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Hi

I am 5 months into my journey after a bypass. I'm having a few issues but doing ok. I was wondering why alcohol isn't allowed for 12 months? Does it damage your new pouch or is it normal health advice? Can anyone shed any light on this please?

Thanks 👍

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I’m also about 5 months out from bypass. My surgeon told me okay to have a glass of wine at June family reunion (would have been @ 3 months), but suggested I try it at home first to see how it affects me post WLS. In general, he doesn’t encourage it because calories in should be Max nutrition during weight loss phase and drinking on so few calories/carbs cannot be good for us. Due to Covid, family reunion was cancelled so I haven’t even tried it. If your surgeon said one year, he may have a good reason for it-it makes sense.

Edited by Lily66

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alcohol has a lot of calories, plus cross addiction is unfortunately not uncommona among WLS patients - some people who've never had addiction issues pre-surgery can develop alcohol issues or alcoholism.

early after surgery I'm guessing it could be damaging if you're not fully healed. After that, that's probably not a huge risk -- but I'm guessing they think alcohol addiction may be more likely to happen within the first few months or something - or it may be the calorie issue - I'm not sure.

I do have a glass of wine or two maybe two or three times a year, but I didn't have any alcohol at all until I was about three years out. Be forewarned that it hits you FAST.

Edited by catwoman7

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I was given the following reasons to refrain from alcohol: (1) empty calories (2) can contribute to worsening GERD (3) metabolization of the alcohol may have undesired effects with your new digestive system (4) risk of transfer addiction.

I was not told never to have it again, but to use caution before proceeding.

I rarely had alcohol during weight loss phase, I would guess probably less than 10 times the entire time, and these times wouldn't even be an entire regular "serving". It was always dry red wine or gin/vodka with soda (less calories and less carbs). I once had a couple sips of a flavoured soju like 2 months post op and ended up on the bathroom floor for over an hour. Not pretty.

I can get tipsy/drunk reeeaaalllly quickly (and on much, much, much less than pre-op). But I also sober up astonishingly quickly as well. 1 drink and I'm def affected. 2 drinks and I'm drunk. But about an hour later I'm totally back to normal again.

I'm almost 2 years post op now and I drink fairly regularly (particularly since COVID started!), though I still stick to red wines and spirits with no sugary mixers for the most part (with the exception of Kahlua, an important ingredient in espresso martinis)

P.S. I am NOT advocating drinking to all, especially if your team advises against it. Everyone is different and should aim to know their limitations and stay within them. Some may have more trouble with this, which is probably why lots say to just stay away. It can become a slippery slope....

Edited to add: I just realized the title of this thread was for bypass. Oopsies, I'm a sleeve, and I think it may be a bit different, between the two: alcohol will bypass a portion (or all?) of the small intestine in by-passers and go directly to the the large intestine, which results in different alcohol metabolization rates...

Edited by ms.sss

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Doctors' philosophy on this vary from a few weeks to never again depending upon their experiences. The basic issues are:

Healing - alcohol is somewhat corrosive to the stomach lining so one needs to give things a chance to heal first, Typically we see a few weeks to a few months sited for this.

Alcohol tolerance - rapid stomach emptying means it tends to hit faster, and with less (i.e., a "cheap drunk") so care must be taken there,

Transfer addiction - we can no longer satisfy whatever addictive tendencies we have with food, so it is easy to transfer that addiction to something else, like alcohol, drugs, shopping, gambling, etc. What was a casual habit of a glass of wine with dinner occasionally can easily turn into full blown alcoholism.

Liver health - starting as morbidly obese, or worse, our livers are not usually in very good shape to begin with (hence the "liver shrinking" pre-op diets that are often prescribed) and the liver is further stressed from its role in metabolizing all that fat that we are rapidly losing. It doesn't need any more stress from ingesting a known liver toxin like alcohol (not a judgemental thing, just our physiology at work).

My surgeon is also a biliopancreatic (livers and pancreas) transplant surgeon, so he is in the no alcohol as long as we are losing weight camp (and ideally forever) and indeed we sign a contract to that effect - he doesn't want any of his bariatric patients coming back onto his transplant table!

