3 Myths About Alcohol & Bariatric Surgery
Alcohol has always held a stigma, but this is especially true when it comes to bariatric surgery. The misconceptions surrounding alcohol consumption after weight loss procedures are rampant, but there is not always truth to the myths. Below, we debunk 3 of the most common misunderstandings about how bariatric patients are affected by alcohol.
Myth #1: Alcoholism is a side effect of bariatric and weight loss surgeries
It is true that after bariatric surgery, you will be more sensitive to the effects of alcohol. Your body is swiftly losing weight, so it will naturally process alcohol differently than it did before. It is typically advised during this period of rapid weight loss to avoid alcohol until your weight stabilizes.
Only a “small percentage” of bariatric surgery patients have issues with alcohol consumption after surgery, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Most of the individuals who abuse alcohol after their surgery have had issues with alcohol abuse at some point before the procedure.
If you have pre-existing problems with alcoholism and feel that alcohol may be an issue for you after your surgery, be sure to discuss any concerns with your surgeon prior to the procedure. They will be able to help navigate resources available to help address and monitor the issue.
Myth #2: You can’t have alcohol after having bariatric surgery
Have you ever enjoyed a few too many glasses of wine and accidentally skipped dinner, only to feel the negative effects the next morning? Lower body weight, or even just drinking on an empty stomach, makes you more sensitive to alcohol. Bariatric surgery limits the amount of food intake – with less food in your stomach to process through, alcohol will hit you harder.
Though it is recommended to avoid alcohol early on and limit your intake, you can continue to drink alcohol after undergoing a weight loss procedure – you just need to be mindful, which leads us to our next myth.
Myth #3: You can drink the same amount you did prior to the surgery
Patients who have had weight loss surgery often experience the effects of alcohol much more intensely, causing them to become more inebriated by their “normal” amount of consumption before the procedure. With part of your stomach bypassed or removed entirely, your body is unable to metabolize the alcohol as well as it was able to prior to a bariatric procedure.
Most absorption of alcohol occurs in the small intestine. If your stomach can’t break as much of the alcohol down, more of it will be absorbed by your system. Basically, alcohol will affect you a lot more quickly and intensely than before.
The best way to monitor this is to increase self-awareness regarding your alcohol consumption – note how you feel after small amounts and regularly check in with yourself. Make sure to take breaks often and monitor how your body is reacting. This is a good practice for anyone having a few drinks, but especially important for those who have had weight loss surgery!
If you’re looking to change your life with weight loss surgery, don’t let myths like these hold you back. For more information about bariatric procedures, contact us at Advanced Surgical and Bariatrics today!