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Alcohol After WLS
What You Need To Know


by Connie Stapleton, PhD



“My surgeon's office repeatedly told us ‘No alcohol for a year’,” Debbie from NY shared in response to OH Magazine’s inquiry about how alcohol affects people after they have WLS. In addition, members were asked how alcohol affected their post-op weight loss. Debbie went on to share her physician’s reasons for his recommendation. First, alcohol can irritate the newly created pouch. Secondly, her doctor informs her that alcohol has an exaggerated effect on patients after surgery, noting that one drink has the equivalent effect of four drinks. Finally, alcohol, he teaches, is nothing more than empty calories with no nutritional value. Debbie said, “With all that we are trying to accomplish with weight loss, why take in more than you really need?” 

Although Debbie may not drink, the majority of post-ops, based on those who responded, do consume alcohol after WLS. In addition, almost all of them concurred that alcohol affects them much more quickly than it did before having weight loss surgery. The specific procedure doesn’t seem to matter in terms of rapid intoxication.

“I have found that since my DS, I get intoxicated very quickly.  On the flip side, I also sober up very quickly -- in less than an hour. I've never gotten a hangover since my DS, even after really pushing the limits one night,” Valerie shared. Regarding alcohol’s impact on her weight loss, she said, “I don't drink but a few times a year, so I can't testify on any effects on weight loss. Cheers!” Katydidit experiences a similar phenomenon. “I wondered if it was just me or if everyone experienced the quick onset and just-as-quick-over-it of alcohol.” After a particularly cheerful holiday party, when she found herself “the life of the party”,  Katy said, “Needless to say, now when I feel the need to indulge I stick to the half glass rule!”

Carol F. shares her personal experience, “ I had my sleeve done 19 months ago. I did go out and have one glass of wine and then did a shot of Schnapps.  Thank goodness I was with friends as they had to take care of me because it was like shooting the Schnapps directly into my veins and I was gone.  The absorption was that fast.  Big lesson learned.”  Patty, too, apparently learned a similar lesson. “Now that I'm a year out, 1 to 1 1/2 glasses of wine and I'm ASLEEP!  No good for nothin... Before surgery I could drink a small bottle of wine by myself....those days are over - THANK GOD!”

Barry agrees about feeling the effects of alcohol very quickly since having his RNY. He said, “Alcohol hits me fast and furious. I get buzzed  quickly, then I stop drinking and sober up just as fast and furiously.  That is why I don’t consume alcohol too often.” Robin, who also had RNY, commented, “Everything in moderation....moderation for RNYer's is less than normal” when it pertains to alcohol consumption."

There are some people, like Jaime, who have dramatic changes in how alcohol affects them after they have had a weight loss procedure. “After WLS alcohol has affected me three times as much as it did before. The biggest difference is, when I get intoxicated now, I don't remember anything. I can have a glass of wine and feel it instantly. It's like the alcohol is being injected instantly in the blood stream.”

Professionals agree that WLS can impact the rate at which alcohol is absorbed, altering the effect is has on a person. The American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons (ASMBS) reported that “with some bariatric surgeries, alcohol is more rapidly absorbed after surgery.” Researchers in Sweden studied the absorption of ethanol and alcohol concentration in women after gastric bypass surgery. They noted “The higher sensitivity to ethanol after gastric bypass surgery probably reflects the more rapid absorption of ethanol,” and “The marked reduction in body weight after the operation might also be a factor” in the more rapid onset of the effects of alcohol following WLS.

Hangovers seem to affect some people, but not others. Nicole from North Dakota, who had RNY “loves wine”, but “if I drink too much, as occasionally happens on a weekend, it affects me for the whole next day. I will feel fine one moment, then an hour later, will feel like I am drunk again.” She believes that “alcohol is dangerous for RNY patients because it goes straight to the blood and liver. I do see how the cross addiction is easy to fall into.”

Dumping after drinking is a problem for some people. “I can't drink wine at all because it makes me dump,” P1pnet stated. “I switched to liquor and sometimes I can have a couple drinks and it is like I drank nothing and other times, the same amount of alcohol makes me plastered.  I don't know what the difference is.  I actually don't seem to get as hung over as I used to.  I have to watch it because I don't know how alcohol is going to affect me.” 

