Unexpected Side Effects After Weight Loss Surgery

With any surgery, there are side effects. Weight loss surgery is no different. There are side effects that happen after bariatric surgery that we are warned about prior to having the procedure. However, there are plenty of side effects that come as a surprise to many patients. This can be confusing and sometimes frustrating when you aren’t expecting these side effects. It is important to be aware of these additional side effects that can occur. Let’s explore 4 of those now!

Bad breath

This is a side effect that is very unexpected. It is more common in Gastric Bypass patients, but it can occur with anyone who has had weight loss surgery. The most common reasons for bad breath include being in ketosis, dehydration, and stasis of food in the stomach pouch. This can cause insecurities for weight loss surgery patients, but the good news is it can be handled. The best thing to do is to keep breath mints on you and realize that it won’t last forever. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration and follow the guidelines that your surgeon sets to ensure stasis of food in the stomach doesn’t happen.

Change in taste, smell and tolerance of food

This side effect is strange, but it does occur with many patients.  This can be especially true with sweet foods. Bariatric patients that used to love sweets prior to the surgery might now be so sensitive to sweets that even protein drinks are too strong for them. Food aversions appear quickly after surgery but lessen the further out the person is. High-fat foods also seem to cause people issues after surgery, which can be a positive since we should be avoiding these foods anyway. Don’t be surprised if foods that were once pleasurable now cause you to squirm with disgust!

Always cold

Make sure you always have a jacket with you because this side effect is no joke. Patients report always feeling cold after bariatric surgery and there is actually a reason behind it. This occurs due to the loss of insulation and less energy generation after weight loss surgery. Like most side effects, it does get better over time and calms down after your weight stabilizes more.  

Loud stomach

This is probably the most annoying of all the unexpected side effects. Having a loud stomach can be extremely embarrassing. I remember I used to say my throat talked right after I had gastric sleeve. Right after surgery, it was the worst because of all the gas buildup. The way our body digests food is different now that we have had weight loss surgery. The restriction from the sleeve causes food to pass through differently and in a much smaller space. However, know that the noises you hear mean that your body is doing its job. It does get better over time and it is something you will eventually get used to. Just make jokes with your friends any time you have a loud tummy! 

These side effects are just a few examples of some of the strange things that happen after weight loss surgery. Your life post-op will be different and it is important to be prepared for the changes that will come after bariatric surgery. Be patient and trust in the process! I would do this surgery over and over again even with these strange side effects, so don’t let them scare you. 

What strange side effects have you experienced?

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