After Bariatric Surgery: The First Six Weeks
After surgery for weight loss, your body needs time to adjust. Once you're ready, you will be given nutrition and activity programs. Follow these programs as directed. The success of the surgery depends on the choices you make.
At first, you may have stomach or bowel cramping, shoulder pain, or nausea. Tell your doctor if pain or nausea is severe or doesn't improve with time. Take pain medications as prescribed for 1-2 weeks. To ease back into your daily life, you may be given guidelines like those listed below:
You may shower within 48 hours.
You may return to driving once you no longer need pain medications. This is often 3 weeks after surgery.
You may resume sex in 3 weeks.
You may return to work in 4 weeks, or as instructed.
Avoid lifting anything over 10 pounds for 6 weeks.
Becoming More Active
Activity helps you lose weight after surgery. Start easy, but try to be a little more active each day. You might try walking. Other options include chair aerobics or using a stationary bike.
Working with Your Healthcare Team
Your healthcare team members can help you adjust to changes after surgery. Here's how:
Your team oversees follow-up care after surgery. Keep all your appointments, and ask any questions you have.
Your dietitian sets up your new nutrition plan. He or she can help you plan meals you'll enjoy.
Your psychiatrist or psychologist or other mental health professional can help you adjust to change. It may help to talk to someone about your body or other issues.
Call Your Doctor if You Have:
A fever over 101°F or chills
A red, bleeding, or draining incision
Frequent or persistent vomiting
Increased pain at an incision
Pain in your legs or chest
Eating During Healing
After surgery, a special diet will help your stomach heal. At first, you will just drink low-sugar liquids. You might have tea or broth, for instance. As you feel better, you'll eat low-fat pureed or semisolid food, such as applesauce. When your system is ready, you'll eat a range of foods in small amounts.
Certain problems may occur after surgery, depending on the type of surgery you have. These problems can include:
Malnutrition. Your body may not be able to absorb all the vitamins it needs. Symptoms include fatigue, swollen ankles, or excessive hair loss. Take vitamin supplements as prescribed, for life, to help prevent this.
Dehydration. A smaller stomach means liquids must be consumed in smaller amounts. Not getting enough liquids can lead to dehydration. Symptoms include feeling "dried out" or having dark urine. Ask your healthcare team for guidelines on getting enough liquids.
Dumping Syndrome. This can occur after procedures that bypass part of the small intestine. After eating high-sugar foods, you may have weakness, cramps, nausea, diarrhea, sweats, or fainting. Avoid foods that cause these symptoms.
Lactose Intolerance. You may lose the ability to digest lactose (a sugar found in dairy products). Symptoms include cramps, bloating, and diarrhea. Avoid dairy foods (such as milk and cheese) if this happens.