All bariatric surgery patients must:
- Stay on vitamins and minerals
- Abstain from smoking or any other tobacco or nicotine products
- Seek medical attention if you are not able to drink and keep down at least 32 ounces of fluid per day
All Gastric Bypass patients must avoid NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium). If you take them, you should not take them for more than two days within two weeks. One aspirin daily, if recommended by a physician for cardiovascular risk, is OK.
Avoiding Hypoglycemia (Low blood sugar)
After someone has had any gastric surgery, including sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass and switch, they can have problems with hypoglycemia. Symptoms include any or all of the following:
- Extreme sleepiness
- Light headedness
- Sweating/cold sweats
- Pale skin
- Heart racing
Hypoglycemia in a gastric surgery patient is very different than for someone who has not had gastric surgery because it can happen from too much sugar or carbohydrates, fatty foods or too many calories at one time. This is part of what we call “dumping syndrome.” It can also happen if someone goes too long, usually eight hours or more, without consuming any calories at all.
The best way to avoid hypoglycemia is to have frequent low-carbohydrate meals. This does not mean it is good to snack all the time or “graze,” but it may mean having something five or six times per day. For example three meals and two or three small snacks.
Snack examples are:
- Nuts (not peanut butter)
- Beef jerky
- A small cheese snack like a Mini Babybel®
- A slice of deli meat
- A low-sugar protein bar or protein drink
- Fresh fruit or dried fruit without added sugar
Often people who are experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia or have low blood sugar on a finger-stick test are told to eat or drink a large amount of sugar to get the blood sugar up. This is not what you should do if you have had gastric surgery. It can actually make things worse. If you feel symptoms of hypoglycemia, eat or drink something that has protein and little or no carbohydrates, like the examples given above for preventing low blood sugar. If that does not work, symptoms are severe, or the blood sugar reading is very low, seek medical attention immediately by calling your physician or 911.
Drinking supplements, such as Ensure or Boost for protein is not recommended for patients who have undergone gastric surgery. They can make you very sick with low blood sugar and dumping syndrome. Protein supplements (shakes, bars, powders) should have no more than 5 grams of carbohydrate per serving.