All bariatric patients are made aware of the side effects of weight loss surgery. The emphasis is usually on high risk side-effects and complications. And while post-operative flatulence won’t be added to the problem short list anytime soon, it is uncomfortable and embarrassing just the same. When compared to dumping syndrome, dehydration or kidney stones, intestinal gas is hardly a call to arms. Regardless of low-grade concern, gas relief after weight loss surgery is most welcomed by the patient.
Intestinal Gas after Weight Loss Surgery
A required change in diet is one of the main reasons for the post-operative flatulence experienced by weight loss surgery patients, says Dr. Walter Medlin a bariatric surgeon who himself underwent the gastric-sleeve surgery in 2008.
The excessive flatulence odor post-operatively is embarrassing to bariatric patients. Because so many have a history as targets for embarrassment they are often more sensitive when caught in awkward situations.
Weight loss surgery causes malabsorptive syndrome. Food and nutrients are not absorbed as well as they were before surgery. When undigested food makes its way to the colon, enzymes and gut bacteria may not adequately absorb it. A by-product of this problem is gas. Read, “Trust Your Gut, Bacteria and Weight Gain.”
Tips for Gas Relief After Weight Loss Surgery
Do not eat quickly. Food already gets to the colon quickly and eating too fast will only speed that up. The bacteria in the colon are better fueled to create excessive gas when you dump undigested food into their home, according to Dr. Medlin.
Avoiding trigger foods is great for gas relief. Alcohol and lactose can be bad, as well the non-digestible sugar sorbitol. Rice may be a good addition to your diet whereas it almost never causes gas.
Do not overeat. Overeating can cause dumping, the rapid movement of undigested foods from the stomach to the small intestine. Symptoms include abdominal cramps and nausea.
Home Remedies for Gas Relief
Simple solutions often get good results. If flatulence after weight loss surgery has become a problem, home remedies for gas relief are worth a try if your doctor is comfortable with it.
Ginger can soothe the digestive tract and help relieve gas, bloating and cramps. Ginger can be cut and added to hot water and honey or taken as a daily supplement. It also can be used when cooking or baking.
Peppermint tea calms the stomach and helps relieve gas pain. It is best to drink at night.
Warm lemon water in the morning can help to flush the digestive system and also help to rehydrate.
Additionally, it is worth noting that a resection or bypass of the small intestine usually leads to malabsorption and a loss of magnesium. Magnesium helps to move stools through the intestine and provide gas relief. It can be taken as a daily supplement.
Kasia J. Przechodzka, a clinical nutritionist, warns most supplement brands on the market aren’t medical-grade so they aren’t tested for purity and potency. Many contain a lot of fillers and fibers that can cause gastric distress. Kasia recommends brands Thorne Research and Designs for Health for magnesium and other supplements.
Farts are No Laughing Matter
While there is still a “pull my finger” silliness associated with flatulence, bloating and cramps are uncomfortable — and there is always the embarrassment factor. The subject of gas relief might invite a smirk or two, but for the weight loss surgery patient it is no laughing matter.
In good health,
Content is the opinion of the author and does not constitute or is a replacement for medical advice.
Photo by Ohmega1982 @ freedigitalphotos.net