Sleeve gastrectomy: This weight-loss surgery lowers women’s booze tolerance
Ladies, if you are opting for gastric sleeve surgery to shed those extra kilos, then you may want to consider cutting back on the amount of booze you consume post-surgery.
A team of researchers at the University of Illinois and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that after undergoing sleeve gastrectomy, women could be legally intoxicated after drinking half the number of drinks than women who did not have this surgery.
Sleeve gastrectomy, similar to another weight-loss surgery, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), speeds up alcohol absorption to the bloodstream. After drinking, blood alcohol levels increase much faster and reach higher levels than what would be expected before surgery, explained study leader Marta Yanina Pepino.
“After having a sleeve gastrectomy, if a woman has a couple of drinks, she could be exposing her brain to blood alcohol levels that are achieved in a woman without surgery when she consumes four or five drinks,” added first author M. Belen Acevedo. “Drinking, such that it raises blood alcohol levels above legal drinking limits, is considered a binge drinking episode and has been associated with an increased risk of developing alcohol problems.”
For the current study, 11 women who had sleeve surgery and eight who had RYGB surgery within 1-5 years before the study began, as well as nine women who had not had either surgery, were evaluated in two sessions.
In one session the women consumed the equivalent of two standard alcoholic drinks over a 10-minute period. At another, they consumed non-alcoholic drinks. At each visit, the researchers measured blood alcohol levels by using gas chromatography and compared them to estimations of blood alcohol levels obtained from breath alcohol measures using a breathalyzer. They also used a questionnaire to determine the women’s level of drunkenness.
For the women in the non-surgery group, blood alcohol contents peaked at 0.6 g/L about 26 minutes after they finished drinking. In those who had sleeve surgery and RYGB, blood alcohol contents peaked at 1.1 and 1.0 g/L about 9 and 5 minutes, respectively, after finishing the drink. The women who had sleeve surgery or RYGB also reported more intense feelings of drunkenness.
Another finding showed that breathalyzer values compared to those measured by gas chromatography, which Pepino calls the “gold-standard” technique, underestimated blood alcohol by 27 %.
Because of this finding and the fact that breathalyzers must be used 15 minutes after the final drink of alcohol, Pepino pointed out that breathalyzers may not be a reliable way to get accurate alcohol levels from those who have had sleeve or RYGB surgery. The study appears online in the journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases.