Feeling Cold After Gastric Sleeve Surgery, Chills
There are many mild but noticeable side effects from gastric sleeve surgery. As a potential patient, you should do your research and ask questions of the doctor and surgeon so that you can be aware of what to expect ahead of time and not be alarmed if or when conditions arise.
Having chills or feeling cold after gastric sleeve surgery (colder than usual) tends to happen to bariatric patients. Why does this happen? Read a simple explanation below.
How the body heats and cools itself
The human body is naturally designed to regulate its temperature, and it does a pretty good job of this overall. But as you have probably already experienced, it is relatively normal that some people in a room will feel colder or warmer than others, even though the air temperature has remained steady.
- When your body breaks down food, you produce energy. This energy is allocated to many functions of the body, but you also store some as heat.
- Receptors in your skin tell your brains when you’re too cold or too hot. When you're too hot, you sweat. This process is essentially your body letting go of excess heat through your pores in the form of moisture, and this sweat then cools the skin as it evaporates.
- And of course, when you’re cold, you shiver or get chills. The body signals your brain that you are experiencing a temperature shift. The brain then communicates to the muscles that they need to contract and relax rapidly.
- This friction is shivering, and it's the body’s way of generating a bit of heat. At the same time, your body naturally restricts blood flow to help conserve heat.
Related: Loose skin after gastric sleeve
Why gastric sleeve surgery affects temperature regulation
Gastric sleeve surgery affects your body's ability to warm itself in a few different ways.
- For one thing, obese people tend to generate and store more substantial amounts of heat, partly since fat acts as insulation. Losing a significant amount of fat in a relatively short period of time will mean that you have less natural insulation.
- In addition to depleted fat stores, your metabolism will change. You're going to be eating far fewer calories, which means you’ll be converting less energy to heat.
- As the brain (in particular, your hypothalamus) responds to these significant changes, you're likely to experience more shivering and goose pimples than you were previously used to.
- If you do find yourself being cold “all the time" during the months after gastric sleeve surgery, don't be alarmed. It is a common symptom experienced by a significant proportion of bariatric surgery patients. Warm baths and hot showers will become some of your favorite, relaxing activities, and extra sweaters or blankets will be go-to items both at home and while you’re out and about!
Related: How does gastric sleeve work
Always be sure to carry a sweater or jacket with you and get creative about dressing in layers.
- However, as with most symptoms occurring post-surgery, this feeling of being cold should subside over time as your body becomes more accustomed to the lower fat storage and lower caloric intake.
- In conclusion, getting chills or feeling cold after gastric sleeve surgery is due to low heat production and loss of insulation. This is a consequence of loosing excess body fat. You can keep yourself warm by wearing multiple layers of clothes.
- As your body adapts to its new weight, you will overcome thermoregulation and the chills will go away.
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