If you are considering undergoing bariatric surgery, it is important to remember that your body will go through some significant changes. You will need to take the right combination of vitamins and minerals to help maintain optimal health. After having bariatric surgery, it is very common for patients to experience iron deficiency anemia. If you have a procedure, make sure to ask your surgeon “do I need an iron supplement?”
There are times when bariatric patients already have an iron deficiency because of their existing diet. Because of this, their already low iron levels are exacerbated because they will be eating less than the body is used to. Low iron levels get even lower, affecting their energy levels and other aspects of their health.
To help prevent this, an increase of iron (and other vitamins and minerals) is needed before the surgery to get the body in the right state. You will need to take iron supplements for bariatric surgery after the procedure daily to ensure your body is getting what it needs.
Iron deficiency anemia can lead to several side effects, including being tired, shortness of breath, headaches, and even heart palpitations. However, getting too much iron in your diet can lead to issues as well, especially in the digestive tract. It’s important to listen to your health care provider to find the right amount of iron for you.
In some cases, you may need to take Miralax as well. One of the possible side effects of bariatric surgery is constipation in the days or weeks after the procedure. As liquids are absorbed by the body faster, there’s less lubrication in the digestive tract. Some forms of iron supplements may contribute to this as well.
Why does iron deficiency happen after weight loss surgery?
After bariatric surgery, your body goes through some pretty big changes. Depending on the type of surgery you have, you may even have a portion of your stomach removed. Because of these drastic changes to your body, foods that are rich in iron like meats, legumes, and other grains (which you will be eliminating after surgery) simply won’t be absorbed into your body. This can lead to iron deficiency.
How do you know if you have an iron deficiency?
Iron plays a key role in the health of your hair, nails, and skin. It also helps your body create hemoglobin, which helps red blood cells carry oxygen through your body. If you are iron deficient, you may experience a wide range of symptoms including hair loss, lack of energy, rapid heartbeat, weakness, brittle nails, pale or yellow skin, and more.
To determine if you are lacking in iron, your doctor will order a blood test to check your iron levels. This will show if you have anemia and they will tell you how many milligrams (mg) of iron you need to treat iron deficiency and what types of iron supplements you need.
Do I need an iron supplement for bariatric surgery?
After bariatric surgery, it is very important to take the right combination of multivitamins and iron supplements. Your medical team will talk to you about what dosage is appropriate and which iron supplements are best digested for your recovering digestive system, as some iron types are more easily absorbed after gastric surgery.
It is very important that you regularly monitor your iron levels after surgery. Even patients who have had weight loss surgery years ago can develop iron deficiency easily, so be sure you not only take supplements but add healthy foods into your diet like fish, leafy greens, and poultry.
Iron supplements: just one part of WeightWise bariatric procedures
Whether you’re getting a gastric bypass or another type of weight loss surgery, make sure you understand why iron supplements, along with vitamins and other nutrients, are so important. They will help regulate your body as it gets used to less food intake and replace the nutrients that are lost because of an altered diet.
In addition to the surgery, you will also need to follow a strict diet in the following months or even years to get to your desired weight goals. Increased and constant physical activity rounds out the WeightWise bariatric surgery program. You will receive help from the doctors, dietitians, and exercise physiologists to help you keep on track with your newer, healthier lifestyle.
Do you have questions about iron deficiency and how you can avoid it after bariatric surgery? Our team at WeightWise can help get your “do I need an iron supplement” questions answered so you can ensure your body gets what it needs. Contact us today to learn more.