Can I stretch my stomach out?

Yes, over time you can stretch your stomach out. It is important to remain consistent with the dietary and behavioural recommendations you learn throughout this process. These recommendations include:

  • Eating until you are satisfied
  • Gradually building your portions up, aiming for no more than 1 cup of food at 12 months post-surgery and beyond
  • Avoid carbonated drinks
  • Separating your food and your fluids

Will I experience hair loss?

Hair loss that occurs following surgery is scientifically known as Telogen Effluvium. When you undergo surgery, your body goes into shock mode and subsequently stops sending nutrients to what it determines as non-essential functions (hair growth, nail growth) and redirects nutrients to your internal organs. This puts some of your hair follicles into a resting or dormant state. When your new hair follicles begin to grow (usually around 3-4 months) after surgery, they take place of the follicles that stopped growing surgery day and start growing in their place. The old follicles will fall out, which is why you may notice hair thinning. This happens between the 3 to 6-month mark. However, usually, this improves over time.

Will I gain weight after surgery?

Initially, due to the restrictive nature of the surgery, weight loss will naturally occur. In the following 18 months, it is extremely important to work on creating sustainable, healthy habits that you can continue long term. As you reach your maximum portion sizes following surgery, it is important not to fall back into habits that lead to weight gain in the first place. Utilise all of the services and support available to ensure you have all the tools and skills necessary for weight maintenance.

How long will I need to take my multivitamin for?

It is a lifelong requirement to be taking additional vitamins and minerals after weightloss surgery. Most store-bought supplements have a broad range of nutrients in them, however, they are not high enough in the specific nutrient that you are at greatest risk of.

What vitamins am I at risk of becoming deficient in?

The prevalence of vitamin and mineral deficiencies vary, however the most common deficiencies that can occur include:

  • Vitamin D – This has been reported to be as high as 90-100% of patients.
  • Folate – The risk of folate deficiency is reported to be as high as 65%
  • Thiamine – Risk of deficiency after bariatric surgery reported as high as 49%.
  • Vitamin B12 – The risk of vitamin B12 in bariatric surgery is shown to be as high as 20%
  • Iron – The prevalence of iron deficiency is high after bariatric surgery, especially the more malabsorptive procedures such as the Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB) and is reported to be as high as 62% even after many years post-surgery.
  • Vitamin A – The risk of vitamin A deficiency is reported as high as 70%, especially in more malabsorptive procedures such as Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB).
  • Zinc – The risk for zinc deficiency has been reported to be as high as 40% in Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB).

Am I at risk of nutrition deficiencies?

Yes. All bariatric procedures pose a risk for developing micronutrient deficiencies. Some factors that increase this risk include:

  • The type of procedure performed
  • Reduced availability of gastric acids and digestive enzymes in order to absorb certain nutrients
  • Poor adherence to dietary recommendations
  • Reduced portion sizes
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, poor appetite

We recommend testing your blood regularly post-surgery to strongly monitor and prevent any deficiencies that may occur as well as taking a multivitamin long term.

Will I still be hungry?

Weightloss surgery aims to restrict the volume of food that can be eaten. It can help you feel satisfied with a smaller amount of food as your new stomach’s volume is significantly reduced. Depending on what type of weight loss procedure you have had, the hunger hormone, Ghrelin is mostly reduced, which means you will experience a profound loss of appetite.

This effect tends to lessen with time, but nevertheless, the hunger is still less than you may have experienced prior to surgery. It is imperative that you continue on with the positive behavioural changes you have created for yourself, and implement this for long term weight maintenance.

Will I be able to eat meals out?

The social pressures and anxiety around eating out is something that people may experience after weight loss surgery. However, this shouldn’t be a factor which negatively impacts this experience for you. Some tips to help with these pressures to choose healthier options include:

  • Add vegetables to your menu choice.
  • Choose lean meats & cut off any obvious fat.
  • Skip the sugary soft drinks and alcohol and choose water with a lemon wedge
  • Check the restaurant website before you go to see if they have any nutrition information or ask the waiter/waitress how menu items are cooked.
  • Ask for sauces and dressings to be served on the side.
  • Listen to your stomach, eat slowly and stop when you’re full – don’t feel that you have to eat the whole serving – ask for a doggy bag or take your own containers to take home.
  • Share dessert with a friend if you can’t resist.
  • Ask for healthy options like no butter on the veggies – most places are happy to help.
  • Why not walk to the restaurant or park further away?

Can I still drink alcohol after surgery?

We advise no alcohol for the first 3 months after surgery. From then on, alcohol intake should be limited as it may cause weight to regain, dumping syndrome, increase your blood alcohol reading and may displace the absorption of other important vitamins and minerals. Be mindful that alcohol is absorbed much quicker due to decrease stomach capacity which means you will feel the effects of alcohol a lot more quickly.