If you are unsure about anything relating to your procedure call us. Our team is here to help. Some common questions are shown below.
What symptoms are common after surgery?
- Fatigue: For the first two weeks after your operation you are likely to feel tired and although we would encourage you to walk daily, don’t overdo things. Even when your wounds look healed on the outside, they are still healing inside
- Diarrhoea: Some people develop quite severe diarrhoea in the first few weeks after surgery. This can be due to changes in your medications, the change to a liquid diet or an increase in your milk consumption. Make sure that you drink even more fluid to replace what you are losing. If the diarrhoea is particularly troublesome get your GP to check that you do not have ‘overflow diarrhoea’ or an infection. The sleeve is unlikely to be the direct cause
- Constipation: More commonly, your bowel frequency will be much less than before surgery because you are now taking much smaller quantities and there is very little fibre in your liquid diet. If you suspect that you are constipated, follow this advice:
- Make sure you are drinking at least 1.5 litres of fluid per day
- Include 1-2 cups of diluted fruit / vegetable juice per day or try syrup of figs or prune juice as a gentle bowel stimulant
- Make sure that you are active and not sitting or lying around too much
- If it is still a problem, take a non-bulk forming laxative such as lactulose (Duphulac), or Senokot Syrup.
What should I do if I am regurgitating food / vomiting?
Occasional vomiting after gastric sleeve surgery is not uncommon but you should check the following:
| Are you? |
| Solution |
| Taking large mouthfuls? ||Take small mouthfuls. Try eating with a teaspoon/3 pronged fork. |
|Eating quickly (short lunchtime or |
rushing to meet someone)?
|Slow down your eating. Take at least 20 minutes for each meal. Use your timer. |
|Having too large a volume at a |
meal time (the extra mouthful)?
|Serve up a smaller quantity. No more than 6 tablespoons for a full meal. Use a 7 inch side plate or small bowl. |
| Gulping air while eating? |
| Slow down your eating. Use your timer. |
| Taking drinks with your meal? |
|Drink plenty up to 15 minutes before your meals but wait at least an hour after your meal before drinking again |
|Not chewing your food well enough, sometimes after introducing new foods? ||Chew your food slowly at least 20 times before swallowing for a few days. |
|Eating food that is fibrous or stringy |
eg whole spring onions, pineapple, asparagus or chicken drumstick?
|Cut these types of foods across the grain or fibre into small pieces before eating and chew well. |
Will I only be able to eat tiny amounts for the rest of my life? Will I be able to eat regular food?
At the beginning you will likely only eat approximately two to four tablespoons of food. You will gradually advance your diet and by around eight weeks you should be eating "regular" food. Your capacity will increase over the first six to nine months of surgery. The stomach and small intestine learn how to work together over a period of months. Many patients notice a dramatic increase in the amount of food they can handle comfortably. This is normal in most cases. This is the time when the good habits developed in the first few months will support further weight loss.
How do I get my protein in when I can eat such little amounts?
Following your surgery, it is important for healing, as well as to aid weight loss that you consume an adequate amount of protein. Since you are limited in your food intake, it is recommended that you follow a diet which is low in fat and sugar, and high in protein. The foods outlined in the nutrition section above are an excellent guide and you can supplement your protein intake if you wish, by using Weight to Go high protein shakes and porridge. Maintaining a high protein intake not only increases the sense of satiety (fullness) but also helps to preserve lean (muscle) mass.
Do I have to take vitamin and mineral supplements for the rest of my life?
Yes. Because gastric sleeve limits absorption of calories, it can also limit the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals. This is why daily vitamin and mineral supplementation is essential to your long-term health following gastric sleeve. If you are unsure about what is required refer to your surgery pack or feel free to call our team.
What about blood tests? Will I lose all my hair? How do I keep it from falling out?
To ensure that you are maintaining the necessary levels of essential vitamins and minerals, you will need to have regular blood tests for the rest of your life. In the Healthier Weight package, your first blood checks will be carried out at 6 and 18 months, then followed up by GP annually. Depending on the results, the doctor will then be able to advise you on future testing frequency.
Around 20% of patients may experience hair loss after a gastric sleeve. The reason has to do with weight loss and not surgery. Anyone who experiences a rapid, sustained weight loss may experience some temporary hair loss as well. This usually occurs between the fourth and the eighth month after surgery. It is almost always temporary. You can help by maintaining a high protein diet, keeping well hydrated and taking your daily vitamin supplement (which contains lots of zinc). You may also find kelp (a seaweed extract available from health food shops) helpful. Almost all patients will experience natural hair re-growth after the initial period of loss.
Can I get pregnant after weight loss surgery?
When a woman of child-bearing age undergoes gastric sleeve surgery, one of the first things she will hear from the nay-sayers is that after surgery she cannot have a healthy pregnancy because of presumed nutritional deficiencies. The contrary is true. Morbid obesity results in a high rate of complicated pregnancies and a high rate of miscarriage. Women who become pregnant after achieving weight loss with a gastric sleeve generally have lower risk pregnancies than morbidly obese women.
So if you are a woman of child-bearing age and in otherwise good health, you should be able to have a baby after this surgery - but not right away. It is strongly recommended that women wait at least one year after the surgery before a pregnancy. Approximately one year post-operatively, your body will be fairly stable (from a weight and nutrition standpoint) and you should be able to carry a normally nourished foetus. You should consult your weight-loss specialist as you plan for pregnancy.
Can I still take all my medications after the sleeve?
Most medication can be taken normally after a gastric sleeve. Occasionally if the tablets are large, it may be easier to break or crush them or find liquid substitutes. Not all pills can be crushed (e.g. slow-release) and some are unpalatable in a crushed form. Speak to your doctor about which of your medications can be taken in liquid form and which can be crushed.
Are there any medications that I must avoid altogether? When can I shower or bathe? We advise that you keep the wounds as dry as possible and avoid showering for 10-days, please also be careful when bathing. This is because if the wounds get wet, there is a significantly increased risk of developing a wound infection. When you start to shower or bathe, gently pat the wounds dry with a clean towel and avoid rubbing. However, if you have had glue applied to your wounds it is quite safe to shower immediately after your surgery. How long will it take for the wounds to heal? Usually your wounds will be healed in about two weeks following the procedure. However, some heal faster than others so please don’t be alarmed if yours take a few days longer. Is it normal for the wound to itch? Yes. This is a normal accompaniment to wound healing and is probably due to new skin and nerve endings growing into the area. However, it may also be due to a skin reaction to the dressings used to cover the wounds. If it becomes a problem, please contact your Bariatric Nurse for advice. How do I know if the wound is infected? If a wound becomes tender, looks inflamed, red or swollen, or if it weeps offensive smelling liquid, pus or blood, you should speak to your Bariatric Nurse. However, redness on its own is not necessarily a sign of infection. What about antibiotics? If your wound does become infected, it will be necessary for you to take a course of antibiotics. We recommend Augmentin for which you will need a prescription from your GP. Healthier Weight do not have the facility to issue prescriptions.
Some medications are not to be used because they may cause ulcers or inflammation in your stomach. You should permanently avoid using any type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs also known as “NSAIDs”, which include pain relievers such as aspirin, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, Sulindac, Celecoxib, Diflunisal, Naproxen, Piroxicam etc. If you are unsure, ask the Healthier Weight Centre for advice.