Alcohol and Bariatric Surgery

Sep 26, 2019

Thinking of having an alcoholic drink after bariatric surgery?  You might want to think more carefully after reading this article.

For many people, alcohol consumption and a good time go hand-in-hand.  However, bariatric surgery changes the anatomy of your digestive system, which in turn changes the way in which alcohol is metabolized and absorbed.  Once the alcohol passes through the small stomach pouch, it enters the small intestine where it encounters a large surface area whose function is absorption.  This absorption occurs rapidly in bariatric surgery patients, leading to the increased effects of alcohol when a much smaller amount is consumed.  Although food in the normal stomach slows absorption of alcohol, bariatric patients are trained to not eat and drink at the same time.  As a result, drinking alcohol on an empty stomach adds to the speed at which one feels the effects of alcohol.

To put it simply, one drink can put you “over the edge” and may be all that is needed to risk your safety.  In one poll of post-bypass patients, 90% reported being more sensitive to alcohol after surgery.   Over 25% of respondents claimed that they had lost muscular coordination after only one or two drinks.  One patient was issued a DUI after having one glass of champagne.  Even more alarming, a female patient hit and killed a pedestrian after consuming less than two glasses of wine.

Your safety is our highest concern.  We educate you to bring awareness to issues that are important to you after surgery.  In addition to the risk of harming yourself or others by becoming intoxicated, alcoholic drinks contain no nutrients needed by the bariatric patient.  Many alcoholic beverages contain large amounts of calories, carbohydrates, and sugar, which can cause weight gain.  In addition, the risk of transfer addiction (replacing an addiction to food with an addiction to a substance like alcohol) can become a problem for some after surgery.

If you feel that you have a problem with drinking too much alcohol, contact our office.  We can help.

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