Gastric Balloon Side Effects: Most Common & How To Avoid

Question Below Submitted By:  

Justine (a patient from Dallas, TX)

What are the most common gastric balloon side effects immediately following surgery and while the balloon is in place?

For example, I’ve read some stories about it being painful for some patients, even after the initial adjustment period. I’ve also read about cramps, nausea, vomiting and bloating.

Do these happen with all or most of your patients? Are they present for the entire time that the balloon is in place? Are there other common potential side effects to be aware of?

Also, is one type of balloon different than another in terms of the associated side effects, or are all types basically the same?

Is there any way to avoid side effects altogether, for example, with certain eating habits or diet changes?

Sorry for all of the questions. Just want to know what I’m getting into if I move forward with this.

Thank you!



Patient Responses to the Question Above

Day 5 after insertion of Spatz adjustable balloon

by: Ozziegirl

Day 5 and feeling pretty good. In fact, just walked a couple of KMS for the first time since the procedure and felt fine. The clinic I went to arranged IV infusions on the 2 consecutive days following my procedure which I think made a huge difference in terms of maintaining hydration, electrolyte levels, etc. I wretched a few times (I brought nothing up) and the stomach cramps were uncomfortable for the first couple of nights.

But all of it was quite tolerable - helped probably by the prescribed medications as well. I was on clear fluids for 2 days before the procedure and re-introduced free fluids this morning - protein shakes, soup, milk, yoghurt. I'm finding that I can only tolerate about 250ml of fluid before feeling a little uncomfortably full. I'm not really feeling hungry but am craving a salad which won't be a possibility for another couple of weeks. So far, so good and 3kg down.

Difficulties During First Week with Gastric Balloon

by: Anonymous

It will be day 7 tomorrow.

I am a 52 yr old woman, 211 lbs 5'6", that has had overweight problems most of my life.

I also have hypothyroid and was diagnosed back in my late 20's.

I saw the balloon option was approved in the US on the news and it sounded perfect for me to control my overeating. I eat very healthy - no processed foods and lots of fresh or frozen veggies, and I drink a lot of water. I quit drinking diet soda last year. To prepare for the balloon you go on a liquid diet for 3 days.

I also weaned myself off coffee so I wouldn't get headaches. They said no caffeine. I was down to 204 lbs the day of the procedure. Day 1 was not bad until the evening and I got very sick and vomited violently 3 different times.

Wasn't able to sleep, up and down all night setting up in the recliner.

I was pretty much out of it for days.

I took off work for 5 days and needed every bit of it! Not able to drink much water or liquid without feeling sick. Very, Very miserable!! If it had to be taken out right now I would not have another put back in.

I now weigh 200 lbs. I think the worst may be over.

I am sick of the protein drink and don't even want the sugar free popsicles.

I am very hungry and weak. Time will tell if it is worth the $5400.00 it cost me.

I am giving it my all for that kind of money.


by: Madelyn Johnson

I am now 4 1/2 months in. Although I have had success losing weight, from 194 to 158, it had been miserable every single day the balloon has been in.

To begin with I contracted CDIFF from the treatment center where the balloon was inserted. I struggled with dehydration and most recently suffered a complete blockage of a gastric outlet. That requires an NG tube be inserted to decompress my stomach. The balloon had migrated and completely blocked the exit to my stomach.

As bad as this experience has been it almost pales in comparison with the extremely poor follow up care I received from bariatric center and doctor I used. Because this is a cash transaction BE VERY CAREFUL of the provider. I have never had worse care and follow up is non existent. I was the first person to have this procedure in the Capital District. One would think they might want to follow up.

I have been in significant discomfort since this went in and I am in the process of trying to schedule its removal. The doctor cancelled one appointment and blew me off on the next appointment. Even if I have to go to the ER this thing is coming out this month.

After my last ER visit with the blockage the doctor's office didn't even call and follow up. I can't wait to see the bill for that 8 hour visit.

