Gas 101: What To Do After Surgery

We have all experienced the sense of bloating, cramping, belching, flatulence and even pain that intestinal gas can generate.  Many individuals can recall experiencing an extreme version of this discomfort immediately after their surgery.

Gas is very normal and often results from swallowing air when eating, drinking and talking, poorly fitting dentures, and from bacteria in your digestive tract feeding on the undigested parts of the foods you eat.

Living with a bariatric procedure can make individuals even more sensitive to the symptoms of gas, so we suggest the following tips to reduce gas and ease discomfort:

  • Swallow less air
    • Sip, do not gulp, chug or slurp
    • Drink from an open cup instead of to-go containers
    • Avoid using a straw
    • Avoid carbonated beverages
    • Avoid chewing gum and hard candies
    • Ensure dentures are well fitted
  • Investigate potential trigger foods with the help of a Food and Symptom Diary. You may find that your symptoms are better or worse on certain days, and this could be related to the foods that you are eating or other factors (i.e. stress).
    • e. legumes, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, onions, pears, apples, etc.
    • Consider eating trigger foods in smaller amounts and over time you may be able to tolerate more
  • Limit/Avoid
    • Drinks made with high fructose corn syrup (i.e. pop, sweetened specialty coffees/teas) or sugar alcohols (i.e. xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol)
  • Stay hydrated daily with 2.5-3 litres of fluid from all liquid sources
  • Move your body to help move foods through your digestive tract

In the unpleasant event that you do have gas pain, try and walk as much as you feel is safe and consider speaking to your doctor or pharmacist about introducing an over-the-counter product like Beano, Pepto-Bismol or Gas-X.

If you are experiencing ongoing digestive issues, consider working with a Registered Dietitian who specializes in digestive health. They can help you identify which foods may be contributing to your symptoms and provide you with strategies to help you feel better, as well as eat a balanced and nutritious diet.

 

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