The global struggle with obesity has led to the development and refinement of various medical weight loss treatments. These interventions, often pursued when lifestyle changes alone don’t yield the desired results, are designed to either reduce the intake of food, inhibit fat absorption, or directly impact metabolism. Here’s a closer look at some of the top medical weight loss treatments available today.
Table of Contents
1. Prescription Weight Loss Medications
Many medications have been approved by health regulatory bodies for medical weight loss clinic treatments. These work in different ways:
- Appetite Suppressants (e.g., Phentermine): Medications like these lower your hunger because serotonin levels go up increasing catecholamine levels, these are neurochemicals that affect mood and appetite.
- Fat Absorption Inhibitors (e.g., Orlistat): Orlistat, sold as Alli or Xenical, reduces the amount of dietary fat our intestines absorb.
Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any medication.
2. Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgeries are invasive procedures that either restrict food intake or reduce nutrient absorption:
- Gastric Bypass (Roux-en-Y): The surgeon creates a small pouch at the top of the patient’s digestive system and connects them directly to the small intestine. This dual approach restricts food intake and reduces absorption of nutrients.
- Gastric Sleeve: A big part of the patient’s stomach is taken out, creating a less bigger stomach in the shape of a sleeve. It stops the quantity of food it is able to hold.
- Adjustable Gastric Banding: A band is added around the upper portion of the patient’s stomach to create a little pouch. The size of the opening to the rest of the patient’s stomach can be adjusted by filling the band with saline.
3. Intragastric Balloon
This non-surgical procedure involves placing a balloon inside the stomach, which is then filled with saline. The balloon takes up space in the stomach, leading to an increased feeling of fullness and decreased food intake. The balloon is typically removed after six months.
4. Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG)
ESG is a less invasive alternative to the gastric sleeve surgery. Using an endoscope (a flexible tube with a camera), the doctor stitches the stomach to reduce its size. This restricts the amount of food the stomach can hold, aiding weight loss.
While not specifically a weight loss treatment, CoolSculpting is a cosmetic procedure that reduces fat deposits by freezing fat cells underneath the skin. Once frozen, the fat cells are broken down and expelled from the body naturally.
6. Metabolic/Bariatric Ketosis
Some medical programs focus on inducing nutritional ketosis through a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. Being in ketosis means the body burns fat as its primary fuel source. This approach is often monitored closely by healthcare professionals to ensure safety.
7. Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)
Hormonal imbalances can contribute to weight gain or difficulty losing weight. BHRT is a treatment that replenishes the hormones the body needs to function properly, which can, in turn, assist with weight loss.
8. Very Low-Calorie Diets (VLCDs)
These are often liquid diets that provide 800 or fewer calories per day. They can lead to rapid weight loss and are typically medically supervised to ensure nutrient needs are met and to monitor for complications.
The medical world offers multiple avenues for weight loss, from surgeries to medications and other treatments. However, the effectiveness of each approach can vary from person to person. It’s crucial for individuals to consult with healthcare professionals, understand potential risks and benefits, and choose the treatment that aligns best with their health goals and circumstances. Remember, while these treatments can be effective, they are most successful when paired with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and other healthy lifestyle changes.