Water is the most important element to consume for a human being, especially after gastric sleeve surgery. Drinking water and staying hydrated let us eliminate toxins and waste in our bodies. Dehydration after gastric sleeve surgery is common because:
- The stomach is drastically reduced by up to 85% of its original capacity (size)
- Bariatric weight loss patients need to wait at least 30 minutes to drink after each meal
When you feel thirsty, your body is already suffering from fluid loss. With a gastric sleeve, patients may not feel thirsty, resulting in a lack of water intake. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of post-bariatric hospitalization. Make sure you get a bariatric-approved 64 oz. water bottle like this to keep track of your water intake every day.
In this article, we will lay out the signs and symptoms of dehydration as well as how to stay hydrated.
How Important Is Staying Hydrated After Gastric Sleeve?
A whopping 70% of the human body is water. We lose water as we breathe, sweat, and pass urine or stool. Every part of our body needs water to function and thrive. When our body is dehydrated, we tend not to function as well and major side effects come as a result.
The most common symptom of dehydration after gastric sleeve surgery is thirst, but here is a list of other, less noticeable signs and symptoms. 
How Much Water Should You Drink After Gastric Sleeve?
After gastric sleeve surgery, drinking a minimum fluid intake of at least 64 ounces of water daily is extremely important. You can either drink water, sugar-free/diet beverages (i.e. Crystal Light), or drinks with no more than 5 calories / 8 ounces.
You can also calculate the amount of fluid you need by dividing your weight by two, with the result being the number of ounces of water intake needed. For example, someone who weighs 180 pounds needs 90 ounces of fluid per day (180/2=90).
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration After Gastric Sleeve
Pay attention to signs of dehydration such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, lethargy, and concentrated (dark) urine. Other tell-tale symptoms include;
- Thirst for liquid
- Decrease in urine output
- Dry skin
Preventing Dehydration After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
It is highly recommended by both surgeons and our nutritionist to drink a minimum of 48 ounces of water each day, with a goal of 32-96 ounces (2 to 3 quarts) of liquids per day to prevent dehydration. The standard size of bottled water is 16.9 ounces, equating to requiring just under 4 bottles of water to prevent dehydration.
If you keep getting dehydrated after gastric sleeve, here are tips;
- Sip Sip Sip! That is what we always tell gastric sleeve patients. Continuously sipping small amounts of water throughout the day.
- Sport drink bottles with measurements on the side will help ensure you are drinking enough liquid. Remember, you will not be able to gulp liquids so you will want to drink small amounts throughout the day.
- Drinking beverages and sugar-free liquids that contain electrolytes, like Gatorade Zero or Vitamin Water.
- Eating sugar-free popsicles
- Receiving IV fluids (may be necessary if dehydration is severe)
Add lemon, lime, orange, or cucumber to give your water some flavor without adding many calories.
How to Avoid Dehydration After Gastric Sleeve
Avoid drinks that are high in caffeine, alcohol, and carbonate.
- Caffeine is acidic, and it can irritate the lining of your stomach pouch or sleeve. These include energy drinks. Learn about drinking coffee after gastric sleeve surgery.
- An enzyme for digesting alcohol after gastric sleeve is greatly reduced, making alcohol consumption bad for the body.
- Avoid all carbonated beverages (fills the stomach with gas), sugar (extra calories that fight
against weight loss), and coffee (it is acidic and may have problems with acid reflux after
surgery. It is also a diuretic, causing you to be dehydrated).
- Risks of dehydration can also be increased by diabetes, sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Making an effort to drink water and other fluids to slow fluid loss is essential to prevent dehydration in adults after sleeve gastrectomy, RNY gastric bypass, or any bariatric weight loss surgery in general. Water is also essential to maintaining good nutrition.