Bariatric Surgery and Alcoholism
Human beings have consumed alcohol for thousands of years, whether as part of social drinking, celebrations, or casual drinking at home. But for patients who plan to undergo a weight loss procedure, it’s crucial to understand the correlation between bariatric surgery and alcoholism. Doctors usually discourage patients from drinking alcohol after bariatric surgery or drink only in moderation. The metabolic changes following weight loss surgery may reduce the body’s tolerance to alcohol.
Bariatric surgery and alcohol use
Weight loss surgery and alcoholism has been a subject of intensive research over the last two decades. While some medical professionals are of the view that bariatric surgery alcohol use do not go together, others believe that drinking in moderation after the patient has fully recovered from the surgery is acceptable.
Bariatric surgery and alcohol abuse risks
Harvard Health reported a major research study, which showed that while rapid weight loss dramatically improves patient health, bariatric surgery and alcoholism may be a risk for some patients. The study only focused on gastric bypass and alcohol use, but it is worth looking at the same risks for gastric sleeve and alcohol as well. Researchers recommend that doctors and patients should stay alert to any changes in bariatric surgery and alcohol use after the procedure.
Bariatric surgery and alcohol use disorder (AUD)
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) published the results of a study that evaluated the findings of several research studies conducted at different time periods. The studies focused on the effects of alcohol after gastric bypass surgery, but the findings may be applicable to bariatric surgery and alcohol use in general. Some studies showed that the risk of AUD increased after bariatric surgery, while a few studies showed a reduction in the risk of AUD after the surgery.
Drinking alcohol before bariatric surgery
Many patients want to ask: Can you drink alcohol before bariatric surgery? The answer is no! You must refrain from drinking any alcoholic beverages for at least 48 to 72 hours prior to your scheduled weight loss surgery. Although the long-term effects of bariatric surgery and alcoholism are a subject of ongoing research, but what is known is that drinking alcohol before bariatric surgery can pose a serious risk to your health.
- Anesthesia risks: Bariatric surgery alcohol use in the days or hours prior to the procedure could mean that alcohol is present in your bloodstream at the time of anesthesia. Combined with anesthetic drugs, it could increase the suppression of your body’s vital functions such as heart rate and breathing.
- Bleeding risks: Some bleeding will occur during the surgical procedure, and natural clotting will occur to prevent excessive blood loss. Alcohol may cause blood thinning, which increases the chances of poor clotting and excessive bleeding. Therefore, alcohol before bariatric surgery is a bad idea.
- Cardiovascular risk: Gastric bypass and alcohol or gastric sleeve and alcohol don’t go together. Too much drinking in the months leading to your bariatric surgery or chronic AUD can adversely impact your heart function. Your post-operative risk of stroke, arrhythmia, or heart attack may increase.
- Poor drug interaction: Drinking alcohol before bariatric surgery can cause interference with the medications you may be administered before, during or after the surgery. Your risk of poor drug reaction increases and the therapeutic effect of some of the medications may be reduced.
- Other health risks: Alcohol effects gastric bypass and gastric sleeve are not limited only to the surgery room. Your post-surgical healing may get delayed and infection risks may increase. Excessively drinking alcohol before weight loss surgery may cause weak immune response to infection.
Related: Drinking alcohol after gastric sleeve
Alcohol before gastric sleeve
Research is currently underway to determine the long-term correlation between gastric sleeve and alcohol. However, drinking alcohol before gastric sleeve surgery is not recommended. Your scheduled procedure may have to be delayed if you binged on alcohol the night before your VSG surgery, or have been indulging in alcohol abuse while hiding it from your surgeon.
Bariatric surgery and alcoholism may warrant the following counter-measures in some cases:
- Start tapering off your alcohol consumption well ahead of surgery.
- Join an alcohol rehab center to be addiction-free before surgery.
- Take prescription drugs to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
- Inform your doctor if you drink alcohol before gastric sleeve surgery.
- Take anesthesia precautions in case of gastric sleeve and alcohol use.
- Request your surgeon to maintain confidentiality of alcohol abuse.
- Follow pre-op diet instructions to avoid alcohol before gastric sleeve.
Alcohol before gastric bypass
Gastric bypass alcohol effects can be serious, and it is certainly not worth the risk to drink alcohol before bariatric surgery. Your gastric bypass procedure will not only involve stomach tissue removal, but also rerouting of the small intestine. These are delicate internal organs, and drinking alcohol before gastric bypass can put unnecessary strain on them and increase your risk of complications.
Minimize your risks of bariatric surgery and alcoholism with these simple steps:
- Refrain from alcohol before gastric bypass for at least 48 to 72 hours.
- If you have type 2 diabetes, avoid alcohol for a week before surgery.
- Remove all types of alcoholic beverages from home for self-control.
- Seek professional counseling to fight the habit of alcohol abuse.
- Consult with your surgeon about alcohol effects gastric bypass.
- Don’t hide facts from the surgeon, and inform even one pre-op drink.
- Get your liver test done to evaluate gastric bypass and alcohol use.
