If you have recently undergone a gastric bypass, it’s essential to know the signs of a blockage. A blockage can cause severe abdominal pain and vomiting, leading to dehydration. It’s bothersome and uncomfortable—especially if you don’t know what’s causing it. You may also notice that your bowel movements become hard and dry.
If you’ve had a gastric bypass, there’s a good chance that you’re at risk for developing a blockage. This is because the surgery creates several changes in your digestive tract. The most notable alteration is how long food travels through your body after eating. But how to tell if I have a blockage after gastric bypass? Keep on reading to find out.
Symptoms Of Gastric Sleeve Blockage
One of the most severe long-term complications of obesity surgery is blockage. Minor intestine blockages are a common problem for general surgeons and emergency physicians.
A hernia can be seen after laparoscopic bariatric surgery at the port entry points greater than 10 mm that are not closed. Trocar location hernias are a rare complication of laparoscopic surgery, but it should be noted that obesity is a significant risk factor, and this risk is increased in bariatric patients.
In obese patients, small incisional hernias can be complicated to detect. The contents of a herniated hernia can be reinserted into the abdomen to treat partial or complete intestinal obstruction.
If there is sufficient experience, laparoscopic intervention should be preferred. Intestinal resection may be required in cases of perforation or intestinal nutritional disorders. The operation is completed with the closure of the abdominal wall defect.
The Risk of Gastric Bypass Blockage
Small bowel obstruction is a risk following gastric bypass surgery. The chances of developing an obstruction are about 5%, which may seem low, but given the severity of the condition, it is worth considering.
These blockages are usually caused by fibrous tissue adhesions that form in the abdominal area after bariatric surgery. If a patient has previously undergone abdominal surgery, the risk of blockage is increased.
Small Bowel Obstruction Symptoms and Signs
Common Abdominal Symptoms
Following weight loss surgery, the feeling of fullness you may experience after overeating solid food differs from those without a bariatric operation experience. Your post-bariatric “fullness” may resemble the discomfort occasionally associated with nausea. Some patients will also experience mouth or eye-watering. Typically, this will decrease and become more manageable over time.
It should be noted that these are common abdominal symptoms. As a postoperative patient, you will learn how to adapt to or accommodate the changes your bariatric surgery brings. However, if your symptoms persist or worsen, you should consult your bariatric surgeon. These symptoms may indicate a serious problem.
Dangerous Abdominal Symptoms
Several severe abdominal symptoms can occur following bariatric surgery. Several more troubling or “red flag” symptoms are discussed below about the various types of bariatric surgery. Seek medical attention right away if you notice any of the above symptoms.
Treatment For Gastric Bypass Blockage
One of the most serious long-term complications of gastric bypass is a blockage. The evaluation and treatment of small bowel obstructions are among the most common situations that general surgeons and emergency physicians face.
The standard treatment for small bowel obstructions begins with non-surgical methods such as algorithmic, nasogastric decompression, bowel rest, fluid resuscitation, and close monitoring. Unless there are signs of intestinal ischemia, most patients can be treated conservatively. Each abdominal surgery carries the risk of partial or complete blockage. It occurs when the patient is unable to expel gas and feces. Bloating and abdominal pain characterize this table, lasting up to 24 hours.
The patient is inserted into the stomach probe through the nose to treat this condition, and oral food intake is decapitated. Re-surgery may be necessary if the patient’s bowel movements have not improved. Folding scar tissue after open bariatric surgery can help prevent small intestine transformation. An incisional hernia is another cause of bowel obstruction. The risk of obstruction following gastric bypass surgery is extremely low. However, potential issues can be repaired via laparoscopy.
Tips to Avoid Blockage After Gastric Bypass
Certain complications can arise following gastric bypass surgery. Dehydration, malnutrition, and dumping syndrome are examples of these. To avoid these, you must eat and drink carefully.
Dehydration can result from not drinking enough fluids. Symptoms include extreme thirst, dark yellow urine, and infrequent urination. The new stomach has a limited capacity for liquid storage. As a result, it is critical to sip drinks throughout the day. Drink at least 6 to 8 cups (1 cup equals 8 ounces) of sugar-free liquids every day. For the first few months, avoiding carbonated beverages is recommended as they can also lead to bloating and gas. Also, avoid drinking during meals. This can result in improper digestion of food.
Consume Enough Protein
Protein is an essential component of your new diet. It fills you up and keeps your body running normally. Your surgical team may instruct you to consume protein shakes daily following surgery. You must consume low-fat, high-protein foods with each meal. Increase your protein intake to 60 to 100 grams daily. If you consume meat, ensure it is not tough, fatty, or gristly. Avoid high-fat protein foods like bacon, hot dogs, and hamburger patties.
Slowly Reintroduce Foods
After surgery, certain foods may increase your risk of experiencing pain, nausea, vomiting, or a clogged intestine. Meats, fruits, vegetables, bread, pasta, and rice are examples. Reintroduce these foods into your diet one at a time. Chew carefully. If you can’t tolerate a food, give it another try in 1 to 2 weeks.
Take Vitamin And Mineral Supplements
Following bariatric surgery, your body cannot absorb all of the vitamins and minerals required. Anemia (low blood count), sores around the mouth, a painful tongue, and fatigue are all signs of a vitamin and mineral deficiency in your body. Inadequate vitamin and mineral levels can cause serious health problems in the long run. To prevent this, you may need to take a multivitamin and mineral supplement every day for the rest of your life.
The most important message about stomach pain after bariatric surgery is that a bariatric surgeon should evaluate these symptoms. Patients frequently want to see their primary care physician about these symptoms. However, your primary care physician is likely unaware of bariatric surgery’s side effects.
There have been reports of primary care physicians treating severe, even potentially life-threatening, symptoms with over-the-counter or prescription medications without performing appropriate diagnostic tests.
You must keep in touch with your bariatric surgeon if you’ve had bariatric surgery. Follow-up is critical when new (or worsening) abdominal symptoms emerge.