Posts Tagged ‘Surgery’

Tips for How to Tighten Loose Skin

December 2, 2022

Skin is typically stretched due to significant weight gain and pregnancy. Skin expansion during pregnancy occurs over a few months’ time and will typically retract within several months of delivery. During significant weight gain skin often loses its ability to retract after weight loss due to damage to collagen, elastin, and other components responsible for elasticity making retraction of the skin more difficult.

Loose skin can be frustrating and have an impact on self-esteem. While there are many ways you can develop loose skin, once you have it, it can be difficult to reverse.

While surgery is one way of removing excess skin, there are multiple ways that the skin can retract naturally. It’s these area I’ll be focusing on, but will touch on cosmetic procedures & prevention tips at the end.

Exercise

Long term excess fat will distend the skin which can cause it to lose some of its ability to shrink with weight loss. Replacing that lost fat with muscle mass can lessen the *appearance* of loose skin.

Massage

Increasing the blood flow to areas of the body can help stimulate an anti-aging response causing come contraction of the skin. Now massage definitely reduces dead skin cells and helps with slight retraction. Unfortunately, with large amounts of skin, my RMT sources can’t see it working with a significant amount of skin

I haven’t done any massage on my problems area, but I have gotten regular therapeutic massages on my back currently & during the later half of my weight-loss journey. It is possible that the skin on my back is not a big problem area for me due to this.

Firming Creams.

Firming cream is one that contains retinoid Retinoids are chemical derivatives of vitamin A and include: retinoinretinoic acid adapalene. They increase the proliferation, maturation, and turnover of skin cells. Creams that contain hyaluronic acid, which attracts and holds onto water molecules. Hyaluronic helps :reduce the depth of wrinkles, increase skin firmness, diminish skin roughness. Collagen and elastin molecules are too large to be absorbed through your skin. In general, collagen must be created from the inside out.

Supplements.

There’s no magic pill to fix loose skin, but some supplements can help

Collagen, which makes up 80% of your skin’s structure, provides firmness and strength. Elastin provides elasticity and helps your skin stay tight.

Certain nutrients are important for the production of collagen and other components of healthy skin:

Protein. Adequate protein is vital for healthy skin. The amino acids lysine and proline play a direct role in collagen production.

Vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed for collagen synthesis and also helps protect skin from sun damage

Omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish may help increase skin elasticity and have anti-aging effect

Water. Staying well hydrated may improve the skin’s appearance. One study found that women who increased their daily water intake had significant improvements in skin hydration and function.

Hyaluronic Acid & Collegen Hyaluronic acid attracts and holds onto water molecules and helps :reduce the depth of wrinkles, increase skin firmness, diminish skin roughness The innermost layer of your skin consists of proteins, including collagen and elastin. Collagen, which makes up 80% of your skin’s structure, provides firmness and strength. Elastin provides elasticity and helps your skin stay tight.

What I’ve Done:

1. When I got my tats last year to keep the skin moisturized & healthy, I used a product called Udderly Smooth® Extra Care 20 , Urea penetrates and hydrates extra dry skin by holding onto water moisturization and giving skin the replenishment it needs. After applying the moisturizer to my shoulder & upper arm, I always had extra on my hands. So twice a day I was applying the extra to my abdomen. This resulted in an increase in firmness as the skin appeared to retract on my stomach. I started having fewer infections at the folds of skin.

I receive no compensation for my endorsement of this product.

2. In the last month, I have started taking the supplement shown below. It contains Verisol Bioactive Collagen Peptides, phytoceramides, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and biotin. Scientific research has shown that these incredible ingredients help maintain healthy hair, skin, and nails, and significantly improves skin hydration, elasticity, and smoothness by reducing wrinkles and promoting healthy collagen production.

For best results, the recommended dosage for adults is 2 tablets 2 times daily. That would make the 120tabley supply for 30 days. Being on a limited budget, I take one tablet twice a day.

I have recently started to notice that it seems to be helping. The skin across my adbomen seems to be tightening up. The skin on my arms, my “bat wings” seem to be less noticeable and wobble less.