“I can't drink much beer any more”, JFish offered, noting “the fizz in my pouch” makes drinking beer cause too much discomfort. He still drinks now and then, but currently consumes “Canadian whiskey.”  J said he feels the effects of the alcohol “almost instantaneously. It's like drinking on an empty stomach back in the pre-op days. I can no longer differentiate between a one drink buzz and a six drink buzz. So I have to monitor pretty closely. I don't drink often enough to affect weight loss or maintenance.” Beer didn’t sit well with Loiswinkel, either, since she had WLS. “I’m a former beer drinker, but I no longer consume it because the effects are painful. I have now switched to wine.  I am good with two glasses of wine in a 1-1/2 to 2 hour period, but any more than that, and I am walking home.” She said it may be “common sense, age, intelligence, or whatever, but I refuse to put any more than that into my body at any given time. It's just not worth it.”

For some OH members, drinking is no longer enjoyable; for others it’s not an option at all. “WLS has completely taken any enjoyment out of alcohol for me. I drink about an inch off a martini and I'm slurring my words. 30 minutes later, I'm stone-cold sober. I can't find that middle ground of mellow,” Macdame pointed out. Nodakgal does not intend to find out what happens by consuming alcohol. “In all the education I received pre-op, I was told not to drink alcohol as it will be absorbed very quickly and the blood alcohol level rises quickly, making a person over the legal limit after 1-2 drinks.  I don't plan on testing this theory.”  

Approximately 25% of people who have WLS develop a problem with alcohol. Harvard Health Publications notes, “Surgery may change the rate at which alcohol is absorbed, which may increase the risk of dependence in people who are vulnerable to becoming addicted.” OH Member Tacomadragon, believes people who have had WLS have “no reason to drink socially. If you are around people who think less of you for not soaking your pouch in alcohol, find some new companions,” he suggests, adding, “Alcohol damages organs (including your brain) and dehydrates you. People who have had WLS don't need to be dehydrated! If you are maintaining your weight loss, hooray for you! Why would you risk adding empty calories that don't enhance your health?”

Debbie’s surgeon recommended abstaining from alcohol for a year.” My surgeon only advised me to abstain for 30 days and said then if you like to have a drink once in awhile, the occasional beverage will not hinder weight loss,” Greenpunchbuggie from NJ said. Whatever you were told pre-op about consuming alcohol after your procedure, it seems advisable to heed the advice of the professionals at surgicalteam.com who inform that “It is advisable to be careful with alcohol-containing beverages after surgery,” noting that “Alcohol in any form is rich in calories and easy to take. Large intake of alcohol is therefore contrary to the aim of the operation.”

If you choose to consume alcohol after WLS, be sure to have a designated driver. It is clear that most people experience the effects of alcohol more quickly and intensely after their procedure. Be cautious and drink minimally as you learn how alcohol will affect you. If you are drinking to cope with unpleasant emotions that arise following WLS, do as Tabbyfree did and go to counseling. “I learned how to ‘cope’ with my emotional eating by going to therapy for two years in preparation of having my surgery,” she said.  If you are using alcohol to help you cope with life after your procedure, Tacomadragon suggests you find a healthier way: “There must be at least a dozen harmless ways to cope - i.e., make yourself more comfortable, deal with problems, learn to like yourself, work up the nerve to do whatever you are afraid to do - without a drink. Granted they make take more effort than pouring a drink…” You are worth that effort. Therefore, if you find yourself using alcohol to “feel better” or to “deal with life” then stop drinking and get professional help.

A drink containing alcohol does contain nothing but empty calories. None of the OH members mentioned anything negative about weight regain or failure to lose weight in relation to their consumption of alcoholic beverages. If, however, a person drinks too much too often, those empty calories would likely translate to added pounds.

If you drink, do so sparingly, never drive, and don’t use alcohol to try to fix unpleasant feelings. As the commercials say, “Drink responsibly.”

Click here to read more OH Member comments and experiences with Alcohol after WLS.

