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Patient education: Care after weight loss surgery (The Basics)

Patient education: Care after weight loss surgery (The Basics)

Will I need to change the way I eat after weight loss surgery? — Yes. After your surgery, you can only drink liquids for the first week or so. You can then slowly start to eat pureed or solid foods. Work with a dietitian (food expert) to learn how your diet should change. If you eat the wrong things, you could hurt your chances of losing weight or you might make yourself sick.

For example, if you have gastric bypass and eat sugary foods after surgery, you could have a problem called "dumping syndrome." Dumping syndrome makes you feel sick to your stomach and lightheaded. It also makes you shake, sweat, and turn red and feel hot (especially on your face), and can cause diarrhea.

To avoid these problems and improve your chances of losing weight, you should:

Drink plenty of fluid. This will help you avoid dehydration, which is when the body loses too much water.

Eat slowly and chew your food well

Stop eating when you feel full. You will feel full much sooner than before the surgery because your stomach is so much smaller.

Eat healthy foods that are high in protein and low in fat and calories

Avoid drinking and eating at the same time. Wait 30 minutes after you finish eating to drink water or other beverages.

Avoid sugary foods

Avoid liquid foods that are high in calories, such as ice cream

You might find that you dislike foods that you used to like, such as meat. You might also find that you like foods that you used to dislike, such as fruits and vegetables.

Will I need to take vitamin and mineral supplements? — Yes. You will need to take special multivitamins with minerals. That's because weight loss surgery can make it hard for your body to get all the nutrients it needs. You must keep taking the vitamins for the rest of your life. Your body will always need them to stay healthy.

How often will I need to see my doctor? — You should see your doctor a few weeks after surgery to check on your recovery, then every 3 months for the first year. After 1 year, you can switch to yearly visits. Your doctor or nurse will check your weight and blood pressure and make sure you do not have any problems caused by the surgery. They might want to see you more often if you have a problem or have not lost weight as expected.

You will also need blood tests to check that your body is getting all the nutrients you need to stay healthy.

Will my health problems get better after weight loss surgery? — Many people who have weight loss surgery find that certain health problems get better or go away after they lose weight. These include:

Diabetes

High blood pressure

High cholesterol

Sleep apnea, a disorder that causes you to stop breathing for short amounts of time while you sleep

Because these conditions often improve, you might be able to take less or stop taking medicines for these problems. But be sure to check with your doctor before changing how you take any of your medicines.

What health problems can happen after weight loss surgery? — Problems that can happen soon after the surgery include:

Bleeding

Infection

A blood clot in a vein, which can be dangerous if it travels to your lungs

A blockage or leak in the intestines

Other problems that can happen later after surgery include:

Gallstones – These are small, sometimes painful stones that form inside the gallbladder, a small organ under the liver.

Acid reflux, especially after a type of surgery called "sleeve gastrectomy"

A blockage in the intestines (called an "obstruction")

Internal bleeding – This can happen if a sore forms when the stomach and intestine are reconnected during gastric bypass surgery.

Hernias where cuts were made in the skin – A hernia usually looks like a lump or bulge.

Gaining back some of the weight you have lost

How will I feel after I have weight loss surgery? — After losing large amounts of weight, you might feel more confident, successful, and able to talk about your feelings. But you might also feel sad or depressed. This can happen if you used to eat large amounts of food for comfort and can no longer do so.

Because your eating habits are different, you might feel awkward at business or social events that focus on food. You might find that your relationships with family, friends, and coworkers change if they treat you differently as a thinner person.

If you are struggling, ask your doctor to recommend a counselor, such as a social worker or therapist, or a support group. Talking to someone can help you cope with the changes after weight loss surgery.

What if I want to get pregnant? — For people who are very overweight, losing weight can make it easier to get pregnant. But you should not try to get pregnant for at least a year after weight loss surgery. Your doctor might suggest waiting even longer, up to 2 years. To prevent pregnancy, you should use a method other than birth control pills. That's because birth control pills might not work as well as usual in people who have had weight loss surgery.

More on this topic

Patient education: Weight loss surgery (The Basics)
Patient education: Diet after weight loss surgery (The Basics)
Patient education: Dumping syndrome (The Basics)

Patient education: Weight loss surgery and procedures (Beyond the Basics)

This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Jun 02, 2024.
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