Background: The experience of symptoms after bariatric surgery, such as pain, dumping, and fatigue, may affect behavior, quality of life, and the need for healthcare consultations. Attention to and interpretation of symptoms are influenced by psychological and contextual factors. Prospective studies of psychological factors predicting physical symptom perception after bariatric surgery are scarce.
Objectives: To explore associations of preoperative negative affect and history of stressful and traumatic events with frequency and intensity of self-reported symptoms 1 year after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB).
Methods: Questionnaire data were collected before and 1 year after RYGB from 230 patients. Negative affect and stressful events were measured preoperatively. The participants reported the number and impact of various physical symptoms postoperatively.
Results: The most common symptoms reported to have a high impact on behavior were fatigue (32.8%) and dumping (28.4%). Reporting more symptoms was associated with preoperative anxiety (r = .22, P = .001) and the number of stressful life events (r = .21, P = .002). Participants with a probable preoperative anxiety disorder reported a higher impact of fatigue, pain, dumping, and diarrhea after surgery, while those with a probable mood disorder and a history of traumatic sexual/violent events reported a higher impact of dumping.
Conclusion: Preoperative anxiety symptoms and stressful experiences were associated with a higher perceived impact of symptoms, such as dumping, fatigue, and pain after RYGB. The evaluation of psychological characteristics associated with symptom perception may be relevant when managing symptoms that are not responsive to other treatment measures.
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