After undergoing gastric sleeve surgery or any bariatric procedures, nausea and vomiting are possible side effects. Vomiting is exceptionally uncomfortable to cope with as you transition back to everyday life after sleeve gastrectomy. It will be nutritionally important to correct dehydration and electrolyte imbalances during this time with adequate hydration and sugar-free electrolyte drinks. To help you overcome this issue, we created 13 best practices and considerations to reduce nausea and vomiting after gastric sleeve.
Some triggers for nausea can be foods and beverages. Foods may have a different taste and smell which can lead to nausea but remember, oftentimes this is temporary. To add healthy favorites back in, allow time for the body to re-learn proper digestion. If the first time didn’t go well, allow another week or two to go by and try the food again. Typical food intolerances are red meats, untoasted bread, pasta, and general lactose intolerance. Common taste changes include meats tasting metallic and sweet foods or beverages tasting too sweet. Some people even feel that water tastes sweet after surgery.
What is Excessive Nausea?
The new healing pouch can be sensitive to any pressure built up from things coming down the esophagus. Excessive nausea symptoms can most often be eliminated by taking 1 ounce of fluid or less (or solid food when you get to that stage) at a time. Wait at least 1 minute before the next ounce of liquid (or solid). Make sure you understand phase one of the post op diet.
What Causes Nausea and Vomiting
Feelings of nausea after gastric sleeve surgery should disappear within two days of the operation. One of the leading causes of prolonged nausea and vomiting is not following the nutrition guidelines. Any problems with nausea or vomiting should prompt the following questions and necessitates changes to avoid further pain and discomfort:
- How long am I taking to eat and drink?
- Am I eating and/or drinking slowly enough?
- Did I drink fluids with my meal or too soon before or after the meal?
- Am I eating more than I should?
- Do I continue to eat after I feel satisfied?
- Am I chewing solid foods until they resemble a pureed consistency?
- Did I lie down too soon after my meal?
- Did I eat hard to digest foods such as tough meat or bread products?
- Did I eat foods from the next stage of the menu plan before being cleared by the physician to do so?
If you continuously vomit, do not eat solid foods. Instead, return to sugar-free, clear liquids (stage 1). If you’ve said “yes” to any of the questions above, either correct the pace, timing, or consistency of your meals. Repeated vomiting may cause stress to the new stomach and result in irritation or— even worse— rupture of the staple line. If vomiting persists throughout the day and you’ve answered “no” to all the above questions, and the vomiting is not improved by making changes to your diet, call our surgical liaison.
60-Second Trick to Stop Nausea and Vomiting Post-Operatively
Wait 60 seconds before the next ounce of fluid (or solid). Using this trick, often, a patient can get in 15 ounces of fluid in 15 mins. Do that five times a day or more, and you will meet your liquid goal. Liquids do not sit in the stomach as solids do; it is NOT recommended to drink (30 mins before or after) with solids as liquids can push foods into the intestine faster, resulting in unwanted nausea, bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
If you still experience excessive nausea even after trying the “60-second trick”, follow up with a local provider to ensure you do not become dehydrated. IV rehydration may be necessary.
Causes and Fixes to Reduce Nausea and Vomiting After Gastric Sleeve
1 – Dumping Syndrome
Dumping syndrome can happen while eating a meal or within five to ten minutes of finishing your meal. Early signs of dumping syndrome are abdominal fullness, abdominal cramping, and nausea. You may feel warm, dizzy, weak, or faint. You may also experience a rapid heartbeat and break out in a cold sweat. Often dumping syndrome is accompanied by diarrhea, but not always. Late signs of dumping syndrome are very much like having low blood sugar and can occur 1 to 3 hours after the original dumping episode. You may feel shaky, weak, or nauseous.
To prevent dumping syndrome, you will need to avoid eating too much simple sugar and/or too much fat at a meal. It would help if you also ate slowly. Each individual will likely tolerate a different amount of simple sugar and fat. For this reason, you will need to learn what your own limits are by paying attention to the nutrient content of your meal. Often staying below 5g total sugar/serving is safe for most individuals.
2 – Chewing Food
When consuming food, be sure to chew everything thoroughly. This way, it can help the brain process how full the stomach is, prevent food from getting stuck, and prevent overeating. The general rule for when food can be digested is a smoothie or pudding-like consistency.
