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Does Gastric Bypass Surgery Affect Rheumatoid Arthritis?

I'm considering gastric bypass surgery, in part because I've heard that it can improve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Is this true? Does gastric bypass surgery have an impact on rheumatoid arthritis?

 
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Answer

At this time, it is unclear how bariatric surgeries (including gastric bypass) are related to rheumatoid arthritis. It seems reasonable to expect that the resulting weight loss would have a positive impact on any type of arthritis, since carrying around all that excess weight puts quite a bit of stress on the joints.
 
However, it is probably a bit more complicated than that. Some of the commonly used rheumatoid arthritis medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), should generally be avoided by people who have had a gastric bypass.
 
Although you might not think to consult your rheumatologist when considering a gastric bypass, it is a very good idea to do so. Similarly, your bariatrician should also be consulted about the possible effects gastric bypass surgery might have on your rheumatoid arthritis and on your ability to continue to take your arthritis medications.
 
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