Gastric sleeve surgery is a weight-loss surgical procedure where 80% of the stomach is excised, leaving only a small portion of the stomach intact. The surgery is irreversible as the portion of your stomach that was removed cannot be re-attached, replaced, or will grow back after the surgery.
What happens to my stomach after gastric sleeve surgery?
Your stomach will not grow back into its original size. However, what may happen is that the remaining portion of your stomach may stretch or expand, just like a balloon.
With a smaller stomach size and capacity, patients who undergo gastric sleeve surgery are expected to feel fuller easily even while eating less food. This is expected to lead to weight loss over time as the stomach capacity can only take in about half a cup of food at a time. After gastric sleeve surgery, the stomach capacity is reduced to 4 ounces or an equivalent of 100 grams per meal.
Also, because of the stomach’s smaller capacity, the nerves lining your stomach will signal to your brain that you are already full and that your hunger has been satisfied.
However, there is nothing to stop you in case you feel like eating more than what is necessary. When you do that, your stomach will stretch. If you only do it occasionally, such as during special holidays, that’s usually fine. But if you do it every day, your stomach will stretch more. And doing this will affect your body’s fullness gauge, making you gain weight all over again.
How do I prevent my stomach from stretching?
Here are some things you should do so that your stomach doesn’t stretch.
- Notice the amount of food you are eating. Don’t just notice sweets. Even if you eat healthful foods, if the amount is large, it will also be risky for your weight.
- Do not drink and eat at the same time if you can help it. Drink only an hour before eating to reduce stomach stretching.
- If you feel hungry a lot, eat small meals throughout the whole day so you won’t be tempted to binge eat that will make your stomach expand.
Other major concerns after gastric sleeve surgery
Aside from your stomach stretching after gastric sleeve surgery, there may be physical symptoms, medical concerns, and mental challenges that you may experience as a result of the procedure. Let’s take a look at each one.
Because of the changes in your stomach, people who undergo gastric sleeve surgery may notice an increased frequency of indigestion or upset stomach. This may be due not just to the reduced size of your stomach, but also to how the food moves and passes through your stomach.
Another common experience of people who have had gastric sleeve surgery is nausea. It could be because food stays in your stomach longer. Thankfully, you will experience this symptom less frequently over time. But you would do well to have some nausea medication on hand to relieve the discomfort, in case any occurs.
Experiencing diarrhea is also a common occurrence after surgery. Changes in your stomach size and environment may be conducive for micro-organisms to thrive in your stomach. This in turn may lead to diarrhea.
If your diarrhea persists, consult with your doctor as it may lead to dehydration and other physical symptoms.
One of the results of weight loss surgery is excess skin. The excess skin is due to the additional weight in our body. This can be remedied through cosmetic surgery to remove the excess skin.
If the excess skin bothers you, it is best to wait a year or two before having the surgery, when your weight has stabilized and your eating habits have adapted to the reduced stomach capacity. Having the surgery too early might mean you’ll miss out on removing some excess skin.
You may experience more frequent episodes of acid reflux and feel bloated after having the surgery. This is normal and is not a cause for concern as the symptoms of acid reflux can be addressed with medicines or non-medical coping strategies.
Your stomach may find it hard to digest certain types of food. It is advisable that you avoid these types of food that may block your stomach. It will also help if you can train yourself to chew your food well to make sure that it has more of a liquid consistency that will easily pass through your stomach.
For individuals who medically need weight loss surgery, the problem is not just limited to the physical symptoms. They may be obese because of psychological concerns. Unhealthy food intake, both in quality and quantity, can be a manifestation of an addiction that needs to be addressed not just with surgery but also with mental health interventions.
Weight loss and a change of diet and unhealthy eating habits may lead to a displacement of addictive behavior from food to other habits or substances. It is important that there is an awareness of this concern as weight loss should lead to a holistic improvement in the quality of physical and mental health.
Taking care of your stomach and your body after surgery
Instead of worrying about your stomach stretching, we recommend instead that you make the following lifestyle changes and support your steps towards permanent weight loss.
- As mentioned above, train yourself to eat smaller portions of food throughout the day. It is also recommended that you take a glass of water before a meal so that your stomach is already on its way to feeling full even if you have not eaten anything yet.
- You also need to incorporate as much healthy food as you can into your diet. That means that you do not give in to that craving that easily, especially if you are reaching for a soda or a snack that is high in calories, sugar, and fat.
For gastric sleeve concerns, contact The Weight Loss Surgery Center Of Los Angeles.
If you are someone who is considering or coming in for weight loss surgery, being informed is one of the best ways that you can prepare for that life-changing step that you are taking.
Know the facts regarding gastric sleeve surgery. After all, it will affect your body – especially your stomach – your eating habits, and your lifestyle after surgery. It is best to always be informed and to stay informed to help us make the right decisions regarding our physical and mental health.
If you need the right information on gastric sleeve surgery and the effects it will have on your body, we at Davtyan Medical and Weight Loss and Wellness can be your partner in getting the right information you need.
And if you want to schedule your procedure, rest assured that we will be with you every step of the way, from the consultation to years down the road after your surgery. Our detailed, consistent follow-up is guaranteed to be the best.
Contact us, and let our friendly, caring, and knowledgeable staff provide you with the information and support that you need.
We look forward to hearing from you.