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Preparing for Bariatric Surgery Side Effects

The nature of bariatric surgery produces a cascade of effects on the body, not all of which are pleasant. The doctors working through the Tijuana Bariatric Center can teach patients about potential bariatric surgery side effects at the Tijuana, Mexico, hospital, as well as signs to watch out for and when to pursue medical attention. The team can also help you separate valid concerns from common myths and misconceptions you may find in your research.

Preparing for Side Effects

Before undergoing treatment, it is essential to understand that surgery is an extreme procedure. The body’s internal systems and function are permanently altered. Going into surgery, bariatric patients should be prepared for a number of potential side effects. Some of these are the expected result of changes to the digestive system while many are simply the body’s normal reaction to surgery. These side effects can include:

Staying hydrated is essential - not just for preventing nausea and vomiting, but also to lessen a wide range of other side effects.

In most cases, side effects are uncomfortable or unpleasant, but not serious enough to endanger patients. However, if any of these symptoms become severe, patients should alert their doctor immediately.

If you experience particular indicators, you may be developing post-surgical complications:

  • Fever of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or above
  • Redness, swelling, increased pain, or pus-like drainage from incision site
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting lasting more than 12 hours
  • Urinating fewer than four times in 24 hours
  • Pain that cannot be relieved with appropriate medication

Dealing with the Most Common Complaints

Of the many side effects a bariatric patient can experience, the three seen most often are nausea and vomiting, dehydration, and constipation and diarrhea. While these conditions are typically not dangerous for a short duration, they can easily become so over a long period of time.

Nausea and Vomiting

More often than not, these two side effects are connected. They are usually triggered by an increased sensitivity to odors, dehydration, a failure to recognize when you are full, eating too quickly, not chewing properly,  or even simply eating foods that do not agree with you.

Bottled of water pouring into glassFortunately, there are a number of simple ways to ease this discomfort. Staying hydrated is essential - not just for preventing nausea and vomiting, but to improve a wide range of other side effects. Patients must sip liquids continuously throughout the day to prevent dehydration. To further settle the stomach, patients can also try drinking peppermint, fennel, or decaffeinated green tea, or sucking on cinnamon sticks.

To avoid vomiting, you will need to develop healthy habits and adjust how you eat. For example, you will need to chew thoroughly before swallowing to reduce stress on your digestive system and keep your food moist. It is also helpful to stop halfway through a meal. This gives your system a chance to begin digesting without overloading. If you are still hungry afterward, you can always eat more. Most importantly of all, though, patients should stick to their post-surgery diet as closely as possible.

If your nausea or vomiting lasts for more than 24 hours, it may be a sign of other complications. These side effects can also lead to severe dehydration. In these instances, patients should contact their doctor immediately to address the source of the problem.


With limited space in the stomach, it is often difficult to consume sufficient liquids. Because water plays such an important role in our body, the effects of dehydration can be catastrophic: not only can it lead to bladder or kidney infections, it can leave patients weak, dizzy, and confused. If you are experiencing lower back pain or notice deep yellow or amber urine, you may be dehydrated.

The average person needs at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day – about four bottles’ worth. If nausea makes drinking difficult, sucking on ice cubes can also be beneficial. However, patients should avoid drinking caffeinated beverages altogether.

Diarrhea and Constipation

Because your digestive system undergoes drastic changes, it can take your body a considerable amount of time to adjust after bariatric surgery. On the one hand, an altered diet and reduced caloric intake can cause patients to experience fewer bowel movements, which can make them more prone to constipation. But on the other hand, eating fatty or sugary foods can easily upset the stomach and cause diarrhea. Unfortunately, both side effects are particularly common. Patients should only become concerned if an individual episode lasts more than two days.

Learn More About Potential Side Effects

Handling the side effects that result from bariatric surgery can be overwhelming, but the doctors and nutritional counselor working through the Tijuana Bariatric Center can help you prepare for any potential complications. Contact the center today to take advantage of our support and learn more. 

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