A new study has found that adults who undergo a common type of weight-loss surgery appear to have a significantly higher risk of abusing alcohol two years after the procedure, according to researchers the University of Pittsburgh.
The study investigated alcohol consumption and abuse in nearly 2,000 patients across the US, surveying their alcohol consumption 30 days before surgery, then one and two years after surgery.
Nearly 70 percent of the participants had gastric bypass surgery -- which reduces the size of the stomach and shortens the intestine -- and were most at risk for alcohol disorders.
Another 25 percent had laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding surgery, which uses a band to make the stomach smaller, and the remaining five percent had other, less common surgeries.
Of those patients who had gastric bypass, seven percent reported symptoms of alcohol disorders before surgery.
That rate increased to 10.7 percent two years after surgery - a relative increase of more than 50 percent.
Though a prior problem with drinking was one of the best predictors of having a disorder later, more than half of the participants who developed disorders two years after surgery did not have a prior history of alcohol abuse, according to the researchers.
"There have been several studies showing if you give gastric bypass patients a standard amount of alcohol, they reach a higher peak alcohol level, they reach the level more quickly, and they take longer to return to a sober state -- they're experiencing alcohol differently after surgery," study researcher Mary King, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, told FOXNews.com.
"So we weren't entirely surprised to find a significant increase. It could be a combination of the change in alcohol sensitivities coupled with higher levels of drinking."
In contrast, among patients who had lap band surgery, about five percent suffered from alcohol use disorders two years after surgery, which was similar to pre-surgery rates.
According to King, while there have been no formal studies done, it is unlikely lap band surgeries affect patients' sensitivities to alcohol like gastric bypass procedures do.
Read more: FOX News
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