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Hello Everyone,

I'm in terrible need of advice. I am one month and three days post-op, gastric bypass. I just got home from spending almost five days in the hospital due to gastrointestinal bleeding. Throughout my hospital stay, I kept asking myself why this would have happened when I was complient and followed all the post-op rules.

Then, today when I got home, I think I figured it out.

I was about to make my daily Protein Shakes (since the doctor told me to resume protein) when I noticed some interesting fine print on the canister: "contains 100mg of caffeine pet scoop." Oh. Holy. Crap.

I had purchased this canister at the surgical weight loss center UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF MY DIETICIAN. Purchasing three canisters of this brand was a requirement for surgery. Given that nothing was said by my dietician when I purchased it, I naturally assumed it was ok to buy this particular flavor. After all, why would they sell you something that contained ingredients you couldn't have?

Given that the recipe the dietician wanted us to follow per day was two scoops plus twelve ounces of milk, that means I was drinking 200 mg of caffeine for the first month!! It's no wonder I had so many problems!

Caffeine as you are all aware, is forbidden the first six months after surgery, as it can lead to serious gastrointestinal irritation, dehydration, and difficulty losing weight. Given that all that clearly happened to me, that particular flavor of Protein Shake had to be the culprit.

My question is, what would you do in this situation? I know part of it is my fault for not ready the label, but again, I trusted the dietician and the surgical center. I had so many witnesses when I bought it, you think someone would have said something if they knew.

I don't know how to approach the surgical center about this. Part of it is clearly my fault for not reading the label thoroughly, but at the same time, I trusted them. That's why I'm asking for advice. I see my surgeon again this week to follow-up on last weeks' hospital stay.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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Start my talking to them. If it were ME, I'd probably say something like, "How much caffeine I allowed to have after surgery?" And "What kinds of problems could I have with caffeine after surgery?" Kind of innocent like. Then if they said "none" they will have to answer why they required you to use a product that they knew was detrimental to your success. I think I might also have the recorder going. (I dont know about Ohio, but in AZ conversations can be recorded without two person consent.) It might just come in handy if the situation turns into a "he said, she said" thing.

I'm pretty certain that physicians are not allowed kickbacks from products or services, and this kind of smacks of that. My surgeon gave me a list of the supplements I needed to take - Vitamins and Protein shakes/powders. They had them in the office, but they gave me a comparison list of at least a dozen acceptable Protein Shakes and I chose for myself which brand I would use.

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I am sure that the caffeine had nothing to do with the bleeding. It was probably related to poor healing or just plain bad luck.

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Did the physicians in the hospital offer any clue to what caused the bleeding?

My surgeon doesn't prohibit caffeine, rather says a small amount is okay. I would definitely get a clarification from your surgery team and try to find out if caffeine was the culprit.

Sorry you had to go through that! I know it must have been very scary for you and quite perplexing since you had followed all post op rules.

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I'm sorry about your surgical complications, but I'm not so sure it was caused by the caffeine. It could have just been one of those unfortunate things. My doctor didn't prohibit or limit my caffeine post-op at any point.

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3 minutes ago, rene50 said:

Did the physicians in the hospital offer any clue to what caused the bleeding?

My surgeon doesn't prohibit caffeine, rather says a small amount is okay. I would definitely get a clarification from your surgery team and try to find out if caffeine was the culprit.

Sorry you had to go through that! I know it must have been very scary for you and quite perplexing since you had followed all post op rules.

Thank you, it was scary!

My physician just told me that every year, there's always one "bleeder" and this year, it was me. All he told me was that it was coming from the bypass section, not the pouch.

That's interesting. The surgical weight loss center I got to has a strict no caffeine rule. It's printed all over every page of every packet we get from the moment we start the program. So since my first pre-op appointment, it has been drilled in my head that caffeine is bad.

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6 minutes ago, GradyCat said:

I'm sorry about your surgical complications, but I'm not so sure it was caused by the caffeine. It could have just been one of those unfortunate things. My doctor didn't prohibit or limit my caffeine post-op at any point.

Thank you. I'm actually curious now why some doctors tell you to stay away from certain things and other doctors don't. Now I'm all kinds of confused.

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I've never heard of this no coffee thing. They offered us coffee at the hospital even.

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Every surgeon has different restrictions/requirements. From nearly day one I’ve had a cold brew every morning as well as 2-3 cups of caffeinated tea each day. My surgeon has no problem with this as long as I also drink my Water each day. The caffeine is highly unlikely to have been the source of your bleeding. I’m glad you’re on the mend now!

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15 minutes ago, MsMocie said:

I've never heard of this no coffee thing. They offered us coffee at the hospital even.

As I said, it was drilled into our heads since pre-op.

In the binder they gave us it says caffeine causes "dehydration, gastrointestinal irritation, and increased appetite. It can also slow down the weight loss process."

I'm so confused.

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14 minutes ago, kristieshannon said:

Every surgeon has different restrictions/requirements. From nearly day one I’ve had a cold brew every morning as well as 2-3 cups of caffeinated tea each day. My surgeon has no problem with this as long as I also drink my Water each day. The caffeine is highly unlikely to have been the source of your bleeding. I’m glad you’re on the mend now!

Thank you! I feel like I way overracted now.

But like I said, it was drilled into our head to avoid from day one.

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49 minutes ago, elcee said:

I am sure that the caffeine had nothing to do with the bleeding. It was probably related to poor healing or just plain bad luck.

I hope so. I think the most challenging part of this journey is while we're all on the same one, we all come from different doctors who prohibit and require different things. Everyone's case is different. It can be frustrating when one doctor says, "this is allowed" and another says "this isn't allowed."

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9 minutes ago, kc892020 said:

Thank you! I feel like I way overracted now.

But like I said, it was drilled into our head to avoid from day one.

I can understand your reaction since it was drilled in your head to avoid caffeine, then they sell you a Protein Powder with caffeine. Very confusing.

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I have gone through 3 surgeons over the past 18 months while I was doing my research. All three of them warned me about Caffeine, they provided similar "warning" but none related directly with post surgical issues but more related to the affects of Caffeine on the body.

Caffeine causes dehydration and acts as an appetite stimulant. I am not a morning coffee drinker but was told to say goodbye to those "sugar free" Monsters (I like the Orange Can flavor) I used to replace coffee for a morning Caffeine fix.

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I've posted this on every forum where appropriate, and I'm gonna again:

I'm always astounded at the lack of consensus these bariatric doctors have. Everything is waaaay all over the map concerning pre-op and post op diet requirements. Some allow this, others ban that...I really wish they'd get together at some symposium and come up with some guidelines they all would use and then maybe things would be less confusing for their patients!

Edited by JRT Mom

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