Nausea and Vomiting
In some cases, you may experience nausea or vomiting after surgery. These are not complications you should expect to have to live with after gastric banding surgery, so you should be aware of possible causes and contact your surgeon if the problems arise. Vomiting can be especially dangerous if it’s not resolved quickly.
Some people may experience nausea immediately after surgery because of anesthesia or pain medications. In these instances, you may request anti-nausea medication from your medical staff or try replacing your prescription pain medications with liquid Tylenol. Walking around soon after surgery can also help alleviate nausea, as well as relieve any gas pains. Nausea that occurs right after surgery is usually easily resolved and should not be cause for concern.
If you experience nausea in the weeks and months after your surgery, you may be suffering from an obstruction, ulcer, or low blood sugar. Low blood sugar is the easiest problem to resolve, as it’s usually caused by not getting enough calories or waiting too long between meals. An ulcer or obstruction, on the other hand, will need to be diagnosed by your doctor using an upper endoscopy, x-ray, or CAT scan. If you have problems with frequent nausea and have tried adjusting to eating at regular intervals, contact your doctor to see if any of these additional tests are necessary.
In addition to underlying health problems, nausea can also be caused by eating too quickly or too much after gastric banding surgery. It’s crucial that you give your body adequate time to digest your food now and that you’re slowly introducing small bites of well-chewed food into your stomach.
Some people believe that vomiting is a common and expected problem after gastric banding surgery as you get used to “listening to the band” and eating smaller amounts. But gastric banding is supposed to be a gentle restriction of your eating that should, ideally, cause no vomiting. If vomiting occurs, it’s a sign that there is either a problem with the settings of the band or with your eating habits.
If your band is ever too tight, you may experience vomiting. However, this is extremely rare, as your surgeon is well-trained to carefully monitor the fluid amount in your band. In most cases, vomiting occurs because the patient is eating too quickly, taking too large of bites, or making inappropriate food choices. If you’re experiencing vomiting, make sure that you’re carefully following the post-surgery recommendations. If you’ve made these changes and continue to get sick, contact your doctor immediately.
Vomiting can cause the small stomach pouch to stretch or cause part of the stomach to slip through the band (known as slippage or prolapse). In severe cases, frequent vomiting may lead to additional surgeries. Understand that most people who follow the eating guidelines they are given do not experience these problems and that communicating effectively with your surgeon can, in most cases, prevent the need for further surgery.