Common Gastric Balloon Myths Explained
We explore some common myths about the gastric balloon pill, to put your mind at ease, including, does the procedure involve surgery and is a gastric balloon uncomfortable?
Common Gastric Balloon Myths Explained
Losing weight is one of life’s biggest challenges for some people. Diet and exercise on their own simply don’t work for everyone. Something else is needed to tip the balance toward successful weight loss.
That missing ‘something’ is the swallowable gastric balloon which, literally, takes up residence (temporarily) in the stomach, making it possible for you to feel full on less food and therefore to lose weight.
Many people who want to lose weight may be interested in a gastric balloon, but they don’t pursue it as an option because of their misconceptions about what it is … and what it isn’t. In this article, we explore some common myths and questions about the gastric balloon pill, such as:
1. The gastric balloon pill involves surgery
2. A gastric balloon is uncomfortable
3. You will regain all the weight once the gastric balloon is removed
4. You can’t eat a normal diet with a gastric balloon
- The Allurion gastric balloon pill involves surgery
A major advantage of the gastric balloon pill unlike, for example, a gastric band, is that it does not require any form of surgery. And nor does this revolutionary treatment require an endoscopic procedure to place the gastric balloon in the stomach (as is needed with other types of gastric balloons). The Allurion Balloon is the world’s first and only swallowable gastric balloon pill and it does not even require local anaesthesia for its placement.
“The gastric balloon pill involves no form of surgery. Really?” Absolutely. A certified healthcare professional places the balloon, without anaesthetic, in the stomach during a simple 15-minute procedure at any one of our clinics – that’s less time than it takes to enjoy a coffee with a friend.
The balloon is packaged into a capsule that’s attached to a thin catheter for easy placement. Your healthcare professional will help you swallow the capsule with a glass of water, and once the balloon-capsule is in the stomach, an X-ray will be taken to confirm that it’s in the correct position. The capsule shell of the pill is made up of plant material that breaks down when it reaches the stomach, releasing the balloon, which is then filled with 550ml of water.
All gastric balloons are temporary, and most of them need to be removed endoscopically (a procedure performed under an anaesthetic in which an instrument is introduced into the body), but that is not required with the Allurion Gastric Balloon. Thanks to our revolutionary technology, the balloon deflates and empties itself of water after about 16 weeks, leaving the body naturally during your usual bowel movements.
- A gastric balloon is uncomfortable
One of the main concerns people have about the gastric balloon is, “Surely it must be uncomfortable?” Okay, let’s be honest, and say that the sensation of having the soft swallowable gastric balloon might feel a little strange for a few days. As with any new sensation that is not actually uncomfortable (think of that new pair of shoes that has a different feel to your usual pair), we become used to it and may not even notice the sensation after a while.
Similarly with a temporary gastric balloon, the sensation of it being there should disappear as you go about your daily routines in the days following its placement. But remember that the purpose of having the gastric balloon is to feel satisfied after having eaten smaller-than-usual amounts of food, as well as prolonging that satisfying sensation of fullness in between meals and snacks. The impact of the balloon on your hunger and satiety remains, but after the first few days of having the soft balloon in your stomach, your body adapts and any discomfort that you may have felt initially subsides.
The gastric balloon is a purposeful application of healthcare technology that contributes to the physical sensation of fullness, which is so important as you make changes to your lifestyle and approach to eating.
- You’ll regain all the weight once the gastric balloon is removed
Let’s start by giving you the science. Clinical studies show that 12 months after the gastric balloon has passed out of the body, patients maintain 72% to 95% of their weight loss. (Ref:1) This is achieved with the support of the clinic team and the all-encompassing Allurion Programme which gives you the digital tools and knowledge to build habits that will benefit you for the long term.
It all starts with the gastric balloon pill. This is designed to be placed in the stomach temporarily, to kick-start desirable, yet elusive, weight loss that people yearn for and have high hopes of being able to maintain. This is the dream. And it’s a realistic one. The key to making it a reality is to start to make shifts in your lifestyle choices, building up behaviours that will eventually become rock-solid habits, that will be just as difficult to break as those that led you down the pathway to weight gain.
For example, did you know that being active is the single greatest predictor of who keeps weight off and who doesn’t? Even though the expected additional weight loss through physical activity is, on average, not more than 2 to 3 kg (Ref:2), the benefits of moving your body are overwhelming and wide-ranging; supporting good health and overall wellbeing including improved mood and sleep. Your clinic team will help you make shifts in your activity routines to build up habits that will benefit you for the long term.
Our customised lifestyle change Programme is evidence-based, tailored to your needs and supports you in adopting a weight loss approach that is balanced and works to preserve your all-important lean body mass (LBM) too - this is everything in your body that is not fat tissue, vital for your health and sustained weight loss success.
