You know, sometimes patients complain that it was much easier during phase 1, when the balloon prevented them from eating; and by comparison, they say that during Phase 2 the balloon is not as effective and does not prevent them from eating and for some patients the appetite returns. What’s happening? Is the balloon big enough? Did it stop working? The answers are- this is normal; the balloon is big enough; the balloon is still working.
This is the process that we call accommodation. The stomach gets accustomed to the balloon after a week or two. During the first week, the stomach was “attacked” by this balloon and the stomach was trying to push the balloon out of the stomach and forward into the intestines – like it usually does with food – but, of course, the balloon cannot leave the stomach. So this is why there are symptoms and you cannot eat- the stomach is struggling with the balloon. But during phase 2, the stomach gets accustomed to the balloon and settles down. The stomach allows you to eat. So, if it allows you to eat!! – how does it help you lose weight?
Remember, that the stomach has a job to do – swirl food around; mix it with digestive enzymes and acid; and move the food forward into the intestines. That is a difficult task when there is a big balloon in the stomach that prevents the stomach from squeezing its contents forward. Imagine a tube of toothpaste with a ping pong ball inside the tube. It wouldn’t be easy to empty the tube- and that’s what’s happening in the stomach. Yet, even with the balloon inside – the stomach will push the food forward into the intestines; however, it will take a lot longer than usual. So after a few days of eating, the food starts to build up in the stomach. When the accumulated food reaches a certain level in your stomach – the stomach starts feeling it and signals you with: burps, fullness, heaviness, gassiness, minor cramps, bad breath or some other signal. The signals are very mild and infrequent at first, however, if food intake continues as is, the signals increase. That is an alert to you – the stomach is telling you – “hey, there is too much food in here, left over, and you need to do something about it.” Your stomach is telling you:
- Whatever you ate over the last week was too much for your stomach
- even if you followed the dieticians instructions
- So now is the time to make better choices with food
That’s how a balloon helps you. The balloon allows you to make food choices, and if the food choices are not good for you, the balloon signals you, and you act on it and make the correction. Take that opportunity and you will get you one step closer to learning how to eat properly and live a healthy life. Do it enough times during the course of Spatz balloon treatment, and you will develop the tools to maintain a healthy lifestyle even after the balloon is removed. Think of the Spatz balloon as your personalized health guide – it keeps reminding you to make the change. It’s the equivalent of having a personal trainer that pushes you to exercise properly. This is a partnership, and we are here to help you achieve your goals. That’s why people really change their ways with a Spatz balloon.