Drinking alcohol after bariatric surgery
Bariatric surgery and alcoholism are never an ideal combination. Drinking alcohol after bariatric surgery can lead to complications because the body’s metabolic response to alcohol will alter after the surgery. Therefore, do not assume that bariatric surgery alcohol use will not make a difference once you have attained full post-operative recovery.
- The natural enzymes in your body that fight alcohol’s entry into the bloodstream are reduced after bariatric surgery.
- The body’s tolerance to alcohol reduces after weight loss surgery, peak levels are reached quickly, and alcohol retention is higher.
- You may continue to feel intoxicated for longer periods with even small consumption of alcohol after bariatric surgery.
- Moderation, if not abstinence, is the key to your long-term health in case bariatric surgery and alcohol use.
- Drinking alcohol after bariatric surgery increases calorie consumption, and may contribute to weight loss failure.
Related: Gastric sleeve diet: An ultimate guide on VSG diet
Can you drink alcohol after a gastric sleeve?
Yes, you can drink alcohol after gastric sleeve, subject to certain conditions. During your consultation process, the surgeon will explain various do’s and don’ts with regard to bariatric surgery and alcoholism. Feel free to ask questions about gastric sleeve and alcohol use from your surgeon and follow their advice. Be aware of the gastric sleeve alcohol effects and do not exceed the limits of moderation.
How long after gastric sleeve can I drink alcohol
In general, you should refrain from drinking alcohol after gastric sleeve for at least 6 to 12 months. Right after your sleeve gastrectomy, the body’s metabolic rate will increase, and you may experience rapid weight loss in the first few months. Gastric sleeve and alcohol certainly don’t go hand in hand during this time. Even after six months to a year, choose drinks with low alcohol content and focus more on water and non-alcoholic beverages.
Related: Gastric sleeve complications
How much can you drink after gastric sleeve
You should limit yourself to one to two small drinks at one time, and drink maximum once or twice a week after your gastric sleeve surgery. The ideal situation would be to completely give up alcohol after gastric sleeve. Bariatric surgery and alcoholism are not a healthy combination. But if drinking alcohol after VSG is something you cannot avoid, then practice the habit of moderation for excellent weight loss outcomes.
Best alcoholic drinks for gastric sleeve patients
If drinking is unavoidable, the best alcoholic drinks for gastric sleeve patients may include beverages blended with low calorie or zero calorie mixers. You may also choose dry wines because these are also low on calories. Remember that the best alcoholic drinks for gastric sleeve patients are ones that are not only low on alcohol content, but also low on calorific value. This will help preserve your health as well as maintain weight loss.
Related: When can I eat pasta after a gastric sleeve?
Gastric bypass and alcohol: Is it safe?
Yes, gastric bypass and alcohol use is safe as long as you drink within the limits prescribed by your surgeon. But it is important for gastric bypass patients to recognize the risks of bariatric surgery and alcoholism, and remain conscious about their drinking patterns. Researchers have indicated that gastric bypass and alcohol use disorder (AUD) may have some correlation. Therefore, moderation is critical for gastric bypass patients.
Alcohol effects gastric bypass
Awareness of gastric bypass alcohol effects is important so that you can maintain self-discipline about your drinking. Inform your surgeon about your drinking habit so that they can educate you about the alcohol effects gastric bypass and how you can mitigate them.
- Faster absorption: The metabolic changes in your body following your gastric bypass will result in quicker absorption of alcohol in your blood. So, even one small drink may cause elevated levels of alcohol in your blood.
- Low glycogen levels: Glycogen or blood sugar levels in your body may rapidly go down when you drink alcohol after gastric bypass. Hypoglycemia is one of the key alcohol effects gastric bypass to watch out for after surgery.
- Risk of weight regain: Alcohol contains plenty of empty calories and negligible nutrition. You might consume excessive calories with alcohol and face the risk of weight regain or weight loss failure after gastric bypass.
- Alcohol abuse risks: Bariatric surgery and alcoholism is a credible risk because you may experience emotional changes that are hard to cope. Stay alert to gastric bypass alcohol effects which may lead to addiction.
Related: Gastric bypass complications
Best alcoholic drinks for gastric bypass patients
If total abstinence is not an option, choose the best alcoholic drinks for gastric bypass patients which minimize the risks to your health and body weight. Here are some of the best gastric bypass and alcohol choices.
- White or red wine: Consider having a small glass of white or red wine, which limits your calorie intake to 140 kcal.
- Light beer: If beer is your preferred alcoholic beverage, choose a low-calorie light beer. Limit yourself to one or two small glasses of beer a week.
- Light bloody mary: Freshly made bloody mary is preferable to pre-mixed options. Add sugar-free tomato juice and pick up some salads for a snack.
- Diet gin tonic: If you prefer tonic water, choose a diet tonic instead of the regular one to cut calories. Top it with a slice of grapefruit for added flavor.
Final words on Bariatric surgery and alcohol use
Weight loss surgery and alcohol use are not an ideal pair, but when it is unavoidable, it is best to choose the middle path of moderation. While you may be used to drinking alcohol before bariatric surgery, chances are that you will have a higher motivation to maintain an excellent health after the surgery. For many patients, curbing the habit of drinking alcohol after bariatric surgery is not difficult. To learn more about bariatric surgery and alcohol use, consult with a top-rated weight loss surgeon today.
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