Gastric balloons are generally considered safe; however, like any medical procedure, they carry certain risks. While serious complications are rare, they can include balloon deflation, gastrointestinal obstruction, or infection. It’s important for us to be transparent and ensure that you are well-informed about potential side effects.
It’s worth noting that the side effects experienced with gastric balloons are a natural response of your body to the presence of a foreign object in your stomach. Most side effects are temporary and typically last for 3-4 days. Patients usually start feeling back to normal soon after.
Nausea and vomiting are common side effects following the procedure, affecting around 95% of individuals. These symptoms usually resolve within 2 to 3 days but can potentially lead to dehydration. Depending on the specific approach and protocols followed by your clinician, they may recommend a short inpatient stay of up to 48 hours after balloon insertion to closely monitor and manage early symptoms. This may involve administering intravenous fluids and medication to control nausea and vomiting.
Stomach cramps are another common side effect within the first 48 hours after the procedure. The presence of the balloon can irritate the muscles of the stomach wall, causing griping pains. While these cramps can be uncomfortable, they are generally short-lived and improve as your stomach adapts to the balloon. Following a liquid diet can help alleviate the cramps. If you experience feelings of fullness, bloating, or retching, lying on your left side and gently massaging your abdomen upward beneath your ribs may assist in repositioning the gastric balloon. In cases of severe pain and cramping, medication can be prescribed to provide relief.
Overall, while gastric balloons carry some risks, they are generally considered safe when performed by qualified healthcare professionals. Your clinician will provide you with detailed information about the potential risks and benefits specific to your individual circumstances.