Hydration: 5 Simple Ways to Fit it All In After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

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64 ounces. That’s how much water and low or no calorie liquids you should be drinking each day after your gastric sleeve surgery. Does it sound like a lot? That may be because you weren’t drinking enough water before your bariatric surgery. Perhaps you were drinking other fluids like soda and juice in place of water. Now that you’ve had gastric sleeve surgery and are following a low calorie diet to lose weight and keep it off, water and other noncaloric fluids are essential.

After gastric sleeve surgery, your doctor and dietitian will recommend that your fluids be consumed in between meals instead of with meals. This is to ensure that you are getting enough protein, vitamins, and nutrition from your food intake rather than filling up on water when you should be eating. If drinking in between meals is a change for you, it may take some getting used to.

Not getting enough water can be very dangerous. 64 ounces of water and noncaloric fluids is a good rule of thumb for most people after gastric sleeve surgery, but, as hydration is dependent on many things (including body weight, medical diagnoses, medications, activity levels, etc), always follow your doctor’s orders for proper hydration. Dehydration is among the top reasons for readmission to the hospital following bariatric surgery. It can lead to dry skin, headaches, rapid heartbeat, constipation, lightheadedness, irritability, confusion, low blood pressure, and fever. But, careful monitoring of your fluid intake can help prevent dehydration in many instances.

Use these 5 tips to ensure you are getting 64 ounces of liquids each day:

  • Keep Track
    Keep track of your fluid intake to ensure you are getting enough. Since you will likely only be drinking small amounts of fluids at a time, you will have to drink often, and may easily forget how much you’ve had. Jot down how many ounces you consume and when. Start early and periodically add it up during the day to make sure you are on track to fitting in all 64 ounces. If not, consider setting up a schedule and setting an alarm on your phone to help you keep track of when you should be drinking.
  • Bring it Everywhere
    Bring a drink everywhere you go. Bring water with you in the car, at the grocery store, while you take the dog for a walk, everywhere. If you have it with you, you can drink it. If you don’t bring it, you can’t drink it. It’s that simple.
  • Keep Your Eye on It
    Use a see through water jug that displays ounces on it. If you fill a 24 ounce water jug in the morning, it should be easy enough to figure out how many ounces you’ve had before lunch by looking at the level. No guesswork needed. If you use an opaque water jug or one without the ounces labeled, it won’t be obvious if you’re not drinking enough and you may miscalculate your fluid intake.
  • Plan Alternate Fluids
    Include non caloric or low calorie liquids as a snack or treat. Sugar free jello or popsicles can make a good dessert as they provide very few calories, count as a liquid, and satisfy a sweet tooth. Even low sodium broth can be a good afternoon snack that can satisfy a savory craving and provide liquids at the same time.
  • Make Your Water Tasty
    Infuse your water with some flavor to entice you to drink. A slice of lemon, lime, orange, or cucumber can give your water some flavor with negligible calories. Or use a zero calorie sweetener to make your water more flavorful without adding calories. If it tastes good, you may be more likely to drink it.

The above suggestions are offered by Dr. Shillingford, MD, PA, a Center of Excellence surgeon specializing in advanced laparoscopic and bariatric surgery. Dr. Shillingford performs gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band surgery for patients using insurance and those who choose to pay the affordable out of pocket price. Dr. Shillingford’s surgical skills, excellent reputation, and affordable prices attract patients from near and far, including Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa, Georgia, New York, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas. Dr. Shillingford encourages all of his bariatric surgery patients to pay particular attention to their water and fluid intake in order to prevent dehydration and its complications.

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