My experiences with the gastric balloon


I am 3 months into my experience. I have gone from 276 to 220 lbs. The downside is the feelings of not feeling well or normal due to the digestion problems each day, blotting, severe diarrhea (7 continuous days), stomach gas, bad (very bad) breath.

I have experienced, like a previous poster, a feeling that the doctor didn't wish to be involved in my side effects. Cash up front and all that. However, it's only 6 months and I'm highly satisfied with my weight loss.

Food rejected

by: Janet

This does work but like every thing it has it’s good and bad. I’m 2 months in to the ballon and I’ve gone from 266 to 233 and my health has increased tenfold.

The only bad thing is that my body has rejected different kinds of food and I have pretty bad gas. Other than that it’s been pretty good.

Just so sick

by: Gloria Ramrattan

I have had my balloon for two months now and there has not been a single moment I have felt fine. I am constantly sick to my stomach, bloated, very gaseous. Everything I eat or drink makes me sick. I hate to eat because i feel so sick.

I belch all the time. I cannot eat more than three or four spoons of food before I have to stop. Some times I vomit and some times I do not. I just feel sick after I eat.

I have to eat because I am a diabetic. At night is when it is worse. I cannot sleep for the discomfort. My stomach feels so heavy and I feel as if it is swelling. I am going to my doctor to have him remove it.

Only good thing about it is I have dropped a few pounds. My doctor thought it would be good to help me control my high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Thinking about getting it done?

by: Cathy

Can everybody please give me their opinion whether it's good or bad? I keep hearing the bad. And it's making me very nervous. I don't know if one place is better than another. Please help me decide.

by: Patrick Furlong

Hi Cathy,

The website has a quiz to help people decide which procedure is best for them:

Best Weight Loss Surgery Options

Hopefully that helps. Side effects exist for all procedures, be it gastric balloon or gastric sleeve, but most people overcome these side effects and lose weight. It's just a matter of what your goals are and your willingness.


Big mistake

by: Sherry

I did not feel full. The only reason I lost weight was the guilt I had over spending so much money. My surgeon was so unconcerned about my progress. He was three hours late for surgery and appointments

Thin Again

by: Thin Again

6 weeks in. Still feel very uncomfortable. Ive never gone more than 3 days without vomiting. I have lost 18lbs though.


by: Traci

My first week post ballon placement was a little rough, and I could feel the balloon somewhat for about the first month. I'm only 10 weeks post procedure, but doing quite well. Down 20 pounds so far and feeling good. My appetite and eating habits have changed a great deal.

I try to eat mindfully and stop when I feel somewhat full. My procedure was done at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. I had extensive pre- and post-procedure workup with endocrinology, psychology, and dieticians to help me determine what some of my triggers were for the foods I chose, and my eating habits.

Also worked with exercise specialists and wellness coaches to help me live and hopefully maintain the weight I lost. I also have a wellness coach at the Mayo Clinic that follows up with me every few weeks to talk about any hurdles i've encountered or issues i'm having. I did also pay cash up front, but that includes both insertion and removal of the balloon, wellness coaching for a whole year after my procedure, and all of the lab tests and doctor office visits prior.

It was a hefty sum to pay for sure, and for a minute or two I thought, forget it I can't afford that, but then I thought, No! My life is worth that much and then some! So far no major complaints, Hope that continues, No regrets so far.

Nothing positive to say

by: Kim

I am participating in a clinical trial for a new gastric balloon that will be on the market soon, if the FDA likes the trial results. Some of the pros of this new balloon is that you do not need to undergo any sedation to have the balloon inserted and it will dissolve and pass after about 4 months.

I have completed 5 weeks and can't take it anymore. I throw up every other day, had a horrible reaction to whey protein, my hair is falling out because I am dehydrated and not taking in enough protein.

I am a miserable, irritable, tired, hungry, and an overwhelmed human being. I am not sure what I thought the process would be like, but it was nothing like this. Because it is a clinical trial, I can't ask the nutritionist for help, and can contact the dr. with issues, but that hasn't been any help other than to tell me that I must be doing something wrong. Not helpful!

