Burping after gastric sleeve surgery is actually commonly reported among patients. It is frequently seen within the first year post-op.
Is burping related to the surgery? Is there a way to deal with it? We are going to discuss the occurrence of burping as one of the gastric sleeve and gastric bypass side effects.
While burping after your surgery is not necessarily anything to worry about, it can be an annoyance for patients.
The important thing to note is that gastric sleeve or bypass surgery results in a number of adjustments to the digestive tract. There are various changes seen in regards to hormones and how your body digests food. These changes can result in some side effects while your body heals from the surgery.
While it is normal, you should know why your body is reacting the way it is and how to manage it. Follow our tips so you can be as comfortable as possible after surgery.
Why Do I Burp More After Sleeve Gastrectomy?
Burping from time to time is simply a normal way for your body to get rid of excess abdominal gas. With or without gastric sleeve surgery, burping is a normal occurrence. Burping can also be caused by a buildup of gas when someone consumes a carbonated drink. This is just one of the reasons why carbonation after gastric sleeve surgery is not recommended.
It can become concerning for patients if burping happens constantly, especially after gastric sleeve or bypass surgery. If you are someone who has experienced an increase in burping after your gastric sleeve surgery, know that this is not unusual and you are not alone.
With the alterations made to the stomach after gastric sleeve surgery, there is higher pressure in the stomach "sleeve." The increase in the incidence of burping after gastric sleeve results as a consequence of this increased pressure.
There will be different reasons behind burping whether it happens initially after surgery or if it develops a while after the surgery takes place. Fortunately, there are ways to manage it.
Burping After Gastric Sleeve
Experiencing burping after your surgery can be a harmless way of your stomach coping with the new changes in your body, or it can be a sign of an underlying disease unrelated to surgery. It is important to note when it starts in relation to your surgery and if you have any other symptoms alongside it.
Digesting Food After Your Surgery
Gastric sleeve surgery results in alterations to the stomach causing the volume capacity to be reduced. This is why meal portions are reduced after surgery and patients feel satiated quicker. Following surgery, the stomach is stiff and does not easily expand.
This means you have less space in your stomach after surgery. When air is swallowed during meal times, the stomach needs to get rid of it to make space for the food. While the stomach is healing and adapting to its new size, patients can experience more gas, resulting in belching.
This should improve over time as the stomach adjusts and heals. The same goes for the development of hiccups after gastric sleeve.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Increased burping can also be associated with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Many individuals suffering from obesity (whether or not they have had bariatric surgery) suffer from this disease. This is when stomach acid comes up into the mouth through the esophagus.
Individuals with GERD tend to swallow more often to clear acid from the esophagus. This can result in increased ingestion of air that accumulates in the stomach and causes burping.
Acid reflux can cause irritation during the digestion process. A common side effect of reflux is heartburn that can be felt after eating. If you feel you are experiencing this, consult with your healthcare provider about the possibility of GERD. This is a disease that can be managed if you know your diagnosis.
Burping Months After Gastric Sleeve
It can be confusing when burping does not occur right after surgery, but is experienced months after. This could be a result of a number of different things.
New Style of Eating
Bariatric surgery requires a number of changes to your lifestyle and diet choices. That being said, sometimes people rush to eat or talk while eating. If you do not eat mindfully and at a good pace, chances are you are swallowing a lot of air when you eat causing you to burp.
Your stomach is put under a lot of strain following gastric sleeve or gastric bypass surgery. Its capacity is reduced significantly. With this understanding, you need to save the space left in your stomach for actual food and not extra air.
Be mindful when you eat your meals. Take your time and chew until the food is a paste.
It is important to note that if you are experiencing more pain than discomfort alongside your burping, you need to consult your doctor. Your doctor will make sure you do not have stomach ulcers after gastric bypass surgery or gastric sleeve surgery.
Stomach ulcers after bariatric surgery can develop at the staple line. A patient with a stomach ulcer can experience nausea and vomiting.
Stomach ulcers are nothing to be stressed about, but you want to address them and avoid gastric sleeve and gastric bypass complications years later. They require treatment, so it is best to see your doctor if you suspect you may have a stomach ulcer.
How to Manage Burping After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
You are not alone if you are struggling with burping after your surgery. It may take time before it resolves, so familiarize yourself with some useful tips.
Avoid Carbonated Beverages
Your calories are restricted after gastric sleeve or bypass surgery, so it is essential to consume nutrient-dense options. Patients should be aware that carbonated drinks (yes, even the diet ones) can cause more harm than good post-bariatric surgery.
The reason your drink is fizzy is that it contains carbon dioxide gas, either naturally or artificially added to create the bubbles. Once you swallow this carbonated drink, it pulls extra air into your sensitive stomach. Your stomach will try to get rid of this excess air by burping.