I receive no compensation for my endorsement of this product.

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Cosmetic Procedures

While medical or surgical treatments can help improve loose skin, they are more invasive options for tighten loose skin after major weight loss.

Body Contouring Surgery

People who have lost a significant amount of weight via bariatric surgery or other weight loss methods often request surgery to remove excess skin.

In body-contouring surgery, a surgeon makes a large incision and removes excess skin and fat. They then suture the incision with fine stitches to minimize scarring. These surgeries usually require a hospital stay followed by recovery time at home.

Specific body-contouring surgeries include:

  • abdominoplasty (tummy tuck): removal of skin from the abdomen
  • lower-body lift: removal of skin from the belly, buttocks, hips, and thighs
  • upper-body lift: removal of skin from the breasts and back
  • medial thigh lift: removal of skin from the inner and outer thighs
  • brachioplasty (arm lift): removal of skin from the upper arms

Multiple surgeries are usually performed on different body parts over the span of 1 to 2 years after major weight loss.

Body-contouring surgery may improve quality of life after significant weight loss. However, if complications arrise, some quality of life scores decreased in people who had the procedure.

Alternative Medical Procedures

Although body-contouring surgery is by far the most common procedure to remove loose skin, less invasive options with a lower risk of complications include:

  • Radiofrequency treatment. Such treatments may use a combination of infrared light, radiofrequency, and massage to reduce loose skin. While this treatment doesn’t induce weight loss, it may help reduce small areas of fat cells.
  • Ultrasound. A controlled study of ultrasound treatment in people who had bariatric surgery found no objective improvement in loose skin. However, people did report relief of pain and other symptoms following treatment.

It appears that although there are fewer risks with these alternative procedures, the results may not be as dramatic as with body-contouring surgery.

Prevention

There are a few ways you can prevent loose skin.

  1. If you smoke, quit. Make your home a smoke-free zone, so you’re not exposed to it. Consult your healthcare professional about quitting.
  2. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 15 to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, even if it’s cloudy outside. Apply 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours.
  3. Moisture. Using the firming creams above will help elasticity anfer pregnancy and as you are loosing weight. You don’t need to wait until you get loose skin to help prevent it.

My Endo

March 25, 2022

My Endometriosis diagnosis journey is probably a little different than most. Partly because my symptoms are/were atypical, and partly because my Gyn didn’t believe me.

When my menstrual cycle started in Junior High, I was like every other girl. It started sporadically with varying frequency, duration and heaviness (for lack of a better word). But it stayed that way for months. My friends settled into the appropriate 28 day cycle with 3-5 of moderate bleeding. Then there’s the cramping factor. Some of them got mild to moderate cramps, but most didn’t get much at all while I would doubt over in pain. A friend of mine specifically remembers instances of that, but I only remember crawling up in a ball after I got to the nurse’s office.

By the time I was 15 & had been dealing with it for 2+ years, my GP finally agreed to put me on the birth control pill to help regulate my menstrual cycle and to ease the heaviness and the cramping. And it did, to a point.. My cycle became regular yet was still heavier & longer than my friends. But it was something I could live with.

And I did live with it, occasionally trying other birth control pills over the years. I lived with it for the remainder of high school, another three years, then all through college, another 3½ years.. Even when I had seemingly unrelated issues, I lived with it.

By the time I graduated, moved out & got my first job, I was having ongoing & consistent issues, but not necessarily tied to my cycle anymore.

Because of my earlier issues with my cycle & that it initially eased with BCP, he referred me to a Gynaecologist

So, he sent me to see a Gyn and she does a bunch of blood work, physical exam & even did a pap smear. All came back negative except for my Iron levels were low. Give the amount of menstrual bleeding, it wasn’t surprising..

Because my symptoms were atypical, not directly connected to my menstrual cycle and I was having issues with evacuation, she figured it wasn’t endometriosis and recommended that I see a gastroenterologist.

