Navigating Gas, Bloating, & Bowel Habit Changes after WLS

Article By: Rachel Ignomirello, MS, RDN, CSOWM, LDN

Rachel Ignomirello is a Bariatric Dietitian and Board-Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management.

Embarking on your metabolic and bariatric surgery (MBS) journey is a step toward a healthier you. While the benefits are amazing, some less talked about side effects (like changes in bowel habits, gas, and bloating) can be a concern to patients. These conditions, while common, vary in intensity among individuals but are manageable with the right knowledge and strategies.

1) Understanding gas & digestive changes after MBS.

After MBS, the restructuring of your digestive system can significantly impact its functionality, leading to increased gas and bloating. This often results from either swallowing air or the body's reduced efficiency in breaking down certain carbohydrates (carbs). The carbs ferment in the gut, which produces gas. This is particularly noticeable after procedures like gastric bypass (RYGB) and biliopancreatic diversion with or without duodenal switch (BPD or BPD/DS). The surgical alterations lead to a change in the normal bacterial flora of the gut and the amount of food broken down and absorbed, contributing to gas production.

2) Diet & behavior modifications to alleviate symptoms.

Mind your sugars:

  • Avoid sugar alcohols. Common sugar alcohols include sorbitol, maltitol, xylitol, and erythritol, often found in sugar-free gums, candies, and certain low-calorie products. These can lead to gas and bloating due to incomplete absorption in the digestive tract.
  • Limit high-fructose foods. Foods high in fructose, such as apples, mangoes, pears, and watermelon, as well as high-fructose corn syrup found in many processed foods, can exacerbate gas and bloating.

Check for lactose intolerance:

  • Symptoms of lactose intolerance include gas, bloating, and diarrhea after consuming dairy products. Switching to lactose-free milk and dairy products or using lactase enzyme supplements, such as those offered by Lactaid, can help alleviate these symptoms.

Incorporate supplements:

  • Probiotic supplements contain beneficial bacteria that can enhance gut health and reduce symptoms of gas and bloating. BariMelts Probiotic is specifically designed to support the gut flora balance necessary for effective digestion post-MBS. For broader digestive support, BariMelts Gastro Zen® targets a range of digestive discomforts and can help curb heartburn symptoms.

Reduce air swallowing:

  • To minimize air intake, avoid using straws, chewing gum, and consuming carbonated beverages. Also, ensure you eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly to reduce the amount of air swallowed during meals.

Limit fats & soluble fiber:

  • After BPD/DS, the body's ability to digest and absorb fat and soluble fiber decreases. Limiting intake of high-fat foods and choosing easily digestible fibers can prevent excessive gas. Soluble fibers found in oats, beans, and some fruits may need to be moderated based on individual tolerance.

While gas and bloating can be an uncomfortable side effect of MBS, they are usually manageable with dietary adjustments, behavior modifications, and the right supplements. Remember, everybody is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. It's important to consult with your healthcare provider to tailor a plan that's right for you.

BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.