 


Connie Stapleton, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and owner of Mind/Body Health Services in Augusta, Georgia

CONTEST IS CLOSED, WINNER ANNOUNCED ON THE OH BLOG.
Leave a comment below for a chance to WIN a copy of  Eat It Up! by Connie Stapleton, Ph.D.

The drawing will take place on December 31, 2009 using random.org. Your placement in the comments section will determine your entry number.  The total number of comments received at the time of drawing will be entered and the winning number will be selected. Watch our blog and main message board sticky post area for winner announcements.



118 Comment(s)
Comment by dcummings on Dec 17, 2009 at 02:28pm
I am biased having quit drinking in 1994, but I feel 1) it is just empty, wasted, nonprotein calories and 2) the possibility of cross addiction is not something worth fooling around with.
Comment by Nevadan on Dec 17, 2009 at 04:33pm
I don't drink because of allergies, headaches and rashes with alcohol. Not worth it!
Comment by yummy64 on Dec 17, 2009 at 07:13pm
Thank you for this article. While I might have a drink after surgery this article has made it more likely that it will happen wayyy after surgery and then it will be a glass of wine with food and friends to keep an eye on me. - and it will be a rare thing.
Comment by Trixie218 on Dec 18, 2009 at 12:49am
I have been thinking about having a drink lately and it's been almost two years since my surgery. Unfortunately alcoholism runs in my family and I was told that after surger I had "the trifecta" for it because of my personality, family history and WLS. I think I'm going to continue to stay away. Better safe than sorry!
Comment by Judi421 on Dec 18, 2009 at 03:39am
I was not losing, in fact I had gained 18 lbs. I was having 2 glasses of wine each night. Not only was I consuming empty calories, but it gave me the munchies which caused me to eat junk after dinner. Yes, it can become a "habit" or addiction so I am glad to say that I have cut out the wine and have started losing again!
Comment by SMEAH78 on Dec 18, 2009 at 03:53am
i haven't had my surgery yet but found this to be an interesting article...i just read about a cross tranferring addictions support group, i know this is real and know with my addictive personality i will have to stay away from alcohol...
Comment by Bethajig on Dec 18, 2009 at 06:12am
I was never much of a drinker before surgery and after reading this article I probably won't even try a drink. Thanks to everyone who shared their experiences.
Comment by antbesi on Dec 18, 2009 at 06:14am
I'm not a drinker but thank you for this article. I will be able to help educate those who do choose to drink after WLS.
Comment by Ladyamnesty on Dec 18, 2009 at 06:56am
I enjoyed this article. I am not a regular drinker, but it is nice to know that every once in a while I can have a drink if the occassion calls for it.
Comment by divataunia on Dec 18, 2009 at 07:50am
I would LOVE a copy of this book, and this is great timing as I've been discussing this very topic in the message boards now. At two years out, I *do* drink, but want to make sure that I'm healthy and smart about my consumption. Thanks much!
Comment by pat1074 on Dec 18, 2009 at 09:12am
This is a very good article - I would love to have a copy of this book!
Comment by [Anonymous] on Dec 18, 2009 at 09:25am
Important and good information for my patients about a topic I don't hear mentioned too often. Would love to have the book!
Comment by KathleenHuffman on Dec 18, 2009 at 09:56am
I enjoyed this article, it really is important to be aware of how different consumables affect your mind and body with relationship to your WLS. I have found that I really dont like the feeling after having a small drink. I feel my heart racing, exagerated sense of being drunk, and I think it has caused me to put on several pounds. It is my goal not to allow myself to punish "Me" with that again. It truely is no longer a TREAT but very uncomfortable.
Comment by Pjoohdle on Dec 18, 2009 at 10:19am
I am on holiday in Mazatlan and last night went to dinner with a friend. I ordered a margherita. I thought it particularly strong and felt the effects rapidly. I had a second drink and felt quite "happy". Most unusual for only 2 drinks. Today I read this article. Now I know why I felt so happy.... 8 drinks - wow!!! I shall definitely watch my alcohol intake now! Thanks for the article. It seems I am always learning something new since my WLS in July.
