Is bariatric surgery usually a success? Most real patients believe so. They report minor discomfort and achieve their weight loss goals, often loss of 100 lbs or more within two years. That comes with some risk, some effort, and some cost, though.
Bariatric Surgery Post Surgery Complications
First, the bad news: post-surgery complications. Around 10-20% experience symptoms like nausea and vomiting or Bariatric Dumping Syndrome. Those are considered minor by physicians and patients.
Bariatric dumping occurs when the lower section of the small intestine fills up too rapidly, leading to diarrhea. Cramps and light-headedness are common side effects. It’s rarely serious, though it’s certainly uncomfortable and can be scary. Monitoring carbohydrate intake and sugary liquids drastically reduces the chances of BDS.
Vomiting after Bariatric Surgery
Vomiting may happen when patients consume excess food. Since the procedure reduces the available space for containing it, it’s easy to overeat. However, the surgery also reduces the urge to eat too much. Still, with some patients, old habits die hard and it’s possible to over indulge or eat too much by mistake.
Consuming excess liquid is another possible cause. Typically, at least until after the first month or so, patients are advised to drink only an hour or more after eating, never both together. During the first month bariatric patients follow an exclusively liquid diet for the first two weeks or more. Following the recommended dietary and behavioral guidelines from your nutritionist and physician minimizes your odds of trouble to near zero.
Bariatric Surgery – Dealing with Constipation
Constipation is also far from unknown, but easily treated. A small amount of mineral oil may help. Avoiding high-fiber foods is essential. Your nutritionist provides a detailed post-op diet to follow. Avoid laxatives unless specifically recommended by your doctor.
About 50% of gastric bypass surgery patients form gallstones. Roughly 15-25% need to have the gallbladder removed as treatment in those cases. Many foods and liquids carry very different odds of encouraging (or discouraging) the creation of gallstones. Here again, you can reduce the odds by strict adherence to a carefully designed diet.
The presence of gallstones is often signalled by moderate to severe pain in the gastrointestinal tract. Blood in the stool should be investigated immediately. Seek medical attention right away. Most gallstone episodes present minor health risks ó even when they’re painful. A proper diagnosis and rapid treatment are best. In many cases it’s just simple indigestion, but bariatric patients need more careful monitoring. Better an extra visit and a false alarm than to do nothing about a serious problem.
Apart from some occasional unpleasant complications ó the odds of which vary quite a bit from patient to patient and from one procedure to the next ó there are expected changes to diet. Adjusting to new eating and drinking habits are an inherent part of the whole bariatric process.
Rapid weight loss inevitably brings changes in self-perception and how others see you. That’s often desired, sometimes less than ideal. Monitoring your mood and a heightening attention to how you interact with others is another key to a successful outcome.
Now for the very good news: you will lose weight, a lot of it and fast. You’ll enjoy better self-esteem from increased mobility and feeling more attractive. You’ll feel better overall since you don’t have all that excess weight to carry around. Your joints get less stress, decreasing to normal. The odds of diabetes lower drastically and some forms you already have may disappear entirely. You’ll feel more healthy, because you are.