Those are the issues in play, and some aspects bother different surgeons to different degrees, so they have different policies. Check with what your surgeon's policy is, and decide for yourself - we are all adults here.

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Depends.

I can remember being advised not having alcoholic beverages for about 4 months or so and that we should try with caution because one can get drunk really quick. For me, it can hit like a hammer, depending on the beverage.

However, this is only the "technical site of it" so to say. That one can have alcohol after some weeks or months doesn't mean that one should drink alcohol regularly (WLS or not).

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I'm just not that interested anymore. If I drink more than one drink I practically get a hangover before I get a buzz.

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I'm seven months out and have had alcohol several times. My surgeon said no alcohol for 6 months, but I had a few glasses of wine at a party at 5 months out. I don't drink on a regular basis, and never more than a few glasses of wine, but I haven't noticed it has a differnet affect than before surgery.

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7 hours ago, MsMocie said:

I am not being insensitive or judgmental, but why is that alcohol so important? it is just empty calories...

The reason is that your new stomach lining needs to heal and alcohol might cause damage to it. Different program list all from 3 months to 12 months. Most reccommend alcohol never again, which I understand is quite Utopia, BUT it shouldn't be that hard just to leave it alone most of the time.

Also you don't know your body anymore, and you have no idea how you are gonna react to alcohol, so it is for your own safety. You cannot handle the same amounts as before, half a glass might make you drunk, or do bad decisions, or find yourself in unsafe situations.

You are being judgemental. Alcohol is just empty calories, to you, but why do you think there is anything wrong with someone enjoying some good wine with dinner, or beer while watching a game with friends, or savoring a well made cocktail?

As to the OP - my experience is similar to @ms.sss. I drank rarely during my WLS phase. I didn't want to add the empty calories and slow down my weight loss. Once I got near goal I added alcohol back in. Now at 2.5 years out my alcohol consumption is pretty similar to pre WLS. Alcohol definitely hits me harder and faster, but is nothing unmanageable. But I attribute that more to being 1/2 the weight I was pre WLS then anything specific to my sleeve.

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1 hour ago, sillykitty said:

Alcohol definitely hits me harder and faster, but is nothing unmanageable. But I attribute that more to being 1/2 the weight I was pre WLS

..ah good point...forgot to factor that in as well.

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15 hours ago, sillykitty said:

But I attribute that more to being 1/2 the weight I was pre WLS then anything specific to my sleeve.

It's different for the bypass people. When I first tried coke zero with whiskey it hit hard and fast. Luckily I tried it at home as advised, lol.

I rarely drink alcohol, it was never my drug of choice, and that makes me extra sensitive on top. Interestingly enough I didn't notice a lot of change with weight. I used to get bombed on a relatively small amount of alcohol at my highest weight, too.

Edited by summerset

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2 hours ago, summerset said:

It's different for the bypass people. When I first tried coke zero with whiskey it hit hard and fast. Luckily I tried it at home as advised, lol.

agreed. I'm one of the presenters in the pre-op classes at my clinic (or was for the three years before COVID hit, that is...). I'm scheduled on the same day as the health psychologist. She always goes over the stats on alcohol consumption and effects. Although I don't remember the exact figures, for sleeve patients, the effect is somewhat faster - and stronger - than for "normal" (non-WLS) people. For bypass patients, it's quite a bit faster and stronger. It's probably due to having no pylorus - the alcohol goes immediately into your small intestine and then immediately into your bloodstream.

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I also think it's mainly because of the mental impact of drinking. After few glasses, you could lose the knowing of limits, so. Besides, it depends on the alcohol you want to consume. In cases of dry red wine - it's totally fine to drink 1-2 glasses. But beer, sweet cocktails, or even strong alcohol are prohibited not only after a bypass but for a healthy person too. Believe me, you don't want to know what alcohol addiction is or other kinds of it. All of the Scottish Inpatient Treatment Services know me personally (at least they did). I haven't been drinking any type of alcohol for 2 years now.

Edited by dinajafer

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