One of the main reasons that gastric sleeve surgery is the most recommended surgery in Mexico and in the United States for obese patients is because it requires the fewest long-term lifestyle changes. Although supplementation is necessary, there are fewer dietary restrictions, fewer complications, and easier recovery than other types of bariatric surgery.
Diet and exercise are important. But while there are fewer significant lifestyle changes after gastric sleeve surgery, there are some little things that you’ll want to get used to and prepared for throughout the process. The following are some of the lesser-known issues that you’ll want to be ready for during your weight loss and recovery.
1. Some Food Sensitivity
One of the main advantages of gastric sleeves is that there are essentially no food restrictions (foods that you are not able to eat). But gastric sleeve does have a strong effect on the stomach, which means you may have some new food sensitivities: foods that give you a bit of an upset stomach.
Milk, in particular, is a commonly reported food sensitivity after gastric sleeve surgery. Some individuals may find that consuming milk or dairy products leads to digestive issues such as bloating, gas, or even diarrhea. While the underlying cause of milk sensitivity in this context is not fully understood, it is recommended that post-surgery patients introduce foods back into their diet gradually and in small doses.
By gradually reintroducing foods, patients can observe their body’s response and identify any potential sensitivities. This approach allows them to navigate their dietary choices effectively and make informed decisions about which foods to include or avoid in their post-surgery lifestyle.
It’s important to emphasize that individual experiences with food sensitivities may vary after gastric sleeve surgery. While milk sensitivity is relatively common, not everyone will develop the same sensitivities, and some individuals may not experience any at all. As each person’s body and digestive system adapt uniquely to the surgery, it is crucial to listen to your body’s cues, work closely with your healthcare team, and follow their guidance to ensure a successful and comfortable recovery.
2. Acid Reflux
There are many different causes of acid reflux, but one of the most common is an overly full stomach. With a gastric sleeve, about 75% of the stomach is removed. This makes it very easy to quickly fill your stomach, which often puts you at risk for acid reflux. Your doctor may recommend a long-term medication to prevent acid reflux, like Prilosec.
Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a condition characterized by the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus, causing discomfort and irritation. Weight loss surgery, including procedures like gastric sleeve, can have a positive impact on acid reflux for many individuals. The reduction in stomach size and changes in the digestive system’s anatomy resulting from weight loss surgery can alleviate symptoms of acid reflux in some patients. By reducing the volume of the stomach and limiting the amount of acid produced, weight loss surgery can help improve acid reflux symptoms and enhance the overall quality of life for individuals suffering from this condition. However, it’s important to note that each person’s experience with acid reflux and its response to weight loss surgery may vary, and it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance.
3. Regular Walking
Starting your exercise right away is important. But you won’t be physically ready to do any heavy lifting or jogging. You should expect to be frequently walking. Walking is beneficial for two reasons.
First, it helps avoid complications as it improves blood flow, prevents blood clots, and otherwise helps with the healing process. Second, walking is shockingly effective for weight loss. You burn a significant number of calories when you walk a few hours a day, making it an effective way to kick-start your weight loss efforts.
4. Loose Stool/Constipation
After undergoing gastric sleeve surgery, it is important to recognize that each patient’s recovery and post-operative experience can vary. While some individuals may have a smooth and relatively straightforward healing process, others may encounter specific challenges and reactions. Understanding and being prepared for potential gastrointestinal changes can greatly contribute to managing expectations and ensuring a smoother recovery.
One common gastrointestinal change that some patients may experience after gastric sleeve surgery is a shift in bowel movements. It is not uncommon for individuals to notice alterations in stool consistency and frequency. Some patients may find themselves dealing with loose stools, experiencing a sense of urgency to empty their bowels more frequently than before. On the other hand, others may experience constipation, where bowel movements become infrequent or difficult.
Experiencing loose stools can be attributed to several factors, including changes in diet, reduced stomach capacity, and the body’s adjustment to the surgery. The smaller stomach pouch created during the gastric sleeve procedure may affect digestion and the absorption of nutrients, leading to changes in stool consistency. Conversely, constipation can occur due to factors such as dehydration, reduced fiber intake, or pain medication use following the surgery.
5. Soda is Extremely Problematic
Your total caloric intake will be limited to only about 800 calories a day, and it is strongly recommended that you do not “drink” those calories by consuming high-caloric beverages like fruit juices, sweetened coffee, etc. But it is of particular importance to avoid soda, beer, and even carbonated water. The stomach is so much smaller than the carbonation and can quickly cause discomfort.
There is also another complication that may also be considered “significant” but affects every type of bariatric surgery procedure. Your body was not built for this level of rapid weight loss. You may find that the more weight you lose, the more you seem to develop excess skin that can make it harder to enjoy your weight loss success. That is why you should also be prepared for this – there are procedures, like body lifts, that can help you regain a body that is more in line with your weight loss expectations.
Preparing for Gastric Sleeve
For both patients and surgeons, the gastric sleeve provides the best combination of weight loss and safety, with roughly the same success rate as other bariatric surgery procedures, but with the fewest long-term discomforts and complications. But before you get the surgery, it is still a good idea to read up on what to expect and prepare for the road ahead. This will improve not only the success rate but your satisfaction as well.
By familiarizing yourself with gastric sleeve surgery, you can gain insights into the pre-operative preparations, the surgical procedure itself, and the post-operative care required. Understanding the step-by-step process allows you to mentally and emotionally prepare for the challenges and adjustments that lie ahead. It also helps you align your expectations with the reality of the procedure, ensuring that you have realistic goals and a clear understanding of the potential outcomes.
Moreover, educating yourself about the dietary and lifestyle changes that accompany gastric sleeve surgery is crucial for long-term success. While the procedure can greatly assist in weight loss, it is important to recognize that it is not a quick fix but rather a tool that requires commitment and active participation from the individual. Learning about the recommended dietary modifications, portion control techniques, and regular exercise routines will empower you to make informed choices and establish healthy habits for sustained weight loss.
Are you somebody who is considering weight loss surgery? Feel free to contact Mexico Bariatric Center by submitting your information or give a call at 855-768-7247.