Aside from burping, carbonated beverages can cause other complications after gastric sleeve surgery. The carbonation can stretch the newly altered stomach. For these reasons, we recommend that you skip carbonated beverages completely.
If water is boring you, try to get flavored, low-calorie enhancers to add to your water to make it more exciting.
Avoid Chewing Gum
Chewing gum may sound like a smart way to keep your mind off senseless snacking, but we recommend avoiding it.
As you chew gum, you are encouraging your body to swallow more air. This can be a big contributor to an increase in burping. Your body will want to get rid of that extra air one way or another.
In addition, chewing gum can actually trigger your body’s hunger signals. This is because once you are chewing, your body is expecting food. Chewing gum can be detrimental if you are trying to avoid excess food consumption.
Skip The Straw
Avoid using a straw for your bariatric meal replacement shakes. Using a straw to consume your beverages creates the same problem as eating too quickly.
As you sip through a straw, you draw extra air into your mouth as you swallow. Extra air in the stomach means you are likely to experience an uncomfortable feeling soon after. Burping is a way of making space in your stomach.
Instead, sip your drinks and protein shakes slowly. You can try breathing out just before you swallow your food. Some patients have had success with this method.
Don't Drink While You Eat
This can be a very difficult habit to break if you are used to drinking while you eat. Remember, your stomach capacity is significantly smaller after bariatric surgery. It is not able to keep up with food and fluids at the same time.
Fluids are still very important and you need to reach 48-64oz of water intake daily. Delay drinking fluids until at least 30 mins before and after your meals.
Stick to Your Portion Sizes
During your recovery period and even well afterward, your doctor will give you meal guidelines. This will be a rough outline of the types of foods you should be eating and how much of it. It is very important that you stick within the range of your recommended meal portions.
Your stomach will not be able to cope if you overload it with unnecessary food. The amount of food recommended for you is based on what your body requires and what your stomach can handle. If you still feel hungry 30 minutes after your meal, try taking in some fluids to make sure your body is not dehydrated.
If you eat more than you should after a gastric sleeve or gastric bypass, you risk vomiting, burping, and increased gas. Save yourself the discomfort and listen to your healthcare provider's recommendations.
Burping is normal for everyone. If you experience an increase in your tendency to burp after gastric sleeve or gastric bypass surgery, this is not necessarily a reason to stress. If you have any accompanying symptoms, this may indicate something else is going on.
Burping right after your surgery is normal as you recover. Your stomach is very restricted in terms of space and will get rid of any excess air swallowed. Burping or hiccups is a natural response.
If you have any feelings of heartburn after eating, this could be an indication of acid reflux. This complication can cause excessive burping as well.
If burping starts a while after the surgery, this can be a result of eating too quickly or talking while you eat.
Make sure you avoid carbonated beverages, chewing gum, drinking through a straw, and drinking while you eat. Also, you should religiously stick to the advice of your doctor when it comes to meal sizes.
Burping can be embarrassing and uncomfortable for anyone. A simple solution is learning how to manage it until it gets better.
Burping After Gastric Sleeve (FAQ)
Should I Get Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
Gastric sleeve surgery has been life-changing for many patients who struggle with obesity, but it is not suitable for everyone. There are certain criteria for people to be eligible for this surgery. If you are someone that has a very high BMI and have unsuccessfully tried to improve your health with diet and exercise, then you may be a candidate.
While the surgery is safe for most patients, it is good to familiarize yourself with the gastric sleeve risks to make an informed decision about having the surgery. Chat with a doctor to see if this surgery would be the best option for you.
Is It Normal To Have Increased Gas After a Gastric Sleeve?
Aside from burping, some patients have experienced an increase in gas after their surgery. As we discussed with burping, there will be some foods and beverages that trigger gas more than others. Pay attention to what you eat just before you experience gas.
Typical culprits for an increase in gas are carbonated beverages, dairy products, beans, certain sweeteners, and refined sugars. Learn what foods trigger you and minimize your consumption to see your gas reduces.
What Foods Should I Avoid After Bariatric Surgery?
You should never completely avoid a food group unless medically advised to do so. Adverse side effects (both long and short-term) can mostly be avoided by eating the right foods in the right amounts.
Recommendations may be made for certain foods and beverages that should be avoided or limited for patients who have undergone gastric sleeve or bypass surgery.
These foods include ‘empty calorie’ foods that do not provide much nutrition to your body, but still contain a lot of calories. This would include baked goods, sweets, chips, and sugary drinks.
Carbonated drinks should also be avoided. They can upset the stomach and pull in excess air which takes up unwanted space. Stick to water, decaffeinated and sugar-free drinks that are not carbonated.
Dry foods and tough meat should also be limited based on your tolerance. You should not be drinking fluids while you eat, so dry food such as nuts and tough meat will be difficult to swallow. It may become easier over time to eat these foods, but you should avoid them until you can better tolerate them after surgery.
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**This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition.