Swallowing a balloon kick-starts losing weight

An innovative way for losing weight has been approved in the UK. Swallowing a balloon has become the newest alternative to kick-starting a process of weight loss.  After several trials, satisfying results have led to the use of this method as a great way to help to lose weight.

The procedure with this gastric balloon is fairly easy, and according to study results, very effective.  Unlike other procedures to lose weight, there is no surgery required. The patient swallows a capsule attached to a catheter. When the capsule reaches the stomach, the doctor inflates it with water. This balloon then takes up a lot of space in the stomach and prevents people from getting too hungry. After a period of four months, the contents of the balloon are disposed of into the stomach.

Typically, a patient might require three balloons.  Along with dieting and exercising, this seems to be a kick-start for losing weight.

The clinical trials began in 2015.  Fifteen sites across the UK with more than 300 patients proved the effectiveness of the method.  “Once you see results, you get encouraged to do more,” Dr. Eid said at a press briefing. “When people gain weight, they get into a vicious cycle. The intervention is to break that cycle.”    

During the trials, the results showed that, on average, participants lost 7 percent of their body weight. The Rx capsule, known as Obarol is still waiting for approval in the US.

Although the method seems to be miraculous, it is not recommended for everyone. The method will be applied to those clinically classified as obese; a BMI from 30 to 40.

Professor Mike Lean from Glascow University warns us about the short-time effect that this method can hold. “Balloons definitely help some people to lose weight over a short period. But they cannot have any long-term effect,” he said. “Once they are removed, or passed out as waste, they have no further effect, so weight goes back on unless the patient has a long-term weight maintenance strategy.”


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