I have an appointment tomorrow and am hoping to have this removed ASAP.

if you are thinking about the balloon, be prepared to be uncomfortable every day. The 25 pounds I have lost in the 5 weeks is totally not worth it. I could starve myself and make myself throw up on my own. I don't need something in my stomach to help me do that.

I laugh at the fact that at my last appointment with my nutritionist they suggested that I start exercising. I can't even climb a flight of stairs without being light headed, never mind take a brisk walk for 30 minutes, 4-5 times a week.

I wish I had read some reviews before I decided to participate in this trial. Good Luck to those who decide to do it. Hopefully you will be stronger than me.

Pain every day

by: Lisa

I've had the balloon for a month now and not had one pain free day yet. I have lost nearly a stone but somehow I don't feel like celebrating. I ended up in hospital after a few days due to severe dehydration and had to have nearly two weeks off work.

I have pain, gas, constipation, diarrhea and feel better when i don't eat at all. I can only manage a few mouthfuls of food at once and there is no pleasure in eating at all anymore. I can't go out for a meal, drink alcohol or even enjoy a coffee now. I can wake up in the middle of the night and just be sick randomly, I keep a bowl next to my bed all the time.

I wish I had read some of these reviews beforehand, even the insertion was traumatic and I thought i was going to choke. I would not recommend this and would say to anyone thinking about it, stick to WW or Slimming World 100% instead, at least you can have a life, enjoy good food, socialize and feel well every day.

Never again, I can't wait for the 16 weeks to be up.

ekstremely dehydrated and

by: Pernille Thomsen

I had mine for 3 moths and I did lose a lot of weight, but I had terrible kidneystone attacks and I was very dehydrated.

I felt like my life could end any time. My Gastric balloon was on 650 ml. After acute removal, I was fine. Gained the weight again.

What have i done

by: In distress

36 hours post balloon for a study and totally regretting it. I too wish i had read these comments.

My family is very worried about me, I am so sick and weak.

Reshape Balloon Review

by: Christine Amarillo

I wish I could say that this was a good investment, but from the time the balloon was inserted on December 4, untill it was removed June 20th, I felt like my stomach was full of acid. First week I was sick and nauseous and the rest of the time I could not go a day without taking Omeprazole 40mg.

I only lost a total of 16lbs because the only way to get rid of the acid/burning sensation was to eat! I never felt full just had acid stomach. I just had it removed June 20th, and now I’m experiencing episodes of horrific cramping, nausea and excessive sweating lasting 2-3 minutes an episode on a daily basis.

I’m hoping it’s my stomach getting used to the new normal but it’s scary to say the least. I’m going to see my primary care doctor this week. I don’t recommend it but I suppose it depends on the person.


by: Destroyer 5000 name by my daughter

I have my balloon inserted 5 weeks ago. I have good days and some bad days . But I have the satisfaction of having lost 26 Lb. in 5 week

My doctor and his staff are exceptional

I have learn to eat different foods , we cook with my daughter, every night ,witch is something new for me. Having a busy life I used to order food all the time. Those days are over.

I really hope I can keep my balloon to the end and probably a bit longer.

Good Luck guys.

Post Orbera Problems

by: Sherrill

Has anyone had any post-Orbera pain at the top of the stomach/opening? Hardness? Bloating? Feelings of not getting food to pass into the stomach? Problems with digestion and/or digestion?

Spatz 3

by: Nicola Donnelly

9 weeks post insertion
I am being more sick than ever
Even liquid won’t stay down!! What is going on??

its been a week and I am ALWAYS hungry

by: frank germilli

For whatever reason that i cant understand, even thought I eat less, I am starving an hour after eating, cant even make it through the night without waking up thinking of food, i am always thinking of food, its pure hell......

I wonder if this as happened to anyone else, I feel fine, not sick and other that food tastes awful (feels like eating a dodge ball) hard to explain but I dont understand why I am feeling this, I surely wont be losing weight eating 15 times a day! lol

Any ideas to offer? I do eat well but nothing feels me up for long, also went from drinking a gallon a day of water to barely 2 glasses.

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