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October 9, 2018 by Dr. Kyle Varner in Bariatric Surgery , Obesity

You’ve gone through all the pre-op evaluations and tests, you’ve done your bariatric surgery, and you’ve paid the expensive bill… now you want to make sure that the results last, don’t you?

Though bariatric surgery is an incredible, life-changing procedure, at the end of the day it is not magic. There are side-effects that can arise and there’s always the possibility of gaining the weight back.

As I always like to remind my patients and readers, that doesn’t mean that you have to leave things up to fate. There are steps you can take to reduce your chances of complications as well as lose more weight and keep it off.

In this article, I will give you a general overview of the things you can do to post-bariatric surgery to enhance the results and improve your quality of life.

How to Reduce the Side Effects of Gastric Reflux After Bariatric Surgery

Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a medical condition often associated with obesity. Thus, many may undergo bariatric surgery specifically to reduce their risk of GERD. However, bariatric surgery alone may not eliminate gastric reflux altogether. In some cases, it may even make it worse.

This was one of the complications I faced after my own bariatric surgery. My gastric reflux increased and resulted in something called Barrett’s esophagus, which is a pre-cancerous condition. Don’t worry, it’s not that scary. But it meant that I needed to take action.

For some people, the gastric reflux after bariatric surgery is so bad that they consider having revision surgery. If that’s your case, before you consider going down that path, here are some things that you can do to minimize gastric reflux after bariatric surgery.

The first is to take acid-suppressing medications. There are two main categories here, including H-2-receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors. You may need to try different medications to help you find the right one for you. I started by taking omeprazole, but then switched to lansoprazole which worked better for me.

To help reduce gastric reflux, another helpful tool is to elevate your head while sleeping. An easy way to do this is by using bed risers. I put these at the head of my bed, instead of the foot of my bed as most people do. I am on the road a lot, and I carry the bed risers with me wherever I go.

Another thing you can do to minimize GERD effects at night, is to start taking Gaviscon every night before bed. Gaviscon is what they call a ‘raft-forming alginate’. What this does is it essentially creates a kind of slime that goes on top of the contents of your stomach. This creates a physical barrier to prevent reflux from your stomach.

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How to Keep the Weight Off After Bariatric Surgery

The last and most important thing to do is to implement lifestyle changes to lose more weight. This will not only reduce gastric reflux, but it will also help you get the most out of your weight loss surgery.

Like I said at the beginning, bariatric surgery can be life-changing, but it’s not magic. You will still need to take action on your end for the results to last.

My primary recommendation for how to shape your diet after bariatric surgery is to try a ketogenic diet combined with intermittent fasting. This recommendation is somewhat controversial in the medical world, but from the latest research and from my own personal experience I know that this is the best solution for most people.

All through childhood and even through medical school, I was morbidly obese and I tried every mainstream diet out there. None of them worked.

My weight loss came in two phases: the weight loss associated with the surgery that took me from morbidly obese to husky and the weight loss that came several years later after I finally understood what really causes obesity.

It was only when I learned about the insulin theory of obesity that it all began to make sense. The more I learned about this, the more I realized how little most doctors actually know about obesity. They regularly recommend high-carb, low-fat diets, which actually impairs your ability to burn fat!

Instead, I switched to a keto diet combined with intermittent fasting, and for the first time was able to see significant, lasting results. Soon, I will follow up with more information on this and how to implement it into your life.

Conclusion

For me, bariatric surgery gave me my life back, saved me from diabetes and possibly even suicide. As I write this, I’m thinner and healthier than I have ever been in my life.

If you’re looking to make these changes in your life, know that bariatric surgery alone is not enough. Lifestyle modifications are essential to reduce your chances of complications and enhance the impact of the procedure.

Your medications, your nighttime routine, and your diet are all key parts of getting the most out of your bariatric surgery and living your healthiest and happiest life.

This information is intended to help readers be more informed about their health options when speaking with a professional, but it should not be used alone to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Be sure to speak to a qualified doctor before taking any action to make sure that your choices reflect your actual health situation.

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