For those who’ve gone through it, weight loss surgery feels like the culmination of a long journey. Starting with the unsuccessful attempts to lose and keep off extra weight and followed by the completion of the rigorous requirements for becoming a candidate for the procedure. It can feel like the light at the end of the tunnel. And sure – for people who’ve spent a lifetimes struggling with their weight, undergoing a serious procedure is a major step towards a healthier life. But the journey doesn’t end at the surgeon’s table. Life after weight loss surgery can be fraught with obstacles.
Here are some of the possible side effects of bariatric surgery:
Nausea and vomiting
This may occur when you take bites that are too large, eat too quickly, eat too much at once, don’t chew thoroughly enough, or eat foods that are too dry or tough. It’s important to pay attention to your diet and fluid intake. Call your doctor immediately if the vomiting is persistent or accompanied by abdominal pain.
Following surgery, it’s important to drink two liters of liquid a day to stave of dehydration and the nausea and vomiting it can bring.
Foods that are dry, sticky, gummy, or stringy seem to be the hardest for bariatric patients. Tough meats, bread, pasta, rice, and some vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli can also cause stomach discomfort or vomiting. Sensitivity to alcohol will also be an issue, so it’s important to monitor your consumption.
This is something that occurs when stomach contents rapidly “dump” into the small intestine, causing nausea, weakness, sweating, faintness, tiredness, diarrhea, rapid heart rate and stomach cramping. This usually happens because of eating very sugary or greasy foods.
Changed bowel habits
Smaller, less frequent bowel movements and constipation can occur following bariatric surgery. Increase your fluid, fruit, and vegetable intake.
Temporary hair thinning
Hair loss occurs in about half of female patients, usually between two and 10 months following surgery. Eating enough protein and taking a multivitamin may help.
Because obesity often makes conception difficult, the rapid weight loss after surgery can very rapidly increase a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant. However, the nutritional deficiencies and continuing weight loss are very bad for a fetus, so it’s important to take birth control measures for the first 12 to 18 months after surgery.
The rapid weight loss can make a patient more susceptible to the cold due to changes in metabolism and the loss of insulating fat.
Rapid and extreme weight loss can leave a patient with significant excess skin around the thighs, abdomen, breasts, and upper arms. This may be something you want to correct through plastic surgery, but you should weight at least a year to two years until you reach a weight loss plateau and are in an exercise routine.
Have you undergone bariatric surgery? Share your experience with us below.