Part of gastric bypass surgery involves reducing your stomach to a small pouch, which many bypass patients refer to as a “stomach pouch.” Caring for your stomach pouch and making the most of your operation is key to successfully losing weight after a gastric bypass.
About Stomach Pouches and Gastric Bypass
In the course of gastric bypass surgery, staples are used to section off a small portion of your stomach. That small portion is technically referred to as a gastric pouch, but many patients simply call it a “stomach pouch.”
A stomach pouch from gastric bypass surgery is only a fraction of the size of the whole stomach, being about as large as a walnut. As such, it drastically reduces the amount of food you can consume before feeling full. The end result is that you—ideally—eat less, focus on more nutritious foods, and ultimately lose weight.
Caring for Your Stomach Pouch
After gastric bypass surgery, it’s important to take good care of your stomach pouch by eating properly. While the chances of it stretching to your stomach’s original size are very low, it will still expand naturally over time. The more you put into it on a regular basis, the more it can stretch.
It’s also possible for the stoma—the hole that leads into your intestine—to stretch if not cared for properly with a good diet. Stretching the stoma will allow food to pass through your stomach faster, which keeps you from ever feeling full for very long.
To care for your stomach pouch and prevent permanent stretching, try the following:
- Avoid snacking and grazing during the day.
- Measure how much food it takes to feel full and keep portions to that size.
- Plan meals to avoid skipping important nutrients or replacing them with grazing.
- Avoid carbonated beverages.
- Chew food thoroughly to prevent stretching the stoma.
Resetting Your Pouch
If you are several months out from your surgery and notice that you have to eat much more than before in order to feel full, it may be time for a pouch reset. This can be done through revision surgery, but it’s also possible to do so through diet changes.
A pouch reset functions something like a cleanse, where you start out with clear fluids, move on to pureed and soft foods, and then replace your diet with nutritious items like proteins and vegetables over the course of a week or two.
In order to be successful with a dietary pouch reset, you will need support since it’s a very difficult process that may leave you feeling hungry or craving unhealthy foods on a regular basis. Your bariatric surgeon and a dietitian can guide you through the process, and friends and family can provide much needed moral support.
If you need to do a pouch reset, Dr. Malladi can provide the support and resources you need to be successful. For more information, contact Dr. Malladi Bariatrics & Advanced Surgery today.