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FAQs: 4. Life After Surgery
 
Please note - this is NOT medical advice. Below are questions typically asked by people considering weight loss surgery, followed by some comments from our surgeons. These comments are for educational purposes only. For medical advice, be sure to consult a bariatric specialist in person regarding your unique situation.

If you can't find the answers you need here, just ask us.
 
How long will I feel weak and tired?
What can I eat?
What can I take for a cold?
What can I take for gas?
What can I take for nausea?
What is dumping syndrome?
What is this thick sputum I spit-up sometimes?
When can I drive?
When can I eat meat?
Why am I burping so much?
Why have I stopped losing weight?
Why I am losing so much hair?
 
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How long will I feel weak and tired?
This will vary from person to person. After the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, patients report feeling much more like themselves after 3 months. Your body is working very hard to burn the fat stores you have on board and you are trying to adjust to an entirely new way of eating and fluid intake. It takes time for your body to adjust.

Most of the Lap Band patients feel like themselves after approximately 2 weeks since this surgery is much less invasive. You are still adjusting to a new way of eating and taking in fluids so be patient.
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What can I eat?
Your main source of food will be protein since we want you to maintain your muscle mass and burn the fat. You will have a detailed nutrition plan to follow in your 3-ring binder after surgery. This is discussed in detail with one of our dieticians pre-operatively. Eventually, you will be able to eat most foods in much smaller quantities. The goal is to always eat your protein first and keep the foods low in fat and sugar.
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What can I take for a cold?
You can take over the counter cough and cold medicines but you will want to read the ingredients. If you had the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, you need to watch out for any added sugar or alcohol in the cough medicine since this can cause dumping syndrome. It is wise to try a half dose first to make sure you can tolerate it. Also, make sure you are taking a Tylenol-based product and not Advil or Ibuprofen based. These products increase your risk of ulcers. If you take Sudafed, check with your family doctor first if you have high blood pressure or a history of heart problems.
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What can I take for gas?
Gas is very common initially after surgery. Some Roux-en-Y gastric bypass patients complain of strong odors with their gas, as they get further out from their surgery date. The exact cause of this is unknown other than it is probably due to the malabsorption associated with the surgery. You can try some Devrom, which will help decrease the odor, but not the amount of gas. You can order this by calling 1-800-453-8898 or going to www.parthenoninc.com.
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What can I take for nausea?
Nausea is a complex problem involving receptors from the stomach and the brain as well as emotional mediators. People who get motion sickness or women who had significant “morning sickness” seem to get post-operative nausea more often. Eating too fast, not chewing enough, or taking too big a bite may cause nausea. You may need to puree your foods for awhile (baby food consistency) until you learn how to chew, chew, chew your foods.

If you experience nausea, avoid your vitamins for awhile, as well as anything else that may “aggravate your condition”. If it goes on for long enough, we may recommend medication, but we prefer not to use medications since some may produce ill effects. The nausea usually resolves itself once you learn how to eat with your new pouch.
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What is dumping syndrome?
Dumping syndrome can occur after gastric bypass surgery and is caused by the intake of simple carbohydrates such as sugar, or some starches. It is not dangerous, but is characterized by a fast heart rate, queasiness and nausea, along with occasional vomiting and diarrhea. The patient usually feels weak and must lie down for 30-60 minutes.
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What is this thick sputum I spit-up sometimes?
Patients may experience something more common than nausea following the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure. Known as “frothing and foaming,” this spit-up is the white frothy liquid caused when the new pouch no longer contains stomach acids to break down your foods. This thick mucus mixes with the food to move it through your new pouch and into the rest of your digestive tract. Try drinking warm fluids first thing in the morning, throughout the day, or when you have found the spitting up is the worst. This helps to break this mucus down. It is self-limiting and will get better as your body adjusts to the new digestive system.
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When can I drive?
You need to feel safe, comfortable, and not be taking any pain medication that may impair your ability to drive. This is usually anywhere from 1-2 weeks for most people. Check with your surgeon.
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When can I eat meat?
Meat is an excellent source of protein however everyone tolerates meat differently. Lap Band patients need to stay away from meat sources initially until the band has healed in place. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass patients start eating meats within the first 2-3 weeks after surgery. Protein is the most important part of the post-operative nutrition plan for both surgeries. The nutrition portion of the 3-ring binder that you receive prior to surgery will walk you through this process.
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Why am I burping so much?
Your stomach is much smaller after surgery so you don’t have as big a reservoir for the air you breathe on a daily basis. Since you swallow air when eating, breathing, drinking, talking and initially after surgery, your body needs to adjust. Burping is one way your body gets rid of excess air or gas from your stomach. This is self-limiting and will get better as you adjust to your new digestive system. Stay away from straws and carbonation since these can increase the amount of air in the pouch.
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Why have I stopped losing weight?
There are many factors that can contribute to your weight-loss success. Are you following the nutrition plan? Are you getting in 64 ounces of non-caloric fluids everyday? Are you exercising? Are you doing strength training or weight lifting?

Your body will reach plateaus throughout the weight loss process, this is normal. You may be losing inches even though the numbers on the scale haven’t moved. Take pictures of yourself every 3 months and compare them when you get frustrated during these times.

If you are a Lap Band patient, it may mean that it is time for an adjustment. You would need to call the office to set this up.

Your body will reach a point where the weight loss does indeed stop. You then begin the process of maintaining your weight. The time frame for this is generally 18 months after the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure but varies with each individual. We work with all of our patients on an individual level throughout their weight loss journey.
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Why I am losing so much hair?
During any rapid weight loss period, your body draws on its own protein sources for energy. Your hair is a protein source and your body will use some this protein for nutrition. Most people go through a period where their hair thins. This is not going to last forever, it will grow back! This is why it is so important to eat high protein foods as your main source of energy.
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