Obesity is an epidemic in America. Gastric bypass is becoming a mainstream treatment for obesity. Gastric bypass makes the stomach smaller, making the patient feel fuller with less food, and thereby helping the patient curb caloric intake. After gastric bypass surgery, the patient is at risk for iron deficiency anemia.
Anemia means that the red blood cell (the cells that carry oxygen and make you feel more energized) count is low. Iron-deficiency anemia means the reason for the anemia is that the body does not have enough iron in it to make those red blood cells properly.
One study of 300 patients sent to a hematology office showed that ¼ of the iron deficiency anemia patients were due to gastric bypass (with heavy menstrual bleeding as reason #1).
One symptom of iron-deficiency anemia is “pica.” This is a desire to eat non-nutritive things: leaves, ice, and toilet paper. So, be aware of your post-surgical risks and let your doctor know of your cravings.