You may be wondering can you stretch your pouch after gastric bypass surgery? Find out if you can stretch your stomach, stretch your pouch or stretch your gastric sleeve after weight loss surgery and what to do about it?
What Is a Pouch?
A pouch is basically what your stomach is after gastric bypass surgery. Your normal stomach, which holds up to 4 quarts of food at one time, is no longer able to process large amounts. It is “shrunk” down so that you can only ingest a small amount of food at a time. This helps you to lose weight.
What Is a Gastric Sleeve?
A gastric sleeve is larger than a stomach pouch. It is a part of the stomach that remains after you have had gastric sleeve surgery.
The remaining stomach is shaped kind of like a tube, with a narrow opening at one end. This opening connects to the intestine.
Can You Stretch Your Pouch?
Yes, you can stretch your new gastric pouch. After gastric bypass surgery, it is normal for the pouch to stretch over time.
This is caused by the stretching of your stomach that occurs naturally as you eat excess food and drink liquids.
How to Stretch Your Stomach?
When you eat more food, the stomach, over time, will, and can stretch. As you start to eat, the brain sends a signal to your stomach to relax.
As your stomach relaxes, you trick your stomach into thinking that it needs more and more food before it’s time to send out the ‘I’m full’ signal. When you don’t feel full until you’ve gorged yourself, you are going to overeat.
Once the food is eaten and it passes out of the stomach, the stomach shrinks back to its smaller size.
If you overeat often, the small stomach pouch starts to stretch to that size and causes the stomach to retract less and less back to its original size.
Gastric Sleeve Stretching After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
The same goes for gastric sleeve stretching. If you frequently overeat, your sleeve will begin to stretch. This is why it is so important to eat slowly and stop when you begin to feel full. This will help prevent weigh regain.
How to Tell if You Stretched Your Pouch?
There are a few ways that you can tell if your pouch has stretched after gastric bypass surgery.
The first would be weight gain. If you notice that your weight has crept up over time, even if you have been eating the same amount of food, this may be a sign that your stomach has stretched.
Another way to tell is by noticing changes in your digestive symptoms. If you are experiencing heartburn or acid reflux more often than normal, this may be a sign that your stomach is stretched and needs to be addressed.
Pain After Eating
Another possible sign of pouch stretching is discomfort or pain after eating. This can be a sign that your pouch has grown too big, and you may need to speak with your doctor about possible treatment options.
What to Do if My Pouch or Gastric Sleeve Has Stretched?
If you suspect that your pouch has stretched after gastric bypass surgery, it is important to talk to your doctor about the best course of action.
You may need to make some dietary changes or try other methods, such as using a gastric sleeve bougie to help manage your pouch size and prevent further stretching.
In more severe cases, you may need additional surgery to correct the issue.
Be Mindful When Eating
Overall, it is important to be mindful of your eating habits after weight loss surgery to prevent pouch stretching and other issues. Pay attention to how much food you eat and avoid any unhealthy meal.
Just a small amount of protein can help maintain the size of your new stomach and prevent less restriction.
By eating slowly, stopping when you feel full, and making healthy food choices, you can help keep your stomach in good shape after surgery and maintain your weight loss goals.
Simply stop eating when you feel full. You don’t have to eat everything on your plate. Be mindful of your calorie intake and recognise your hunger signs as well as feelings of fullness.
How to Prevent Stretching Your Pouch
If you notice that your pouch is stretching more and more after gastric bypass surgery, there are some things that you can do to help prevent further stretching:
Pay Attention to Portion Sizes
Pay attention to your portion sizes. Try not to overeat frequently, especially if you’re feeling full before you’ve finished eating all of your food.
Eat More Protein and Drink Plenty of Water
In addition to watching your portion sizes, you can also try eating more protein and drinking plenty of water.
Protein helps to fill you up quickly, while the water keeps your body hydrated and functioning properly. Filling up on protein will keep you fuller for longer and can help you to not stretch your pouch.
