A NEW pill containing a weight-loss BALLOON is now available in the UK.

The single-dose treatment could help "potentially millions" of obese people shed 2st in 16 weeks, expert's claim.

Swallowed with a glass of water, it swells in the stomach so people feel full without eating as much.

The balloon pops after four months and passes out painlessly through the body.

Discussing the new treatment on Good Morning Britain, Dr Hilary Jones said: "This is a quite a good alternative for people who really struggle with diet and exercise but don't want surgery."

Demonstrating how the balloon works, the GP showed hosts Susanna Reid and Ben Shepard, the capsule a person would have to swallow, with a tube attached.

Shocked Susanna gasped at it's size, telling viewers "it's huge".

Dr Hilary explained the balloon is then inflated with more than half a litre of water, via the tube before it's disconnected.

He added: "Once it's in the stomach it reduces capacity and helps you stay feeling full and suppresses the appetite."

Until now gastric balloons have needed to be put in place by doctors using a camera, placed down a patient's throat.

But the Elipse balloon removes the need for the uncomfortable procedure.

It's available on the NHS to patients with a BMI of more than 40 – anything over 30 is considered clinically obese.

The treatment is designed to "kick-start" the weight-loss process, experts say, and should be used alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle changes, like taking more exercise.

Italian researcher Dr Roberta Ienca said patients found the pill — called the Elipse Balloon — "incredible".

She told the European Congress on Obesity, held in the summer in Porto, Portugal: "It appears to be safe and effective. It doesn't require surgery or anaesthesia.

"This may make it suitable for a larger population of patients not responding to diet and lifestyle treatment."

Her team in Rome tested 42 people, whose weight averaged 17st 5lbs.

They lost around 2st 6lbs if they also ate healthily over the period.

Unlike a gastric band, the Elipse pill does not require risky surgery.

And at £2,206 to £3,485, it costs about half the price.

It can be taken under the supervision of a medic, nutritionist or dietician in a process that lasts just 15 minutes. The pill has a tiny tube attached to it.

Once it hits the stomach, the balloon is filled with a pint of water and the tube detached.

Experts at the conference said the pill could be used to fight the spiralling obesity crisis.

Being too heavy raises risks of type 2 diabetes, heart and liver disease and 13 types of cancer.

Professor Jason Halford, from the University of Liverpool, said: "Potentially millions could benefit. It is cost-effective. If the studies are there, it should be considered."

Dr Simon Cork, of Imperial College London, added: "A device which doesn't require surgery is a positive step forward."

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