Gas Filled Balloons Represent New Treatment for Obesity

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 30 percent of adults in the United States are considered obese. In addition, a considerable percentage of children actually fall into this unhealthy category as well. Addressing this epidemic of obesity in the United States has become a major concern.

A new treatment for obesity involves the use of a capsule. The capsule contains a balloon and is swallowed by a person struggling with obesity and weight issues. The balloon centered treatment is called the Obalon 6-Month Balloon System.

Once the individual swallows the capsule, a doctor fills the balloon with nitrogen gas through a catheter. Once filled with the gas, the balloon is about the size of a standard eight ounce cup.

With the balloon in place, a person with weight issues is said to feel full sooner when eating. As the name of the treatment indicates, it involves the placement and removal of these balloons over the course of a month period of time.

A study of 185 obese people has been undertaken in which these individuals were given the balloon treatment. Another 185 obese people were given a placebo, a sugar pill that a doctor pretended to fill with gas. The people given the actual Obalon 6-Month Balloon System lost an average of 6.8 percent of their body weight. The placebo group lost weight as well, but only 3.5 percent of their body weight.

Side effects reported by those in the study included abdominal cramping and nausea. However, nearly all people reporting these issues said they were mild to moderate.