All weight loss programmes result in some LBM losses, as well as body fat. Taking steps to preserve your LBM will help optimize calorie-burning when your body is at rest – preserving even small amounts of LBM, and therefore not losing that extra daily calorie-burn, adds up over the months and can make a real difference to your total weight loss and keeping it off. Your nutritionist will tailor your intake of protein and give you guidance on exercise to maximize the preservation of LBM as you lose weight.
We’ll give you all the guidance and support you need to create a structured approach to a new way of eating that works for you. In other words, our Programme is tailored to your lifestyle. You will have the support of your doctor and your qualified nutritionist as you progress on your journey, as well as our Virtual Care Suite. Collectively, we have you covered, offering a Programme that helps you reset your mindset in relation to food and gives you the expertise and tools to sustain the weight loss achieved by placement of a temporary gastric balloon.
- You can’t eat a normal diet
Once the gastric balloon has been placed in the short 15-minute appointment, you will quickly progress through three phases of reintroduction to a ‘normal diet’ of solid food. Each of the phases lasts 24–48 hours, and the pace at which you progress is customised to you. Everyone is different in how they progress, but most people progress to solid food at around 5 days after placement of the balloon. At this point you’ll be supported in adopting healthier dietary and lifestyle habits that suit you. Your nutritionist will learn about your favourite foods, preferences and needs and build a plan together with you that is doable and includes foods that you love - this customised approach is at the core of the Allurion Programme.
Our support Programme is evidence-based and puts you at the centre of the process that ensures your diet provides all the nutrients your body needs, helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied between meals and preserves your lean body mass (LBM) as you lose weight.
Variety in what we eat is so important for enjoyment of meals, as well as helping ensure our diet is nutritionally sound, which is especially important on a weight loss journey. For everyone, a healthy balanced meal includes options from the protein, vegetable and starchy carbs food groups. And it is the same for anyone who has a gastric balloon in place – in other words, you can eat a normal diet! A key difference will be the amount of food you can manage before you feel full will be less than it was before the balloon was placed, which, of course, helps to lead to that desirable weight loss.
Book your free gastric balloon consultation today
Have you been thinking about how to lose weight and keep it off? Ever wondered if there’s another approach to achieving your weight goal? Use the BMI calculator to check your eligibility for our gastric balloon and book a free consultation today.
Quick reading …
Did you now that there’s a bariatric procedure for weight loss that doesn’t require surgery, an anaesthetic nor endoscopy? And it can be carried out in less time than it takes to drink a cup of coffee!
The revolutionary Allurion Gastric Balloon Pill is cleverly packaged in a capsule (made from material that’ll get the thumbs up from people who are vegan) and swallowed with a glass of water. It requires the assistance of a health care practitioner, of course, but the exciting news is that the balloon can be placed easily and quickly, and you immediately start-off on a weight loss journey that’ll be a lot different to what you may have previously experienced.
So how much weight loss can you expect to achieve using this cutting-edge technology that has revolutionised non-surgical bariatric procedures? It depends on you and how long you choose to take advantage of our customised Programme. It’s all in the name right there – an approach to eating and activity that suits the way you live your life. And you do this with the support of a nutritionist, plus some cool tech for measuring and tracking your way to a dress or trouser size you dare to dream of. Clinical studies show weight loss between 10% and 15% at four months after placement of the balloon. This is great, but making it stick is just as important.
Our studies show that people maintain 72% to 95% of their weight loss 12 months after the balloon naturally leaves the body. Yes, the Allurion Gastric Balloon is placed in the stomach temporarily (as are all types of gastric balloon), but the game-changer here is that this medical device doesn’t need to be placed or removed endoscopically – and that means local anaesthesia is not needed either. The balloon deflates naturally and leaves its place of temporary residence, without any fuss, about 16 weeks after its placement. How cool is that?
In short, with the Allurion Gastric Balloon, you can lose a clinically significant amount of weight and keep most of it off a year later! And let’s not forget, the Programme in all of this. This sets you up with an approach to eating and activity that works best for you and preserves your lean body mass (LBM) – this plays an important part in keeping the weight off for the long term. Remember, the easier it is to do something, the more likely we are to keep doing it. The more we do it, the better we get at doing it. And the better we get at doing it, the easier it becomes. This is a win-win, winning formula that will help you get the lasting weight loss results you’re looking for.
Want to find out more about the Allurion Balloon? Read Common Gastric Balloon Myths Explained or book yourself a free consultation now.
1. Presented at TOS Obesity week, 2020
2. EASO (2021) Special Issue: Exercise Training in Management of Obesity in Adults: Report from the EASO Physical Activity Working Group. Obesity Reviews. Volume 22, Issue S4