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Food Intolerance After Gastric Band Surgery

Food Intolerance After Gastric Band Surgery

What is food Intolerance after gastric band surgery?

If you are severely obese, laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) is a type of weight-loss surgery that can help you lose at least half of your extra weight. During the surgery, your doctor places a band around the top section of your stomach, in the area where your food goes, to reduce the size  of your stomach. This makes you feel full more quickly, and it helps you to not eat too much food.

After this surgery, you won't eat as much as you used to. This helps you lose a lot of weight. By losing weight, you also cut your risk for obesity-related diseases. But the surgery may lead to a number of side effects, including food intolerance.

Food intolerance means that your body can't digest certain foods the way it should. These foods include meat, fruits, and vegetables. Because of this, you may have unpleasant symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. You may also become lacking in certain nutrients.

What causes food intolerance after gastric band surgery?

Health care providers may not always notice food intolerance after weight-loss surgery. In the past, health care providers thought that people who had LAGB surgery wouldn't have nutritional problems. That's because LAGB cuts down on the amount of food you eat, but not the amount of nutrients you get. Everything you can eat will get absorbed normally. Other weight-loss surgeries, like gastric bypass, interfere with how your body gets nutrients from what you eat. These operations can affect normal absorption of ingested food by bypassing certain regions of your stomach and small intestine where nutrients are absorbed. Sometimes, a condition called parosima causes food intolerance. This condition makes the smell of foods seem unpleasant. Parosmia can trigger nausea and vomiting. You don't want to eat, so you don't get the nutrients you need. Parosmia tends to be more common if you have had gastric bypass surgery, but it can also happen after gastric banding.

What are the risk factors for food intolerance after gastric band surgery?

Nutritional problems can happen after LAGB if you don't eat a diet that's nutritious. It can also happen if you don't take the daily vitamin and mineral supplements your health care provider gives you, or if you experience frequent vomiting. If you can't digest meat, for example, you might develop anemia. That's because meat contains a lot of iron, which prevents anemia.

Left untreated, nutritional problems can damage your nervous system.

What are the symptoms of food intolerance after gastric band surgery?

These are signs of food intolerance:

  • Excessive gas and abdominal cramping
  • Nausea
  • Repeat vomiting
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD
  • Bloating or an overly full feeling in the abdomen

How is food intolerance after gastric band surgery diagnosed?

Your health care provider will order regular blood tests to check for any nutritional problems. He or she will do this 6 months after surgery, or sooner if needed, and then every year after that. This is important because nutritional problems may develop over time, even years after LAGB. But talk with your health care provider right away if you notice symptoms of food intolerance or any unusual symptoms. These include fatigue, inability to exercise, abdominal pain, swelling, persistent vomiting, neurologic problems (such as double vision or confusion), or other signs of diet-related diseases or malnutrition. Together, you and your health care provider can develop a plan for a nutrient-rich diet.

How is food intolerance after gastric band surgery treated?

Be sure to take the daily vitamin and mineral supplements (calcium and iron) that your health care provider gives you. If you can't eat high-protein foods such as meat, your provider may also give you a liquid protein supplement for a while. You may also try cutting food, especially meat, into tiny bites, or blending it; cooking food until it is tender; chewing well; and eating slowly. Try to avoid baby food meats. 

What are the complications of food intolerance after gastric band surgery?

It's extremely important to address any signs of malnutrition as early as possible, because it can become difficult to treat and even life-threatening in advanced stages. Know that if you have severe food intolerance, you may need to have your gastric band deflated or removed. 

Key points

After gastric band surgery, you won't eat as much as you used to. But the surgery may lead to a number of side effects, including food intolerance. Food intolerance means that your body can't digest certain foods the way it should.

  • These foods include meat, fruits, and vegetables.
  • You may have unpleasant symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting.
  • Nutritional problems can happen after gastric band surgery if you don't eat a diet that's nutritious.
  • Left untreated, nutritional problems can damage the nervous system.
  • Your health care provider will order regular blood tests to check for any nutritional problems.
  • Be sure to take the daily vitamin and mineral supplements (calcium and iron) that your health care provider gives you.
  • If you have severe food intolerance, you may need to have your gastric band deflated or removed. 

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:

  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.
  • At the visit, write down the names of new medicines, treatments, or tests, and any new instructions your provider gives you.
  • If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.
 
 

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