Comment by Magickat on Dec 18, 2009 at 10:56am
I haven't had my surgery yet. This was very interesting. I have no problem with alcohol, I like a glass of wine or a cocktail now and then, so will be interested in seeing how it goes post-op. As with everything else this is a very personal thing that each person needs to decide for themselves on their personal journey.
Comment by maidmisty on Dec 18, 2009 at 01:18pm
TY for this article. I am 2 1/2 years out of RNY and have lost 125 lbs.Company was having a glass of wine and I thought why not! My reaction was like Carol F. (thank goodness) I was at home. I felt the buzz right away (but kept sipping)As we were talking I fell asleep! I never woke till the next morning! Now, I must add I have lost way more weight the the Drs. wanted and am considered under weight. Could this have made a difference?
Comment by justme35 on Dec 18, 2009 at 02:18pm
I haven't had my surgery yet however this is something I'm glad to know. Wow I didn't realize the affects of alcohol after surgery. I feel for the people who haven't read this and the comments.
Comment by stinky on Dec 18, 2009 at 02:46pm
I had the surgery 7 years ago. I started drinking a lot and get really drunk easily. I'm still overweight and I wondered if the alcohol had any effect on the pouch opening because I can eat a big amount now and I don't get full. I drink too much and am seeing a counselor about it now.
Comment by sandykamiott on Dec 18, 2009 at 03:22pm
I am only 3 months out and I would be scared to have a drink. Thanks for the educational article.
Comment by texanlady on Dec 18, 2009 at 04:14pm
great article i have lost 102
Comment by PhilM on Dec 18, 2009 at 04:15pm
I was an alcoholic before surgery (nov 8 05') and for the life of me, I cant stop. I black out every time I drink now, Ive gone through a first ever DUI that I didn't even know I was a part of. I cant drink without blacking out. Ive lost my job, lost everything dear and close to my heart. I wish I never had this surgery! With all the good it has taught me, and all the good Ive been given, it doesnt stand a chance to all the bad Ive done. Is there any hope for me
Comment by cptncherie on Dec 18, 2009 at 05:04pm
I had a friend who had R/Y. She started just having a glass of wine with friends she had over for dinner. Enjoyed the quick rush and began doing it more often. A year later, she is considered an alcoholic. Unable to stop and feels the need for the constant rush. Gained all 150 lbs back and has lost much respect from friends and family. Why tempt fate? Go without. . be healthy and happy!
Comment by TeresaR on Dec 18, 2009 at 06:05pm
Very interesting
Comment by TheM0lly on Dec 18, 2009 at 07:02pm
Changing addictions (food to alcohol) is like changing seats on the Titanic.
Comment by traceyleigh on Dec 18, 2009 at 08:45pm
As a drug and alcohol counselor I have treated people who developed problem drinking after WLS. It seems sometimes people are not mentally/emotionally prepared and instead of over indulging in food, as they once did, they now over indulge in alcohol and it becomes a life altering problem.
Comment by beentheredidthat on Dec 18, 2009 at 08:51pm
I don't really have a taste for alcohol anymore except for the ocassional margarita. I and can't catch a buzz for anything. Weird that it should be working jsut the opposite. However, immediately after surgery, I started smoking again, after I had quit for 8 years. I think it's just that oral fixation thing. And I want to quit again, but seems much harder this time.
Comment by [Anonymous] on Dec 18, 2009 at 09:07pm
I'm not a drinker really, but from time to time, I will have a small sip of wine... Reading this will make me think twice about even a sip...Interesting...
Comment by Bonamy on Dec 18, 2009 at 09:13pm
Wow I had no idea the percentage was that high, 25% is a very good reason to steer clear.
Comment by JSkuce on Dec 18, 2009 at 09:13pm
I think that if you drink in moderation it's okay. It is true that it effects a person with wls faster but if you know that you should be careful. You didn't go through all that surgery to trade one addition for another. If get help right away because your indangering yourself and others.
Comment by Frozen_Peach on Dec 18, 2009 at 10:14pm
I'm not a drinker but this looks to be a helpful article for those that do.
Comment by kmcoolone on Dec 19, 2009 at 03:41am
