Staving Off Nausea and Vomiting after Weight Loss Surgery - dummies

Staving Off Nausea and Vomiting after Weight Loss Surgery

By Brian K. Davidson, Sarah Krieger

Common complaints after bariatric surgery are nausea and vomiting. If you feel pressure or fullness in the center of your abdomen, stop eating! Nausea and vomiting may occur during the first few months after surgery as you get used to your new pouch.

If you experience nausea and vomiting, chances are you have done one (or more) of the following:

  • Not chewed your food well enough. Chew each bite of food 25 to 30 times until it has a puréed consistency.
  • Eaten too quickly. Put your fork down between bites. Don’t be rushed by others. Take 20 to 30 minutes to eat a meal.
  • Eaten too much at one time. Measure all foods. Take pencil-eraser-size bites. Stop when you are physically satisfied — not full.
  • Eaten a food that’s hard to digest. Avoid fibrous foods such as celery, popcorn, and tough meats.
  • Eaten a food you don’t tolerate well. Introduce new foods one at a time so if you don’t feel well after, you know which food you didn’t tolerate.
  • Consumed fluids with a meal. Do not eat and drink at the same time! Stop drinking about five to ten minutes before you eat to make sure the pouch is empty and wait about 30 minutes after you eat to begin drinking again. If your pouch is full of fluids, you won’t be able to eat. Drinking too soon after a meal overfills the pouch and may make you nauseated.

Vomiting is more than simply a nuisance and discomfort. Unresolved vomiting can lead to complications such as:

  • Obstruction of the opening to your pouch due to swelling of the lining of the stomach
  • Development of a hernia (an abnormal opening in the abdominal wall that allows the contents of the abdomen to protrude through) at the incision site
  • Dehydration, which can result in symptoms such as fatigue and headache, or more serious consequences such as decreased kidney function and electrolyte imbalances
  • Breakdown or tearing apart of the staple line in the stomach or incision
  • Nutritional deficiencies that can cause other health problems

If you experience nausea and vomiting, stop eating until it passes. If you have any question about whether your symptoms are normal, or you cannot keep water down, consult your surgeon immediately.