level.

Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty

ESG is a procedure that has recently been FDA-approved that can make your stomach smaller without surgery. The procedure itself has been used safely and effectively for many years and has produced some amazing weight loss results. During the procedure, the doctor gains access to the patient’s stomach, and without using any incisions or cutting anything, strategically folds the stomach in such a way that it is made significantly smaller. Then full-size sutures are placed in targeted areas to hold it in the new, smaller shape.

When researchers compared non-surgical ESG to surgical gastric sleeves, it was reported that patients who underwent ESG lost as much or more weight as those who had the surgery. Additionally, surgical patients had activity restrictions during their four-to-six-week recovery time, but there were no restrictions for ESG patients, who had an average recovery time of three to seven days.

There is no need to continue to struggle with weight loss, trying to figure it out on your own. Contact Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center and set up an appointment to speak to one of the most knowledgeable obesity-trained experts in the world. Dr. Batash understands the challenges you have battled with during your previous weight loss attempts, and he has strategies and tools ready to help you meet them head-on and come out victorious.

The team at Batash Medical has assisted a massive number of individuals to take charge of their health by getting their weight under control. Take a look for yourself on our YouTube channel, and you will see before and after pictures of ESG patients and gastric balloon patients. Take the time today to schedule a consultation to learn more about how we can help you.

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