What are the effects of reduced gastric acid secretions following gastric bypass surgery, and in what way were increased incidences of diarrhea linked to jejunoilial bypass surgery?

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The human body is an incredibly intricate network of systems that must all work together in a predetermined manner for an individual's health to remain in a proper working conditions.  Flaws or deformities may exist necessitating corrective medical procedures, but elective surgery that fundamentally alters one of the body's natural systems can have reverbations that can adversely affect the proper functioning of that network.  Such was the case with jejunoileal bypass surgery, a common but conceptually flawed surgical procedure performed during the 1960s and 1970s.  A procedure devised to aid those seeking relief from chronic weight problems, particularly obesity, jejunoileal bypass surgery involved reduction in the size of the jejunum, the middle section of the small intestine.  The problem, however, was that the small intestine, needless to say (?) is a functioning part of the digestive system and, as such, performs a useful function in the processing and excretion of waste.  Bypassing the middle section of the intestine -- the jejunum, which aids in absorption of nutrients, as well as the duodenum, which produces the bicarbonate needed to absorb excess gastric -- threw off the body's ability to digest and process foods.  The result was an increase in bowel control problems by those who had endured the procedure.  

In a similar vein, manipulation of the amount of gastric acid secretions an individual experiences, while often necessary to reduce excessive amounts of such secretions to reduce the risk of esophageal cancer -- an extremely dangerous development -- can also have the deleterious ramification of adversely affecting the stomach's ability to kill bacteria and digest food.  Regulation of acid and pepsin secretion is an essential component of the digestive process, and its disruption will most assuredly create complications.  Gastric acid is produced by cells lining the interior of the stomach.  Ideally, the amount of gastric acid produced is in accordance with the quantity needed to break down proteins and digest nutrients.  When that balance, for any reason, is disrupted, the body's ability to digest food, absorb nutrients, and secrete waste are all altered.  Too little gastric acid, and bad bacteria aren't killed off in the stomach and food is not properly digested; too much, and acid backs-up in the esophagus, causing "heart burn" and, if the problem becomes chronic, destroying the esophagus' lining, thereby radically increasing the probability of the development of cancerous lesions.  

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