Tips to prevent stomach stretching after gastric sleeve surgery

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Bariatric surgery is one of the most highly recommended treatments for morbid obesity and its underlying disorders. Obese individuals who are unable to lose weight through conventional weight loss techniques find hope in bariatric procedures. The most common weight loss surgery that is advised by most surgeons is the gastric sleeve surgery

Typically, the gastric sleeve procedure aims at reducing your stomach size to create a pouch and lowering the production of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, to initiate weight loss. However, even though this procedure has a high success rate, there are some drawbacks associated with it. One of the most significant gastric sleeve side effects is the stomach stretching post the surgery. 

Most patients who undergo gastric sleeve surgery lose approximately 60% of their excess weight within the first 18 months after the surgery. But this is also the time when they are at the highest risk of regaining their lost weight due to deviations from their fitness and dietary regimens. The fundamental principle of the gastric sleeve procedure is to shrink the stomach size to make you feel full faster. This will prevent you from consuming more food and ultimately, help you in losing weight. However, some of the most important concerns that hound patients post this surgery are, ‘What if my stomach stretches and my appetite increases?’, ‘Will I regain the lost weight?’, ‘How can I prevent my stomach from stretching?’, and so on. Therefore, listed below are a few tips to address all these concerns:

  • Limit the volume of food consumption: Though this may seem like the most obvious suggestion after any weight loss surgery, it is also the one that is often slipped. It definitely takes more than one meal to stretch your stomach. Therefore, you should focus on limiting your portion size and also consider rewarding yourself with a limited portion of sweet once a week. This will prevent you from giving in to your temptations uncontrollably. 
  • Avoid fluids when you eat: Drinking fluids in between meals will make you feel full faster even before you have consumed the required amount of nutrient-dense foods. As a result, you will feel hungry soon. Instead, you must drink fluids an hour or two before or after consuming food. 
  • Include a snack in between meals:  If you struggle with hunger, it’s best to include a snack in between your main meals. This way you can prevent yourself from overeating during mealtimes which will otherwise lead to the stretching of your stomach despite the surgery.  However, ensure that you pop in a healthy snack and in a limited portion.
  • Seek help whenever needed: It is normal to fall back on your dietary and fitness requirements post the surgery. So, if you have fallen off the wagon and have binged a meal or two, it isn’t the end of the story. You can always start again. However, do not hesitate to seek help from your doctor before things get out of hands. 

Stomach stretching after gastric sleeve surgery is not a myth and there are various factors that contribute to it. However, keeping the above tips in mind will help you stay aligned with your weight loss goals in the long run.