This month I’m summarizing an informative article written by a surgeon who is also a Bariatric patient, Dr. Walter Medlin from Utah. He had Gastric Sleeve done 5 years ago and has lost over 100 pounds.
Feeling thirsty is common after bariatric surgery, and not something to be readily worried about especially immediately post op as your body is adjusting to itself/finding equilibrium. If you feel thirsty all the time, you truly may not be drinking as much as you think, so keep track of your fluid intake daily and ensure you are ingesting 60+ oz of fluids daily. Something to remember, even caffeinated drinks DO count towards your fluid intake amounts.
Small Sips Throughout the Day
Learning to take small sips all day, instead of the gulping of large amounts as prior to surgery, is a big switch and takes getting used to. Plus, work distractions can mean hours of lost opportunity for consuming fluids. You should ensure you have ample supply of chosen fluids available at your desk/work station, and when you know you are off your fluid intake totals, sometimes just eating a soup for dinner can help you catch up to your fluid goals. If you know you are getting 60 oz of fluids in, yet still feel thirsty, try consuming 80-100 oz as you could be losing more fluids through evaporative/insensible losses such as sweat or in your stool than you perceive. If you have kidney disease or congestive heart failure, make sure you let your PCP know how much fluid you get in daily.
Drinks can be triggers to overeating, as our culture sells high calorie liquids as “healthy” in the form of juices or smoothies, or hides lots of sugars and fats in coffee creamers and flavorings. Taste buds can change after surgery, especially in the first year after bariatric surgery. Food & liquids can taste “off” or have a metallic taste. This should go away with time. Carbonation is uncomfortable for most patients, and our office strongly suggests you avoid carbonation for life post-surgery. It is important that if you feel like your weight loss is stagnating or you are having trouble getting in fluid amounts plus enough good food in, come see a Registered Dietitian (RD) who is highly trained to keep you healthy on your weight loss journey. Avoid “Nutritionist” as it is an unregulated term and they do not need a degree to work as one.
Some medications can even make you feel thirsty by reducing saliva production or increasing urine output (i.e. anti-seizure, bladder spasm or IBS meds, or antidepressants). Some medications also act on the “sensor circuit” to simply make you feel thirstier, even if you’re drinking enough (i.e. Asthma meds, allergy meds, some Blood pressure meds). Anemia can make you have dry mouth, if your CPAP machine for sleep apnea is not fitting properly or needs the pressure to be re-adjusted you can be waking with dry mouth, & worsening/extreme thirst could be a sign of Diabetes so you need to check your sugars. Smoking also can give you dry mouth.
Your digestive system does adapt through your life after Bariatric surgery. Beverage choices and tolerance can change, sensitivity to hot and cold temperature drinks changes and you may be able to take larger swallows. Just remember, HYDRATION IS KEY! Mild dehydration is not dangerous, but long term dehydration leads to kidney stones, low energy, constipation, kidney problems, and if your electrolytes are off… heart arrhythmia. Long term dry mouth can also be a factor in dental health. Please be sure to hydrate, get your 60+ oz of fluids in daily, and let us know if you are struggling. We’re here to help you succeed.
– Nathaniel Berrios, PA-C
Your Weight Matters Magazine, Winter 2015, Pgs 34-36