Possible Symptoms After Surgery – Causes and Solutions

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Constipation

May be caused by:  decrease in the total food intake, inadequate total fluid intake, and a high protein, low fiber diet.  Some vitamins, minerals or medications can also cause constipation.  Inactivity may lead to constipation as well.

Possible solutions involve staying well hydrated.  Fluid intake should be at least 65 ounces per day.  If constipated try to increase fluid intake with an additional 8 to 10 cups per day.  You may use over the counter laxatives, fivers or stool softeners such as Milk of Magnesia®, Metamucil®, Senokot®, or Colace®.  If constipation persists contact your physician.  Continue eating you proteins and taking all you medications, vitamins and minerals as directed.

Dumping syndrome

May be caused by: high sugar or fat intake.

Possible solutions include avoiding sugars, fried foods and high fat foods.  Stay well hydrated.

Diarrhea

May be caused by: low fiber intake, lactose intolerance, food allergy, high sugar or fat intake, or food borne illness.  During the liquid protein phase of your diet you may experience diarrhea.

Possible solutions involve staying well hydrated.  Switch to lactose-free milk.  Always check food tolerances.  Limit sugar intake to no more than 5 grams per serving.  Avoid fried foods and high fat foods. Do not eat food that you are allergic to.  Always cook, cool and store your food appropriately to avoid food spoilage and food borne illness.  Using bulking fibers such as Benefiber® may help.  If diarrhea persists call your physician.

Vomiting

May be caused by:  Eating too fast, not chewing well, swallowing large pieces of food, food intolerance, food borne illness, or overeating.  If vomiting persists this can be due to a stricture or stenosis (narrowing) of the gastric pouch.

Possible solutions include chewing at least 30 times before swallowing.  Cutting food into small pieces.  Always check your food tolerances.  Stop eating food that make you vomit.  Stop eating if you are full.  Always cook, cool and store your food appropriately to avoid food spoilage and food borne illness.  Do not over eat.  If vomiting persists, contact your physician.

Nausea

May be caused by: food intolerances, dehydration, or sensory change.  Some vitamins and minerals can cause nausea.  Having nausea is a common occurrence after surgery.  This feeling is not permanent.

Possible solutions include staying well hydrated.  Always check for food tolerances.  Avoid extreme temperatures of hot and cold as this may trigger nausea.  Do not skip meals, vitamins or minerals.  If nausea progresses to vomiting see above.

Pain after eating or drinking

May be caused by:  eating too fast, not chewing well, swallowing large pieces of food.  Pain may also be caused by overeating or drinking carbonated or caffeinated beverages. 

Possible solutions include chewing at least 30 times. Cutting food into smaller pieces.  Stop eating when you feel the sensation of fullness or restriction.  Avoid all caffeinated and carbonated beverages.  If pain persists, contact your physician.

Gas

May be caused by:  Eating too fast, drinking carbonated beverages, or eating gas-producing foods such as legumes (beans), broccoli, onions, cabbage or Brussels sprout.

Possible solutions include eating slowly.  Slow down!  Avoid all carbonated beverages.  Soak beans in cool water overnight to reduce gas-producing enzymes found in legumes.  Avoid gas producing vegetables.  You may take anti-gas medications such as Beano® or Mylicon®.

Vitamin or mineral deficiency

May be caused by:  malabsorption of nutrients and not taking the recommended types, dosage and timing of the recommended vitamins and mineral regimen.  This may lead to other conditions that would not be healthy.

Possible solutions include adhering to the recommended vitamin and mineral protocol.  Have your blood work done so the physician and dietitian can assess your vitamin and mineral levels.  If you have any questions about vitamins and minerals contact your physician or dietitian.

Sensory changes (taste and smell)

May be caused by: strong food odors, spicy foods, or extreme temperatures of hot or cold.  The exact physiological mechanism, however, is unknown

Possible solutions include avoidance of spicy foods, strong odors that are causing the aggravation, and temperature extremes.  Do not skip meals and stay well hydrated.

Lactose Intolerance

May be caused by: milk and dairy products.  This is common in patients after surgery.  Lactose is a natural sugar found in milk.  Lactose Intolerance means you cannot digest the lactose found in milk and dairy products.

Possible solutions include using lactose free products such as Lactaid®.  Fermented dairy products such as cheese and yogurt have very little lactose in it.  However, always check your tolerance to these foods when eating them for the first time after surgery.

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