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Drinking Alcohol after surgery

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Hi! I was wondering if anyone knew when it was ok to start drinking alcohol again after surgery? It seems like everyone's saying different things regarding drinking post surgery. I'm 2 weeks postop right now but was wondering if I could drink by the end of July? I want to be able to Celebrate graduations and birthdays with my friends again ):

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Every surgeon is different. My program is avoid for 6 months. Definitely not this early on. I was told for the first 3 months to stick to the the program while the stomach is still healing.
Your body reacts differently to alcohol post Surgery.

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Physically your surgery should be healed well enough to eat or drink just about anything in 6 weeks. Virtually every dietary restriction after this point is about nutritional goals not protecting your surgery.

Everyone says something different because our surgeon's programs say different things. Rule of thumb is to follow your surgeon's program. Picking and choosing from different programs effectively means you are no longer on a program, so be careful not to fall into this first trap.

Many of us have had to change our relationship with food. In my family food was a central aspect of celebrations. In fact whenever anything went good we ate to Celebrate. When it went bad we ate to commiserate. We ate in joy and sorrow, triumph and tragedy. Learning to deal with these emotions without food or drink was quite a change. This doesn't mean that food or drink can never be a part of these events, just that food or drink does not need to be the focal point.

How you approach this early post-op period will set the foundation for your future with food and drink. We each have different goals and with those come different actions. Make sure your actions are in line with your goals.

Good luck,


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Posted (edited)

Most surgeons are different, but the minimum is usually 6 months. My surgeon's office was 1 year. Alcohol hits you harder after surgery and is also empty calories. They also worry that food addiction will transfer to alcohol as it's very common in WLS patients. So maybe ask your surgeons office what their guidelines are and decide from there.

Edited by NovaLuna
spelling error

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Well said @The Greater Fool.

One of the reasons, we’re encouraged to avoid alcohol (besides the high calories of course) is to avoid the risk of swapping your food addiction to another addiction like alcohol. I watched my friend’s drinking increase very noticeably after her surgery. She did eventually realise but we were concerned for her. Not saying that’s you but it is something to be conscious of.

Honestly, I had my first drink at 2 months for my cousin’s 40th. I nursed that gin & tonic for hours. I wasn’t really enjoying it as I did before surgery., plus my taste buds had changed & I was conscious of the gas in the tonic upsetting me. I only have a glass of alcohol about once a month now & I still take ages to drink it. My friends like a glass or several but my not drinking or drinking very little doesn’t affect how we socialise or Celebrate together at all.

Remember if you’re drinking you’re not eating & eating is way more important & even more so especially at a month post surgery. Alcohol is empty calories & you should be concentrating on nutritionally dense calories while you are losing. Because of your low calorie intake, any alcohol you do consume will have a greater impact on you.

But, ultimately it is your choice.

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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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I agree with what everyone said, but I will also add this... alcohol lowers your inhibitions, so you might eat things that aren't great choices and end up not feeling great and that would ruin the celebration...

Focus on making the graduates and your family and friends the things you Celebrate, not food and drinks. Become the group photographer if you need to keep your hands busy. (you can just use your cell phone for this) Or dance up a storm in a new outfit that fits your new fab self!

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