3 – The Pace of Consuming Food
Most surgeons recommend 30 to an hour of mealtime for the pace of eating. An excellent way to implement this is to eat with baby hardware. This way, it slows down the eating speed and reminds them that they have to eat slow. Eating too quickly also increases the chance of vomiting.
4 – Overeating
Almost everyone after weight loss surgery experiences some sort of vomiting due to too much eating. Try portion sizing with Ramekin dishware or 4 oz Tupperware for meal prepping. You will have to readjust to what type of food you eat and how much to eat. You may also want to contact your doctor as they will provide a better understanding of your body.
5 – Lying Down Too Quickly After a Meal
After a meal, one should wait at least an hour or two before lying down. This is because lying down too quickly increases the chances of having heartburn, vomiting, and nausea.
6 – Food Intolerances
Each patient is different, and their digestion adapts at different rates. Foods that are tolerated well for one patient may not be the same for another; you will need to keep track of what foods are tolerated well for yourself. Remember, many intolerances are temporary and trialing small amounts can lead to successful reintroduction.
7 – Advancing Stages Too Quickly
Most people vomit and have nausea after gastric sleeve mainly because they want to consume solid food too quickly. If you consume solid food too soon after surgery, your stomach will have difficulty processing those foods, making one have nausea and vomiting.
Most nutritionists and doctors have a diet program for patients to follow post-surgery. This ensures patients will have tastier time-consuming food. The diet program usually starts out with having patients consuming liquid first, then soft smoothie-like food, and finally solid food.
8 – Taking Vitamins without Food (Chewable Vitamins vs. Liquid Vitamins)
For many patients, taking vitamins on an empty stomach leads to vomiting or nausea. Try instead to take your vitamins with food to prevent nausea and vomiting. Please contact your doctor and nutritionist if you need any guidance or help.
Generally, most patients can consume chewable vitamins without a problem; however, some people can’t consume chewable vitamins and resort to liquid ones.
9 – Drinking/Staying Hydrated
It is essential to stay hydrated and to avoid dehydration and drink 8 cups of water per day, but vomiting can occur if patients drink too quickly after a meal. Most doctors and nutritionists recommend waiting 30 minutes to an hour before consuming any fluid. This is because your body is still adapting to your new stomach, and since your stomach size has been reduced dramatically, you can’t just go back to your old drinking habits; you have to pace yourself and take everything slowly.
10 – Ginger
According to Healthline’s article, some people say ginger can reduce nausea, and some people disagree. Generally speaking, even research and studies have shown mixed results. Please contact your doctor and nutritionist before buying any additional supplements or medications, as everybody is different. Just because one person finds supplements helpful, it doesn’t guarantee it can help everyone.
11 – Ulcers
After gastric sleeve surgery, some people may develop ulcers, and it can cause vomiting and nausea. Usually, smoking is the main chance of increasing the risk of ulcers. Quit smoking if you can.
12 – Stricture
After weight loss surgery, the connection between the stomach and small intestine will eventually heal. However, there is a chance scar tissue can form due to the new relationship the surgeon created between the stomach and small intestine. Check out our guide on reducing scars.
13 – Post-Surgery
Whenever somebody finishes surgery, it is common for them to have nausea. This is due to your body trying to adapt to its newer version of itself, therefore experiencing side effects. Here at Mexico Bariatric Center®, we have created a detailed guide and what to eat post-surgery to ensure you are on track to losing weight.
If I suffer from acute vomiting after surgery, can I have a slippage of the band or damage my sleeve gastrectomy or RNY?
Vomiting after bariatric surgery can actually be dangerous. That is why is so essential that if you are still vomiting before leaving Tijuana, notify your surgeon so that maybe they can send you home with medication to treat this before your sickness becomes intolerable.
What if I suffer from nausea or vomiting after arriving home?
Depending on whether you are vomiting or not, you may need to visit your regular doctor at home to get a prescription for anti-nausea medication. Keep a close eye on this and obtain the help of your doctor there if needed.
We hope that these tips and tricks can help you reduce vomiting and nausea after gastric sleeve surgery. Please keep in mind these are just a few pointers, and if you do experience any mild pain or uncommon symptoms, please contact your doctor immediately.