This article was extremely informative to a pre-op like me. I didn't know exactly how alcohol affects people after weight loss surgery. I just knew I was told not to drink. Anyway thanks for writing such an informative article.
Comment by allbright1 on Dec 19, 2009 at 04:39am
I do not drink very often so I too was wondering what effect a mixed drink or tequila shots would have on me. After reading this information and everyone's comments I think the research has been done for me and I have determined that having a drink is not that important.
Comment by llenaj on Dec 19, 2009 at 07:30am
I quit drinking more than 20 years ago, but thanks for the info that I can pass along to people wanting to know.
Comment by kmmc on Dec 19, 2009 at 07:47am
Thank you this is valuable information for the post WLS patient. As the daughter/sister/mother of alcoholics, I have chosen abstinence. Thanks again, Kathi
Comment by wateryglen on Dec 19, 2009 at 08:12am
Yep! I'm a very cheap date now! And I can see how easy it'd be to get addicted to that instead of food. We need to be careful!
Comment by pieparty on Dec 19, 2009 at 08:26am
I was always an occasional drinker before surgery. I have had one small drink in the nine months since my surgery, it did affect me quite quickly.
Comment by postopcal on Dec 19, 2009 at 09:00am
I'm 2 years out from RNY, @ my goal of wearing a medium. I'm able to have a glass of wine or a mixed drink occasionally without trouble, but I know cross-addiction is common. So, experiment if you want the occasional drink, and if you come from a family of addicts (to anything) be very cautious.
Comment by kprefer on Dec 19, 2009 at 10:55am
I'm only 2+ months out and not really a drinker anyways. I'll wait the year before I even attempt the casual drink at a seasonal party.
Comment by hiddensoul003 on Dec 19, 2009 at 12:17pm
About 2 years ago I did drink 3-4 times a week and I had a small bottle of wine. I quit drinking due to spiritual reasons and for health reasons. I have chose not to partake in alcohol after my RNY due to the reasons in this article, and at the request of my surgeon. I want to be as successful as I can be and I am afraid of cross-addiction.
Comment by Chasman on Dec 19, 2009 at 01:25pm
Thanks
Comment by lisa48 on Dec 19, 2009 at 01:33pm
This was a very good article. Last night was the first time I drank and last week made 1 yr since surgery, I had no problem drinking it didn`t make me drunk any faster but I only had two drinks as I wasn`t sure how it was going to affect me ....Thanks
Comment by frant822 on Dec 19, 2009 at 03:40pm
I've been banded a month and knew a little about the effect alcohol has with the surgery but this article was very informative. Thanks. P.S. A family member had RNY several years ago and has a problem with cross-addiction so it does happen and it's awful.
Comment by ajzmom on Dec 19, 2009 at 05:04pm
I was a big social drinker before surgery. That slowed down alot when I become a mom. I had a sleeve gastrectomy 6 months ago. I've lost over 80 pounds. I have gone out a handful of times to have cocktails. I definitely drink less and get buzzed easier. I have found that I can drink clear alcohols like vodka in moderation without issues. If I drink too much (out for more than a couple hours), the next day I usually pay for it.
Comment by cushiebunny on Dec 19, 2009 at 07:05pm
Thanks for the info!
Comment by rosebowl on Dec 19, 2009 at 07:30pm
Great article!
Comment by Glitzymitzy on Dec 19, 2009 at 07:49pm
Appreciated the knowledge--not quite a month since Surgery so I won't even attempt it for awhile, but I appreciate knowing what to expect.
Comment by stinkynelson1 on Dec 19, 2009 at 07:51pm
I had surgery 8 years ago & have transfered by addiction now to drinking. It is real & I feel that the effects of drinking you get drunk & sober so fast that I just keep adding more wine. I know I need to quit all together I know it will help with the 20 lbs I have put on since having a baby but since having her the drinking has made it so the weight has not come off. 2010 will be my resolution to stop drinking & get this weight off. Thank you ~ stinkynelson1@aol.com
Comment by Mike33756 on Dec 19, 2009 at 11:46pm
I went through too much to even chance taking a drink to going back to drinking even for pleasures.
Comment by sislv63 on Dec 20, 2009 at 12:36am
Alcohol is not one of my cravings, therefore, it seems silly to indulge and I'd rather consume those calories in proteins. Happy holidays and New Year to all.
