FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q: I have been nauseated and vomiting every time I eat for the past few days, what should I do?
A: Postoperative swelling and slow transient through the new stomach pouch is common after any bariatric procedure and may persist for several days after your surgery. We recommend converting some of your clear liquids into ice chips. The cooler fluids can help your swelling resolve quicker. If you have already advanced beyond a phase II diet (Full Liquids), make sure you are taking very small bites and chewing your food thoroughly. Going back to clear liquids for a few days may also help alleviate some of the swelling that occurs in the small stomach pouch. Remember to also sip your fluids slowly. Use the small medicine cups that were provided to you after surgery. If these measures are not successful, and you are still vomiting, please call the office, as this is not normal.
Q: I started having reflux and/or heartburn again after surgery. What should I do?
A: This can happen after surgery due to irritation or anatomical changes, especially if a hiatal hernia was repaired. This is usually a result of postoperative swelling and slow transient time through the new, swollen stomach pouch. It is important early on to sip fluids very slowly. Small medicine cups were provided the day of your surgery. We recommend slowly sipping 1 ounce (30 mL) over 10 minutes. If the reflux persists, we generally recommend an OTC medication such as Prilosec or Prevacid daily for the first 3 months. At your 3-month appointment, we will reevaluate your status and decide if you need to continue or discontinue the medication.
Q: I have abdominal pain. Should I be concerned?
A: Generally, the largest incision in the abdomen has a deep stitch that is used to close the abdominal wall defect. This stitch can cause pain or a “catch” up to a few weeks after surgery. Over time, this will improve. Ice or heat may help this postoperatively. Abdominal pain that is concerning gets worse over time, does not improve, is associated with a change in vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure and fever), and/or opening of the incisions or increase in drainage.
Q: It has been at least 5 days since I’ve had a bowel movement, is this normal? I do not feel like I need to go to the bathroom.
A: This can be normal, since you have been on a diet consisting of liquids and small amounts of solid food before and after surgery. If you feel the urge to go, but can’t or it hurts, this would be constipation. Taking a single dose (30 mL) of Milk of Magnesia may help.
Q: I have been having diarrhea since surgery, why?
A: Several loose or watery stools a day are normal in the first few postoperative weeks following surgery. Remember, liquids in = liquids out. What isn’t normal is explosive diarrhea, diarrhea so severe you feel dehydrated, blood in your stool or black, tarry diarrhea or stool. The key is hydration! If you are having diarrhea, your job is to drink lots of water, low sugar/low carbohydrate fluids or Gatorade and keep hydrated!
Q: Since surgery, why don’t I seem to tolerate milk or milk products?
A: Milk products contain a sugar called lactose. After surgery, the ability to tolerate sugars can be diminished. This can be temporary or permanent. There are several low carbohydrate and lactose free alternatives. Milk contains the most lactose and the amount of lactose varies in each dairy product. Do not immediately eliminate these from your diet, but if you notice gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas or diarrhea after eating diary, you may want to try eliminating some these products from your diet, at least for a short period of time.
Q: I have the urge to have a bowel movement but can’t, it hurts when I do have one. What can I do?
A: This means you are constipated. Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids and getting fiber in your diet. If this does not help, you can try 1 oz. of prune juice and 1 oz. of Milk of Magnesia to help with this. If the above items do not help, please call the office for further instructions.
Q: I feel nauseated all of the time, but I am not vomiting, what can I do?
A: Make sure you are getting in 64 oz. of fluid, as dehydration can lead to nausea. Drink peppermint or chamomile herbal tea. This can help to settle your stomach. If this does not help, please call the office for further instructions.
Q: Whenever I eat, my stomach feels unsettled, what can I do?
A: Drink warm fluids 30 minutes before you eat, this will relax your muscles and food won’t feel like it is hard on your stomach.
Q: There is pain in my shoulder, what should I do?
A: Typically this is from retained gas from your laparoscopic surgery. Deep breathing will help expel this absorbable gas. Use the incentive spirometer that you were given during your preoperative appointment. Also try a heating pad or walking around. If the pain does not improve after 2-3 days, please call our office.
If you have any of the following symptoms, please call our office immediately (281-921-1890), even if it is after hours, it will connect you to your surgeon’s cell phone.
- Heart rate over 100 beats per minute
- Breathing at a rate over 25 breaths per minute
- Fever of 101°F or flu-like e symptoms
- Bleeding from the incisions or any increase in its size
- Increased redness, swelling or purulent (pus-like) drainage from the surgical sites
- Increasing pain in or around the incisions
- Change in the color of the incisions
- A feeling something is not right or you are getting worse over time
Tips for Success!
- Walk at least 30 minutes a day 4-5 days a week for life
- Stay hydrated 64-128 ounces of water a day
- Take bariatric vitamins daily for life
- Maintain your follow-up appointments
- Weigh yourself once a week. Determine what your weight loss goal should be based on a healthy BMI. Set this as your target weight.
- Set a “reset weight” which is 5-7 pounds above your main target goal weight. If the number starts to climb on the scale, it’s time to refocus, get on track, and lose the extra weight.
- Schedule and keep appointments.