As you step into your postoperative period, you may be wondering what you should do to increase your chances of success. Many of these thoughts are related to food and drinks. Alcohol is frequently brought up in postoperative diet discussions. It is important for bariatric patients to understand how alcohol affects them in this period.
If you consume alcoholic beverages after the initial recovery period, nausea and vomiting are highly likely. Do not get concerned if you start to feel nauseous after drinking alcohol. Stop drinking and use anti-nausea medication to prevent vomiting. If alcohol routinely causes nausea it should be something you would want to avoid anyway.
Precautions when drinking alcohol after a gastric sleeve surgery
- Avoid drinking alcohol during the first year after your gastric sleeve surgery. The first year is when your weight loss is fastest and you are the most sensitive to the effects of alcohol intoxication.
- After a sleeve gastrectomy, alcohol can cause you to get drunk faster. So if you choose to drink, always have someone you trust with you.
- Be careful not to exaggerate. Plan in advance how many drinks you will have and make sure you give yourself enough time between your drinks.
- Be sure to eat something before drinking. Never drink on an empty stomach.
Are gastric sleeve patients at a higher risk for alcohol use disorders?
Some patients develop alcohol use disorder after undergoing a gastric sleeve surgery. Some sources indicate that in many cases obesity is caused by addiction to food and that after a bariatric surgery the addiction is still present, but has been transferred to another substance such as alcohol.
The fact is that the number of gastric sleeve patients with reported alcohol use disorders is relatively small compared to the total number of bariatric surgery patients. Many of these patients admit that they were struggling with alcohol problems before the operation.
Should I consume alcohol after a gastric sleeve surgery?
Consuming alcohol 1 year after a gastric sleeve surgery is a personal choice. It can be safe when done moderately and carefully. There is nothing that prohibits the moderate and responsible consumption of alcoholic drinks after a gastric sleeve surgery once the initial recovery period has passed. Before filling your glass, it is always a good idea to consult your surgeon to discuss the use of alcohol in your particular case.