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Tijuana Bariatric Center Blog

Bariatric Surgery and Ulcers: Risks of Surgical Weight Loss

An obese man's gutWeight loss surgery can have so many benefits to your health and overall sense of wellness. The team at Tijuana Bariatric Center knows this firsthand, having improved the lives of countless people thanks to state-of-the-art bariatric surgery.

All surgical procedures come with some degree of risk, even for minor issues. For instance, a number of bariatric surgery patients may face issues with stomach ulcers at some point after surgery. Let's take a moment to consider why this is and what can be done about it.

What Is an Ulcer?

In basic terms, an ulcer is a sore that develops in the lining of your stomach. They can develop regularly regardless of weight loss surgery, but people who undergo bariatric procedure may face an increased risk of developing an ulcer. This can happen soon after surgery or years after the surgery is performed.

Ulcers are a common cause of nausea and vomiting for bariatric surgery patients.

What Causes an Ulcer After Bariatric Surgery?

After undergoing weight loss surgery, surgical staples are usually used to help patients heal after their stomach size has been altered. The staple lines left behind can become irritated. This, in turn, results in an ulcer. Bacterial infections of the stomach can also cause or increase the risk of an ulcer developing.

Signs and Symptoms of Ulcers

The most common signs and symptoms of ulcers after bariatric surgery include the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in your vomit
  • Blood in your stool

If you notice any of these issues after your bariatric surgery, be sure to consult with your weight loss surgeon as soon as possible.

Risk Factors for Ulcers

Some of the most common risk factors for developing ulcers after bariatric surgery include the following:

  • Type of Bariatric Surgery Procedure – Ulcers after weight loss surgery tend to be more likely in patients who have undergone gastric bypass surgery or a sleeve gastrectomy.

  • Smoking and Use of Tobacco Products – Smoking and tobacco in general can lead to issues with recovery and healing time, resulting in a greater chance of an ulcer developing. Additionally, tobacco use can increase the risk of bacterial infections.

  • Use of Certain Medications – Aspirin, ibuprofen, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can all cause stomach irritation, which makes ulcers more likely.

  • Alcohol Consumption – Alcoholic beverages can irritate the lining of the stomach, making a person more prone to developing an ulcer.

  • Drinking Caffeinated Beverages – Caffeine can increase the amount of stomach acid and its potency, which can irritate and worsen an existing stomach ulcer. This is just one of many reasons why caffeine intake should be limited after bariatric surgery.

A healthy diet and proper health practices can go a long way toward preventing an ulcer from forming.

Treating Ulcers After Bariatric Surgery

Ulcers are not always serious health issues. Many patients are able to deal with their ulcers through the use of medications. Anti-acid medications can help prevent irritation of a stomach ulcer from your stomach acid. Medications such as Carafate can protect the lining of the stomach from stomach acid, allowing the ulcer to heal on its own.

If an ulcer is serious an leads to bleeding or perforation of the stomach lining, surgical treatment will be required as soon as possible.

Learn More About Weight Loss Surgery

For more information about weight loss surgery and how it can benefit you and your needs, be sure to contact Tijuana Bariatric Center today. We will work with you to ensure your last health and wellness after losing weight by surgical means.

Tagged In: Bariatric Surgery, Risks

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