The Gassy Truth about Gastric Sleeve Surgery

The question of gas, in its many forms, comes up quite a bit after gastric sleeve surgery. First, know that there are three types of “gas”: the gas you experience in your stomach, the gas we use to inflate the abdomen during surgery, and good old colonic gas. Below are some of the most common inquiries we get from our patients on this topic.

Question #1: Are carbonated beverages ok to drink?
Diet sodas seem like a great way to keep calories down, but they’re not so great for sleevers. In fact, they tend to be downright painful. All of the lovely carbonated gas that makes sodas so much fun to drink irritates the sleeve like crazy. Is it safe? Yes. Carbonation won’t hurt the sleeve unless you have episodes of gastritis or inflammation. Is it recommended? Not really. It’s just not a good habit to get into…or continue. Switch to water, tea, or Crystal Light if you like some flavor in your liquids.

Question #2: Can I chew gum with the sleeve?
Again, sugar-free gum seems like a great way to cut down on snacking between meals, but it can be uncomfortable in the first few months following sleeve surgery. When you chew gum, you’re actually swallowing some air, and those bubbles are coming down into your newly crafted sleeve (aka your new stomach). That air builds up inside your sleeve, creating discomfort that’s easy to avoid. In the beginning, especially, opt for hard candy, which doesn’t cause you to swallow air.

Question #3: Are straws really banned?
No, but use caution here. Like gum, the first few months after surgery should be a straw-free zone because when you suck on the straw, a column of air comes in through your mouth, and you end up swallowing that air. It makes its way to your sleeve and—bam!—discomfort. But there’s good news for straw lovers. Those small ones (like kids use for juice boxes and pouches) are a good option, even right after surgery. So sip away!

Question #4: Will I have gas pain right after surgery?
We do use gas to expand the abdomen during surgery to create more space for us to work. That gas gets absorbed into your body over the next six to twelve hours. At Endobariatric, we use a special device that eliminates practically all the gas, so our patients really don’t have a problem with unpleasant gas pain after sleeve surgery.

Question #5: Why do I have more of the embarrassing kind of gas now?
Ah, intestinal gas. It’s actually uncommon to have an increase in colonic or intestinal gas with a sleeve. My advice is to take a round of antacids (works for burping, too), which should help decease any swelling in your sleeve. If that doesn’t work, contact your physician to find out what’s going on.
Question #6: There are times where I feel like I have to burp but can’t. Why?
Stomach gas can be the most uncomfortable of the three gases I mentioned at the beginning of the article. Since the sleeve is so tight, it’s virtually a closed space. It’s so swollen that nothing fits in there, but some gas may build up from swallowing air, which results in discomfort. You can’t burp the gas, though, because it’s actually trapped between the inflammations of your sleeve. That’s why we do our best to warn you away from activities that cause you to swallow air or ingest carbonated gas.

At Endobariatric, we’re always happy to answer any questions you have about this topic or any other—before or long after your surgery!

We invite you to visit our website and see for yourself what we have done here in Endobariatric for thousands of patients with more than satisfactory results, you can check it with the images that we have on “Before and after” of our patients with surprising changes.

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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.