Some great solid foods that are packed with protein include:
- Cottage cheese
- Soft steamed fish
- Scrambled eggs
Other foods that can help you feel fuller for longer are soft cereals such as thin oatmeal, healthy vegetables, and fruits.
Finally, try to avoid snacking between meals. Eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day can help you to avoid overeating and keep your pouch healthy.
With these simple tips in mind, you can prevent pouch stretching and maintain your weight loss goals after gastric bypass surgery.
Does Drinking Water Stretch Your Stomach?
Drinking water can help keep your body hydrated and prevent dehydration, which may in turn help to prevent stomach stretching, however, it’s the way you drink water that you need to be mindful of.
Drinking large amounts of water before or during meals is not recommended for bariatric patients and it’s something gastric sleeve and gastric bypass patients should avoid.
What Happens if the Pouch Stretches From Water?
Your pouch volume is quite small and drinking a lot of water in one large volume can easily stretch or even overfill your pouch, which can cause uncomfortable symptoms and other health issues.
Instead, it’s better to drink smaller amounts of water throughout the day, both before and after meals. This will help to keep you hydrated while preventing any potential stomach stretching.
Can Liquids Stretch Your Pouch?
Eating when your stomach is full of liquids can cause severe discomfort and pain and will result in stretching your sleeve or pouch.
Do Carbonated Drinks Cause Your Stomach to Stretch?
Can Carbonation Stretch Your Pouch? The answer is yes!
Carbonated beverages are not recommended after weight loss surgery, as they can cause gas, bloating, and discomfort in the stomach.
Carbonated drinks may cause your pouch or gastric sleeve to stretch and when combined with food or too much liquid, fizzy drinks can cause severe stretching and discomfort.
To prevent pouch stretching after gastric bypass surgery or a gastric sleeve, it’s important to avoid drinking carbonated beverages with or immediately before meals. Instead, try drinking plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and keep your pouch healthy.
Can You Shrink Your Stomach?
You can shrink your stomach if it gets stretched out after a gastric bypass. The process of shrinking your stomach back down after surgery is referred to as bariatric pouch reset or the pouch reset test.
What Is a Bariatric Pouch Reset?
When a patient that has weight loss surgery feels that they are not having the same full feeling that they had after surgery.
The pouch reset or pouch test is following a liquid and soft food diet for 5 days and then adds solid food back into the diet. This resets the full feeling.
What Is the Cottage Cheese Test?
One way to test the capacity of your pouch is the cottage cheese test. This involves eating half a cup of cottage cheese and then waiting for a few hours, if you are still hungry, that means that your pouch is stretched.
If you do not feel hungry after eating the cottage cheese, it means that your pouch is the right size.
What Percentage of Gastric Bypass Patients Regain Weight?
Most patients who have gastric bypass will lose 70% of their excess weight.
About 50% of patients will gain a small amount of this weight back. The average weight regain is about 5%. But overall, most patients can maintain the weight loss long term and keep a healthy weight.
Can You Have Gastric Bypass Revision Surgery if Your Pouch Has Stretched Too Far?
Yes, you can have gastric bypass revision surgery if your pouch has stretched too far. Gastric bypass pouch tightening is also known as revision surgery.
Bariatric revision surgery is a type of surgery that involves adjusting the size and shape of the stomach to help reduce food intake once more, as well as addressing other factors that may be contributing to weight gain or difficulty maintaining a healthy weight after surgery.
If you are struggling with pouch stretching or other complications after gastric bypass surgery, your surgeon may recommend revision surgery to help address these issues and help you reach your weight loss goals.
Talk to your doctor about the best options for you, including bariatric revision surgery if necessary.
Can You Stretch Your Gastric Sleeve or Pouch?
Overall, there are many things you can do to prevent gastric pouch stretching or reduce the risk of pouch stretching after gastric bypass surgery.
Making healthy food and beverage choices, being hydrated, and following your doctor’s recommendations can all help you keep your pouch healthy and reduce the risk of pouch stretching.
With these tips in mind, you can get back on track with your weight loss goals and maintain a healthy weight after bariatric surgery.