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What You Need To Know About Drinking Alcohol After Weight Loss Surgery



Are you considering weight loss surgery? Are you confused by the information about weight loss surgeries like gastric sleeve surgery, lap band, and other options? Are you feeling like your friends and family are judging you for even giving it any thought?

Judgment from family and friends aside, it’s important to know what you are in for when you opt for weight loss surgery as your old patterns of living may no longer serve you after the surgery is over.

What is unknown to many is that you will experience the effects of alcohol much differently in the body than you did prior to surgery. If you have a history of using food as a coping method, it is possible to transfer that addiction to alcohol once your surgery is complete.  This information is important for social drinkers as well so that you can know what to expect.

How consumption of alcohol affects the body after weight loss surgery

After a weight loss surgery like gastric sleeve surgery, alcohol is absorbed faster in the small space in the stomach, rather than in the intestinal tract in a body that has not had surgery. The result is a lower tolerance for alcohol, making you drunk when you don’t expect to.

For some, wine may be easier to tolerate than grain alcohol. Carbonated drinks, including beer, are out of the question for those who have had weight loss surgery. The reason is that the small space in the stomach would be filled by the gas, causing pain, nausea, and vomiting.

One positive effect of the surgery for those that drink occasionally is that some “sleevers” (as many affectionately call themselves) almost never experience hangovers. The digestive system becomes much more efficient in that alcohol doesn’t linger in their system overnight as it would have prior to surgery.

The ability to recover so well from a few drinks can easily lead to alcohol abuse. You may think that alcohol is not hurting your body, however, there is a very dangerous side effect. The liver is increasingly strained by metabolizing fat post-surgery. It is possible that the liver can become overworked with the addition of alcohol.

What do doctors say about alcohol consumption post-surgery?

The opinions of doctors about the consumption of alcohol post-surgery vary. However, most will agree that the priority should be on allowing the body to heal and getting used to your new eating and active lifestyle habits for several months before adding alcohol to your diet. Reasons for this vary. Replacing a potentially deadly food addiction for alcohol addiction is not something that patients intend on doing, however, it does happen.

Furthermore, some doctors insist that patients restrict alcohol from their diet completely since the calories can spoil the diet requirements. Still, other doctors will say no to alcohol indefinitely with the sleeve in place, while others will allow the patient to find their own balance. In any of these situations, if you are considering weight loss surgery and you drink alcohol from time to time, it is important to discuss your options with your doctor.