8 October, 2023

Can A Gastroenterologist Help With Weight Loss?

The obesity epidemic has risen steadily over the past several years; however, more obese individuals are becoming aware that it is critical for them to lose weight if they want to improve their health.

Maintaining a healthy weight is a goal for many people, and it’s no secret that weight loss can be a challenging process. While diet and exercise are commonly known as the cornerstones of weight management, many individuals may not be aware that a gastroenterologist can also play a vital role in helping with weight loss.

Today, we are going to talk about the unique skill set these medical professionals possess, the types of procedures they perform, and how a gastroenterologist can help you lose weight.

What Is A Gastroenterologist?

Gastroenterology is a medical specialty that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to the digestive system, including the stomach, intestines, esophagus, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. These medical specialists focus on the diagnosis and treatment of digestive system disorders, and their expertise in this field can provide valuable insights and solutions for those struggling with weight issues.

Gastroenterologists are uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat various digestive conditions that can affect weight, such as gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, food intolerances, and gut microbiome imbalances, all of which can impact metabolism, nutrient absorption, and overall gut health.

The digestive system plays a critical role in our body’s ability to process and absorb nutrients from the food we consume. When the digestive system is not functioning optimally, it can have a significant impact on weight management.

A Gastroenterologist Can Help You Lose Weight

Because of their unique blend of education and skills, there are different ways that a gastroenterologist can help with weight loss. Some of these include the following:

Optimizing The Digestive System So It Functions At Its Best
A gastroenterologist can help you lose weight by finding and treating GI problems that might be getting in the way of your weight loss efforts.

New research suggests that dysbiosis, which is an imbalance in the gut microbiome, may lead to weight gain and obesity. Gastroenterologists can give advice on how to improve the gut microbiome through diet changes, probiotics, and other methods, which may help patients reach and keep a healthy weight.

Identifying Food Intolerance
In addition to GI disorders, food intolerances can also impact weight management. Some individuals may have intolerances or sensitivities to certain types of food, such as lactose or gluten, which can cause digestive discomfort and inflammation in the gut. This may lead to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.

A gastroenterologist can perform tests to identify food intolerances and provide dietary recommendations to help patients avoid triggering foods, reduce inflammation, and improve overall gut health, which can contribute to weight loss and weight maintenance.

Trained In Endoscopy
Gastroenterologists are highly trained and skilled in performing endoscopic procedures and receive the most training in endoscopy than any other field of medicine. They are the medical specialists who typically perform endoscopic weight loss procedures.

Minimally Invasive And Effective Options For Battling Obesity

Traditional weight loss methods such as dieting and exercise may not always yield the desired results, and for some individuals, more advanced interventions may be needed.

Endoscopic weight loss procedures are minimally invasive techniques that are performed using a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope, which is inserted through the mouth and throat into the stomach. The endoscope is equipped with a light and a camera, allowing the doctor to visualize and carry out the procedure without the need for incisions.

These procedures are typically performed on an outpatient basis, which means patients can go home the same day, and they require significantly less recovery time compared to traditional bariatric surgery.

Endoscopic weight loss procedures may also be suitable for patients who are not good candidates for traditional weight loss surgeries due to health conditions or other factors. These procedures are also suitable for patients with a lower body mass index (BMI) and are associated with fewer complication risks compared to traditional surgeries. They may also be an option for patients who have had previous weight loss surgeries and require further interventions.

What Endoscopic Procedures Can Be Done By A Gastroenterologist To Help With Weight Loss?

Gastroenterologists who specialize in endoscopic weight loss procedures have additional training and expertise in advanced endoscopic techniques specifically aimed at helping patients achieve weight loss. These procedures may include endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) or intragastric balloon placement, such as the Orbera balloon.

