Staying hydrated is important for everyone, and drinking enough fluids each day should be a top priority. This is especially true for weight loss surgery patients for whom dehydration is a common reason for hospital stays after surgery.
Strive to drink 48 to 64 ounces -- 6 to 8 cups -- of fluids each day. With a new, smaller stomach, it can be difficult to reach this goal at first.
Here are some tips to stay hydrated:
• Carry a water bottle with you at all times.
• Set a timer to prompt you to drink.
• Keep a log to track your fluid intake or use an app -- accountability is key.
• Freeze clear liquids or protein shakes to suck on throughout the day.
Not All Fluids Are Created Equal
Certain beverages should be limited or avoided when trying to reach daily fluid goals.
Carbonated beverages should be avoided for the first three months after surgery. The bubbly drinks can cause an upset stomach, nausea and gas, particularly while the stomach is still healing.
However, every patient is different, and some might find they can tolerate seltzer water a few months after surgery. It is important to keep in mind that carbonated drinks such as soda and beer can be high in added sugars and calories and difficult to fit within your daily calorie goals.
The effect alcohol has on the body changes after surgery.
Studies cited by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery have found there is “accelerated alcohol absorption, higher maximum alcohol concentration and longer time to eliminate alcohol after gastric bypass surgery in men and women.” Alcohol is also higher in calories and should not replace nutrient-dense foods that are needed to heal.
Drinking alcoholic beverages should be avoided for at least 6 months after surgery and introduced in a safe setting with people you trust.
It is very important for patients to take small sips and to not drink too quickly. Both mindful drinking and eating are crucial practices to avoid feeling sick. The new stomach is much smaller and cannot hold the same volume as it could before surgery. Separating eating and drinking is recommended to avoid filling up on liquids and not having enough room for protein and other foods.
Know the Signs
Some common signs of dehydration are:
• Feeling thirsty
• Feeling nauseous or dizzy
• Having a headache or a rapid heart rate
• Having dark, concentrated urine
• Feeling tired or irritable
Staying hydrated is a lifelong commitment after surgery and key to ensuring a patient’s new stomach heals properly. Drink up!