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Why a gastric band may feel tighter when you are flying

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There are three reasons why a gastric band may feel tighter when you are flying on a plane:

  1. If the air pressure in the cabin isn’t adequately adjusted, and there is a small amount of air in your gastric band, the band could theoretically feel tighter. I have seen this explanation given on a number of websites but in practice I think it is pretty unlikely.
  2. All tissues expand including internal organs in the stomach wall in circumstances where there is inadequate pressure in the cabin. 
  3. It is well known that anxiety and stress will create a sensation of the gastric band being tighter so if you get stressed when flying this is the most likely reason.

None of the above amount to a tightening that is physiologically dangerous. Look at it as a positive benefit. You can avoid the ghastly airline meal; sip lots of water (avoid alcohol) sit back and arrive at your destination with calories to spare.

Dr David Ashton

4th June 2010

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