How Does Gastric Sleeve Surgery Affect Your Digestion?
Gastric sleeve surgery is one of the more popular weight loss procedures today. Beyond it’s effectiveness, many choose it due to the lower rate of post-operative problems.
As part of the process, the stomach is reduced in size by 50% to 85%. That’ll have an effect on your digestion. Since the work is permanent, we wanted to educate you on exactly how your digestion is altered.
What happens during the procedure?
Gastric sleeve doesn’t involve any sort of “rerouting” of your digestion system, nor does it make use of any ingestible or implantable devices. It just lessens the capacity your stomach can hold—from 3 pounds to about 10-15 ounces—allowing you to feel full on less food.
Afterwards, your chewing or swallowing will not be affected, just how much you need to eat in order to feel full.
Changes to the diet
Following surgery, you will need to alter your diet in order to protect your digestive system, as your body is still recuperating from the procedure.
To make sure your body’s digestive system takes effect quickly, you’ll need to monitor your diet for foods containing carbohydrates, fats, and sugars.
A few other tips are as follows:
- Don’t eat too much too fast. One of the most important things is to chew heavily in order to send smaller pieces into your stomach. If that doesn’t happen after the surgery, you will experience more pain and intolerance of dense proteins. This can also lead to a condition called frothing.
- Avoid foods high in starchy carbs, sugars, and saturated fats. Due to the smaller stomach size and the anatomical changes to how the pyloric muscle functions, these foods can leave the stomach pouch quickly and ‘dump’ into the small intestine. This can lead to something called gastric dumping.
- Avoid carbonated beverages forever. When your stomach size is reduced, it may be difficult to consume carbonated beverages. What happens is the carbonation reacts with digestive enzymes and causes gas (this can also happen with foods like beans). Carbonated beverages will lead to larger portion sizes and stretching of the pouch long term.
- Eat properly to use your surgery. A smaller stomach is not license to snack/graze on foods throughout the day. The goal is to use your new pouch effectively to control hunger and stay satisfied from one meal to the next. Work closely with your dietitian at WeightWise to develop an individual plan for your meals and fluids.
The importance of exercise
The following days after the procedure may require you to ease back into regular life. We don’t recommend anything strenuous; however, it’s important to get active and exercising as soon as you can (while not putting yourself at risk for injury).
After gastric sleeve surgery, it can take around two years for digestive changes to take full effect. In that time, though, you’ll be amazed by the changes you see, both internally and externally.
You can read more about gastric sleeve surgery here.
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