The ESG Procedure
One endoscopic weight loss procedure that has recently become popular and is done by a gastroenterologist to help with weight loss is called endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) and involves placing sutures inside the stomach, reducing its size, and shaping it into a sleeve-like structure. This restricts the amount of food the stomach can hold, leading to decreased appetite and reduced calorie intake. ESG is a reversible procedure, and it does not involve the removal of any stomach tissue, making it a good option for those who want to avoid invasive surgery.
Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty
Weight Loss Balloon
Another type of endoscopic weight-loss procedure is intragastric balloon placement. This involves placing a deflated balloon into the stomach endoscopically and then filling it with saline to expand its size. The balloon occupies space in the stomach, creating a feeling of fullness and reducing hunger, which helps patients eat smaller portions and lose weight. Intragastric balloons are temporary and need to be removed after about six months.
Orbera gastric balloon

A significant advantage of endoscopic weight loss procedures is that they are less invasive compared to traditional weight loss surgeries such as gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery. This means they generally have fewer risks and complications, and patients usually experience less pain, no scarring, and shorter recovery times.

When you are considering using ESG, a gastric balloon, or another endoscopic weight loss tool to help you lose weight, it is critical to find a doctor who is a skilled endoscopist and is also an expert in the weight loss procedure you are having. Not all gastroenterologists offer endoscopic weight loss procedures, as these techniques require specialized training and expertise.

What Other Qualifications Should A Gastroenterologist Have To Be Considered An Expert That Can Help You Lose Weight?

To ensure your weight loss program is successful, it is important that the doctor you choose to work with understands the complexities of obesity. It may surprise you, but 99% of the doctors in the United States have no training in obesity medicine.

Only a very small percentage of gastroenterologists are specialty trained in obesity medicine, which qualifies them to provide guidance on appropriate nutrition and lifestyle modifications that can support weight loss efforts.

These qualified experts can work with patients to develop personalized meal plans, provide education on portion control, offer advice on healthy eating habits, and recommend appropriate dietary supplements if needed. Additionally, gastroenterologists who understand the disease of obesity can provide counseling on lifestyle changes, stress management, and the importance of sleep, all of which can impact weight management.

An obesity-trained gastroenterologist can also prescribe weight-loss medication as part of a comprehensive program to treat obesity. To ensure patient success, the doctor usually works in tandem with a knowledgeable team that may include nutritionists, dieticians, exercise specialists, and other healthcare professionals to provide the patient with the most successful weight loss management plan. This team works closely with patients to develop personalized treatment plans, monitor progress, and provide long-term follow-up care to ensure the best outcomes.

Where Can I Find A Gastroenterologist Qualified To Help With Weight Loss?

If you are looking for a gastroenterologist to help with weight loss in the Miami area, you are in luck! Dr. Okeefe Simmons is the first physician in the United States to be triple-trained in gastroenterology, obesity medicine, and bariatric endoscopy, making him the most qualified doctor to help you overcome your struggle with obesity.

Obesity-trained gastroenterologists who are experts in performing endoscopic weight loss procedures make up less than 1% of the doctors in the country, so it may be necessary for you to travel outside of your area to locate one. If you are not local, no worries! Dr. Simmons offers video consults and has many patients who travel from out of state to work with him and the highly skilled team at Simmons MD Advanced Weight Loss Solutions.

While diet and exercise are crucial components of weight management, the experts at Simmons MD Advanced Weight Loss Solutions can help with additional interventions to support your weight loss efforts. Dr. Simmons and his team utilize their expertise in diagnosing and treating digestive system disorders, identifying food intolerances, optimizing gut health, providing safe and effective weight loss tools, and providing nutrition and lifestyle recommendations to support their patients’ efforts and help them succeed in reaching their weight loss goals.

If you’re considering an endoscopic weight loss procedure, it’s essential to seek out a qualified gastroenterologist, like Dr. Simmons, who has experience performing these types of procedures and can provide appropriate evaluation, guidance, and care.

The caring professionals at Simmons MD Advanced Weight Loss Solutions are here to help you regain your health and quality of life. Set up an appointment today to learn about your options for reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

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