Common Questions after Bariatric Surgery
After surgery, there are a number of common questions and concerns that come up with patients. Southern Nevada Bariatrics has compiled a list of the most common ones. Should you experience any of these and do not see them getting better as you heal, please contact the office to discuss so that we can help you.
After surgery many people experience hiccoughs. They are common but they can be annoying so be sure that you are eating small portions and be careful when beverages are too hot or too cold as this may trigger them. The most common reasons are drinking carbonated beverages since they create gas, drinking too much alcohol, eating too fast and even stress and excitement.
Hair loss is very common in the first few months for anyone who has had surgery, but it is especially true for bariatric patients due to the lack of vitamins and minerals. Remember you are eating less and your body is not able to absorb all that you need with the small portions you are eating. Dr. Ahmed encourages you to follow the dietary supplementation requirements for your surgery type and get your lab work done regularly to make sure deficiencies can be addressed to keep you healthy.
Even though we don’t like to discuss this, it is important to know that it is normal to get air in your digestive tract. When you eat or drink some, air is swallowed, which can cause gas. Be sure to eat slowly with your mouth closed, don’t gulp or drink beverages with a straw and abstain from carbonated beverages to minimize gas. You can also document what foods are causing you discomfort and gas and take them off of your list for a while.
After you have a bariatric surgery, diarrhea can occur. It is usually within the first week or two after surgery but if it persists or you are not feeling well because of it, please contact the clinic to discuss.
There are a number of reasons why patients experience heartburn. One reason is based on the surgery you had. For instance, if you had the gastric band it might be too tight. Other reasons are related to the food you are eating so write down the foods that bother you and avoid them and re-introduce later to see how your body responds. Avoid overeating, chew your food and abstain from spicy, acidic foods. Do not lie down after eating and Dr. Ahmed suggests that you not eat at all within a few hours of going to bed.
Alcohol should be avoided for at least 3 months after surgery. A little goes a long way as it goes into your system much quicker and can remain for quite a while. Alcohol also has calories so even though it is a liquid, it is not calorie free. Do not drink and drive.
After bariatric surgery, you cannot get the same amount of vitamins and minerals through your diet alone due to the small portions you are eating. It is so important to follow the vitamin and mineral supplementation instructions given to you by the dietitian. Nutritional deficiencies can occur and that is another reason we have you draw labs at 6 months and annually for the rest of your life, to ensure that your body remains healthy.
Dining Out After Surgery
It’s really not too difficult and a number of patients have shared some great ideas that can help take the stress out of what can be a great time. You can order from the healthy section plates or chose a meal that you know you can split and eat later. Immediately split your plate and put it in a to-go box first. Chose your meal around your protein and substitute white starches for fresh vegetables. Get all sauces, gravies, and dressings on the side. Eat slowly and enjoy the social experience with friends and family. You can actually be more engaged in conversation with those around you. Take your time and be sure to sit back and place your fork on your plate between bites. People will be impressed by your self-control. It’s amazing how fast we eat and don’t even enjoy our food. With a few easy changes, you will enjoy your time dining out.
That Hungry Feeling
Bariatric surgery is a tool to help you control hunger and portions so that it limits the amount of calories you are consuming. Don’t eat to be full, but rather eat to be healthy! We are conditioned to eat until we feel full, but this will be uncomfortable after bariatric surgery, so eat with portion control in mind.
Even with regular anatomy, we all can experience some constipation but there are different levels of constipation ranging from occasionally to chronic. Hard and dry stools can be painful to pass. Remember too that your diet has changed considerably so you may need to add fiber supplement. Exercise and drinking the recommended amount of water each day will also help to keep you regular.
After bariatric surgery, your stomach is much smaller so it is important to be mindful of what you eat. Dumping syndrome is generally caused by food and fluid consumption, especially foods that contain a high amount of sugar. If you experience this after eating a particular food, make a mental note to take that food off your list, although we think you will do that anyway as the experience itself is very uncomfortable. Each person is different, but dumping syndrome side effects include nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, weakness, sweating, immediate fatigue and just in general not feeling well.
Stay focused, journal your experience and follow the instructions you received from the Southern Nevada Bariatrics team. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the clinic so we can help you stay on track.