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Drinking Plenty of Water After Bariatric Surgery

It’s a given, bariatric surgery or not, that you should drink a sufficient amount of water every day to maintain your health. As a significant cause of readmission to the hospital after bariatric surgery, dehydration is even more of a concern for post-op bariatric patients.

Woman adds a squeeze of lemon to her water to help add flavor when she is trying to stay hydrated after weight loss surgery with Dr. Guillermo Higa

Managing your diet and liquid intake might be one of the trickiest things to achieve after bariatric surgery, but you must commit to these type of lifestyle changes to ensure that the surgery is successful.

Hydration After Surgery

When thinking of what bariatric surgery actually does, the first thought is restriction of the stomach to reduce food intake. However, with this reality comes that it also reduces the capacity for liquid intake. After bariatric surgery, you cannot drink water in the quantities you used to – making it more difficult to stay well hydrated. Drinking too much liquid, too quickly can cause nausea or vomiting or make you eat too little.

In the beginning, it can be a tricky balance for bariatric patients to stay hydrated because their body still requires as much water as it did before surgery (64+ fluid ounces). Further, most patients were chronically dehydrated even before bariatric surgery, so you will almost surely be drinking a lot more than you ever did before. You cannot chug a glass of water after a meal like you used to, because there is a limited amount of space in the stomach for food and water to share.

How to Maintain Hydration

At first, you may want to set timed reminders of your phone so that you maintain hydration. You may even want to get a water bottle specifically made for bariatric patients. You might always want to have a glass of water nearby so there is visual reminder that you need to be consuming it all day long.

You should be consistently consuming water all day and waiting 45-60 minutes after a solid meal to consume more. This may be a conscious practice at first, but after a few weeks this will become part of your normal routine.

You will be working with your surgeon and dietician about your dieting habits anyway – use them as an information resource, no question is a bad question.

The Bottom Line

Although staying hydrated may be a bit more difficult after bariatric surgery, it is very achievable. Sip on water consistently throughout the day to avoid dehydration or nausea. Talk to your surgeon and dietitian about how you can best manage your diet after surgery. You can even talk to other bariatric patients to learn more about their tricks to getting enough water every day.

If you are interested in starting your bariatric journey, give us a call today. Dr. Higa is a highly experienced bariatric surgeon with thousands of happy, successful patients.