Many patients struggle to lose weight through exercise and diet modifications alone. Bariatric surgery may provide these patients with the necessary tools to finally lose excess pounds and keep them off. Some people who are considering weight-loss surgery have questions about potential side effects after the procedure. Dr. Fernando Garcia and Dr. David Vazquez have the experience to perform a successful procedure while minimizing the chance of bariatric surgery side effects. Contact Tijuana Bariatics and their team of specialists to find out how a weight-loss procedure can transform your life.
Common Side Effects
Patients may experience some short-term side effects following their procedure. Fortunately, these conditions should improve over the first two to three weeks:
- Body aches – Most patients can manage aches with over-the-counter medications. However, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, should be avoided.
- Constipation – Although constipation affects many bariatric patients, the condition can be improved or altogether avoided by following certain guidelines. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, stay active once you have been cleared for physical activity, and eat plenty of fiber.
- Diarrhea and gas – Patients should be aware of which foods trigger bowel irritation. Identifying and avoiding foods that cause discomfort can help keep the digestive tract healthy.
- Nausea or vomiting – Part of a patient’s post-operative recovery will include paying attention to which foods cause an upset stomach. Patients are encouraged to take small bites and thoroughly chew food before swallowing.
- Weakness or fatigue – These side effects are common after nearly any surgery. Following a healthy diet and maintaining an exercise routine is a great way to improve energy levels and fight fatigue.
- Feeling cold – As you lose weight after your procedure, your metabolism will change. These changes can lead to fluctuations in body temperature, often making patients feel colder than they are used to.
- Dumping syndrome – Bariatric procedures alter your digestive tract, which results in food moving through the intestine much more quickly. Dumping syndrome results when the stomach empties rapidly after eating. Patients may feel weak, dizzy, nauseous, or have heart palpitations shortly after a meal. This condition can be avoided if patients follow good eating habits and post-operative instructions.
- Nutrition deficiencies – Some bariatric procedures rely on malabsorption to help the patient lose weight. This means that the absorption of calories from food is reduced, and that patients do not receive as many nutrients. Patients can maintain good health by eating a balanced diet, and taking vitamins and nutritional supplements.
Rare Side Effects
In rare instances, patients may experience:
- Gastritis - This condition involves the irritation or inflammation of stomach lining. Certain factors can increase a patient's risk of developing gastritis, including smoking, stress, and excessive alcohol consumption.
- Bowel obstructions - When a blockage in the digestive tract prevents food from passing through, it is called a bowel obstruction. After surgery, a band of tissue, which is known as an adhesion, may form in the abdomen. Most adhesions do not cause symptoms or problems, but in some cases, an adhesion can cause bowel obstruction. Patients should seek medical attention if they experience symptoms such as severe nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain.
- Blood clots - All surgeries carry the risk of blood clots. Smokers and individuals in poor health are at an elevated risk of clotting. To reduce your chances of developing blood clots, patients should begin walking after surgery as soon as they are strong enough. Your doctor may also prescribe blood thinners.