Move Over, 5.2: Is A New Balloon Pill The Answer To Fast Weight Loss?

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  • We can't believe this is real, but scientists have invented a new weight-loss treatment that involves inflating a balloon inside your stomach. Yes, really...

    It may sound like science fiction, but a new weight-loss treatment called Obalon – which involves inflating a balloon inside your stomach to mimic the effects of a gastric band – is launching in the UK. Yes, really.

    So how does it work? We’re told that patients swallow a pill-like capsule and, once it arrives in the abdomen, it inflates to the size of an apple and sits at the top of your stomach, making you feel like you’re already full. Unlike other gastric balloon treatments on the market, Obalon doesn’t require a gasteroscopy – as patients simply swallow the small capsule – and it all takes just 15 minutes.

    After a month, another balloon is added to enhance this full feeling and, after 12 weeks, patients tested actually reported an average weight loss of 8kg.
    The procedure is only available to adults with a BMI of 27 or over, and will set you back a whopping £2,995. Patients are also expected to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle during the treatment, which aims to help you to modify your eating habits on a long-term basis. And the good news is, you can still drink alcohol. 

    ‘I’m not even fully through the treatment and have already lost a stone,’ one patient, Helene Fleckney, told us. ‘I’d recommend it to anyone that has struggled to lose weight in the past, and needs a helping hand.’ 
    Consultant Sally Norton told us: ‘There’s no physical block to eating more, but your stomach is already partly full so it feels like you have already had a small meal, so you don’t necessarily want to go on and have more.’
    Around 7 per cent of those tested experienced side effects including vomiting, cramps and reflux, but you don’t need to worry about the balloons popping inside you. ‘The chance of the balloon popping is very, very minimal, and any risk associated with that is tiny, as the balloon would probably pass through the body naturally on its own,’ explains Sally Norton. Well, that’s a relief then…

    The balloon pill will be available through Spire Hospitals, who are offering the treatment through their nationwide clinics in the coming months. Patients can have the balloon removed with an endoscopy, which doesn’t require a general anaesthetic. For more information, visit Would you try it?

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