So off to the gastroenterologist I go.. I got the lovely experience of a colonoscopy resulting in a basic diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. From there we began moderating food and supplements, tracking triggers and even after we found out the culprits I was still having severe abdominal pain that was no longer connected to in moderated bowel issues..

Back to the Gynaecologist I go. She was still convinced I did not have Endo. She finally agreed to a lap basically to shut me up. Guess what she found!

Unfortunately, she did not have the long enough tools to reach everything to remove it all.. So, that meant I had a full laparotomy to remove the rest 6 months later.

So, that was my journey to diagnosis

Lilly’s Surgery

May 8, 2021

Two weeks ago Lily acquired a sore on her face which quickly turned big, red and eventually bloody. The initial thought was possibly an allergic reaction to a bug bite or an infection due to a mild injury that got dirty. The third option was an abscess in her jaw.

This is when it was inflamed, before it got bloody

At first before it turned bloody, we though of the insect bit & I have her, on the advice or a vet, an antihistamine which did take the swelling down a bit.

Then I woke the next day to a bloody mess. The swelling was a collection of blood – a hematoma. So, she went into the vet at the next available appointment. The vet determined it was an infection, but was unsure of the cause. It could have been a cut that just got infected or, it could be an abscess in her tooth.

Between the potential of the abscess, the quality of her teeth, and the smell of her breath it was decided that she needed to get her teeth done. So Thursday she was put under anesthesia and her teeth were cleaned. Several teeth were also removed either due to abscess (the little back molar cause the hematoma), potential abscesses or they are going to shortly fall out on their own. ,

When she got home, I had to go over to my sister’s, so she cuddled up in Grandma’s lap under a blanket & everything . A Very calm and mellow dog, which is not Lilly. As the anesthesia was wearing off she got hungry and jumped down and ate the small bit of food I left upstairs for her. I had told mom that because of the anesthesia her balance would probably be off until not let her go down the stairs cuz she might fall. Despite these instructions, Lilly snuck down stairs & Ste the food that I’d left her down here.

They shaved he nose a bit to do a wound check.

She is recovering well.. not back 100% to normal, but close.. 🙂

My Atypical Endometriosis

March 12, 2021

When I was first referred to a gynecologist in the Spring of 1998 for abdominal pain that she was certain that it was not endometriosis. She referred me back to my GP with recommendation of a referral to a gastroenterologist as she believed the issue was more through my digestive system then my gynecological system.

I saw the gastroenterologist, had my colonoscopy and did confirm that yes I did have IBS & was referred back to the gynaecologist in March of 1999

Symptoms of Endometriosis: Heavy Menstrual Cycle, Severe Pelvic Pain, Fatigue and Long Irregular Menstrual Cycles

She was still very hesitant on the idea that I have endometriosis as my symptoms were ‘atypical’ . For me my symptoms included

  • Pelvic Pain. Yes, but all month long, not just during my cycle
  • Heavy & irregular cycles but controlled with birth control pills
  • Lack of reaction to Depo-Provera
  • Bowel pain all month long, not just during my cycle
  • Both diarrhea & constipation which could easily just be IBS.

Symptoms I don’t have:

  • Cycle dependant pain
  • Pain during or following sex
  • Heavy & irregular cycles because they were controlled with the birth control pill.
  • No consistent IBS flaring during Menstrual cycle
  • No family history (that we knew of) of endometriosis
  • Severe & regular migraines during Menstrual cycle
  • No bloating
  • No breakthrough bleeding between cycles because cycle were controlled with birth control pills
  • High sex drive as most women with Endometriosis have a below average sex drive

So while I had some symptoms, they weren’t a standard or typical case.After 3 months of pushing her to do an exploratory laparoscope which she eventually did. I think she agreed to do it more to shut me up than believing I had endo.

And low & behold! Endometriosis stage 2 I believe. Since she went in believing she would not find endometriosis, she did not have sufficient tools to access & remove all the endometrial tissues. But I had my diagnosis.

So, if you know you have Endometriosis and your doctor does not, push the issue. Worse case it’s negative. Or if you are like me, you prove your doctor wrong.