You will have some belly pain and may need pain medicine for the first week or so after a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. The cut that the doctor makes (incision) may be tender and sore. Because the surgery makes your stomach smaller, you will get full more quickly when you eat. Food also may empty into the small intestine too quickly and lead to dumping syndrome. This can cause diarrhea and make you feel faint, shaky and nauseated. It also can make it hard for your body to get enough nutrition.
Your doctor will give you specific instructions about what to eat after the surgery. For about the first month after surgery, your stomach can only handle small amounts of soft foods and liquids while you are healing. It is important to try to sip water throughout the day to avoid becoming dehydrated. You may notice that your bowel movements are not regular right after your surgery. This is common. Try to avoid constipation and straining with bowel movements.
Bit by bit, you will be able to add solid foods back into your diet. You must be careful to chew food well and to stop eating when you feel full. This can take some getting used to, because you will feel full after eating much less food than you are used to eating. If you do not chew your food well or do not stop eating soon enough, you may feel discomfort or nausea and may sometimes vomit. If you drink a lot of high-calorie liquid such as soda or fruit juice, you may not lose weight. If you continually overeat, the stomach may stretch. If your stomach stretches, you will not benefit from your surgery.
In a gastric bypass, the part of the intestine where many minerals and vitamins are most easily absorbed is bypassed. Because of this, you may have a deficiency in iron, calcium, magnesium or vitamins. This can lead to long-term problems, such as osteoporosis. To prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies, you may need to work with a dietitian to plan meals and you may need to take extra vitamin B12.
Depending on how the surgery was done (open or laparoscopic), you'll have to watch your activity during recovery. If you had open surgery, it is important to avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise while you are recovering so that your belly can heal. In this case, you will probably be able to return to work or your normal routine in 4 to 6 weeks. The surgery is most commonly done as a laparoscopic procedure, which means the recovery time is faster.
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