Just when you think the weight loss industry could not come up with another gadget, pill or potion to help you lose weight, think again.
Obalon is a gastric balloon that is currently being launched in the United Kingdom.
The balloon comes in the form of a capsule and is said to help you lose weight.
How does it work?
A small, hollow tube is attached to the capsule with the balloon inside of it. You swallow the capsule and then wait until it gets to your stomach where it is then inflated. The balloon is the size of an apple.
After the inflation, the capsule dissolves and the tube comes out of the mouth. The procedure usually takes about ten minutes to perform and is considered non-invasive. It is recommended that for the first three days after the balloon is inflated that you only drink clear liquids on the first day and then eat soft foods on the second. By day three, you should be okay to resume regular eating.
Thirty days after the first procedure, you can then get a second balloon inflated. If after the second one you still need to lose more weight, a third balloon can be inflated sixty days after that. When no more balloons are needed or necessary, they are deflated and removed from the stomach. This is done on an outpatient basis.
The purpose of the balloon sitting at the top of the stomach is that it gives you a strong sense of fullness so that you will eat a lot less and, hopefully, lose weight in the process. Of course, there is hope that during the time the balloons are in the stomach, you will actively make changes to your diet and lifestyle so that after the three months, you will know how to keep the weight off permanently.
What is the cost and who is eligible for Obalon?
The Obalon gastric balloon costs roughly $5000 (£2,995) for two of the treatments and it is meant for people who are significantly overweight (a BMI of twenty-seven or higher), but not enough to have gastric bypass or weight-loss surgery. Right now, however, it is only done privately.
A few exceptions exist regarding who should use the Obalon gastric balloon. Anyone with GI tract disorders or conditions, type 1 diabetes, allergies to food or products that are of porcine origin, anatomical problems with the upper GI tract, untreated hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease, severe medical problems of major organs and H. pylori that is untreated should not get the gastric balloon. In addition to this, anyone who abuses alcohol or drugs, is pregnant or breastfeeding, or is undergoing any type of immunosuppressive therapy is also not a good candidate for the balloon.
Are there side effects?
Some people have said that they feel discomfort in their abdomen like cramping and pressure. This is to be expected and usually goes away after the body gets accustomed to the balloon. Nausea and vomiting has also been reported by people with the gastric balloon, but this is usually in the first couple of days after inflation of the balloon. However, it is recommended that you take an over-the-counter stomach acid reducing medication until your stomach gets used to the balloon.
What are the results?
Clinical trials have been done and show that patients lost an average of 8.2% of their total body weight and 48.9% of excess body weight over twelve weeks. Of course, some people will lose more while others may lose less.
If you have tried to lose weight in the past, but with little success, the Obalon gastric bypass balloon might be for you. Although it is costly, it may provide you with a jump start for weight loss followed by making changes to your lifestyle that last a lifetime.