Comment by rebeccaford on Dec 20, 2009 at 02:06am
I do like wine and in just the last few weeks started having a glass at night. I know why I'm drinking and it's not for the best reasons. I've been reading a lot about the cross-addictions and I think it would be better to be addicted to exercise instead :-) Thanks for the article.
Comment by hibond on Dec 20, 2009 at 03:14am
I have had my surgery. Alcohole affect me quickly than before but eventhough I enjoyed it now. This was very interesting. I have no problem with alcohol, I like a glass of wine or a cocktail now and then, so will be interested. As with everything else this is a very personal thing that each person needs to decide for themselves on their personal journey. Alcohole and smoking is bad for health before surgery too eventhough peoples likes and enjoyed it.
Comment by freebyrd_1964 on Dec 20, 2009 at 04:10am
i thought about having a marguarita on my one year anniversary but i dont think i will now.
Comment by teaner on Dec 20, 2009 at 05:11am
I igorned my doctor's advice after surgery. I would have a drink because my stomach would hurt. Then it became a cycle of drinking daily to calm my stomach. My drinking became out of control after two months. What a nightmare. I went to rehab and have been active in AA now for a year. I am feeling great and my stomach doesnt hurt anymore. I have met other women in recovery who had the same problem after surgery. I am not saying you will turn into an raging alcholic if you drink after surgery but please be careful, it is a poweful drug.
Comment by pmitch50 on Dec 20, 2009 at 05:22am
excellent article I am not a drinker but it was very interesting to see the effects. I can let others know now that I am more educated about it. thank you
Comment by Nursomama on Dec 20, 2009 at 05:51am
I am nurse finishing up my graduate degree in nursing and a gastric bypass patient (05/06). I am doing my master's research proposal on the development of alcohol addiction after WLS and am interested in any research out there on this subject (I have found very little so far). I tried to follow your link to the Harvard Study but it was dead. Could you possibly send me a copy of that study? I would be very grateful! Thanks for the interesting article.
Comment by yex1 on Dec 20, 2009 at 06:54am
that is interesting. I have never had a drink before as I am not of legal age but this deters me even more
Comment by Miss_Beth on Dec 20, 2009 at 07:00am
I am going to save this article! This is so interesting and informative. I haven't consumed any alcohol yet (I'm only 3 months out) but would like to once in awhile eventually. I hardly drank before surgery, I'll drink even less after surgery. I would just like to have one once in a great while. :)
Comment by kmom1420 on Dec 20, 2009 at 07:58am
Getting ready to have my surgery (RNY) on Jan 5th. I was wondering about this, I also don't drink but a few times a year but wanted to know for those times I might just want a beer! Probably won't be for a long time though....
Comment by Riceroni on Dec 20, 2009 at 08:19am
Well I am glad that this shouldn't be an issue for me. I am not much of a drinker, maybe once a year and only like 1 drink so I could take it or leave it. I will just be the permanent DD. LOL!
Comment by LapBand2008 on Dec 20, 2009 at 08:39am
Very informative article. I drink a little wine (1/2 to 1 glass) only occasionally (once a month or less) and have not noticed any difference with it's absorption since receiving my lapband a year ago. My husband is laid off and I am disabled so there is no money for Christmas gifts this year. Receiving this book would be a wonderful Christmas present for me and a real encouragement.
Comment by Char2 on Dec 20, 2009 at 08:59am
GREAT ARTICLE! I had 1/2 glass of wine at my Employee Christmas party last year, and felt loopy for the next hour! I think I'll stick to apple cider this year! :D
Comment by Dragonguard on Dec 20, 2009 at 09:51am
I can see many things in this article that I have personally experienced when drinking alcohol since my surgery, however the biggest problem that I have experienced that I have not seem to read has been the fact that with some alcoholic drinks I experience a feeling of bloating or extreme gas buildup. Beer is the biggest problem sometimes whiskey is the next biggest. Since I used to be a big drinker I have had to experiment with different types of alcohol to find the one type that least discomforts me. I feel that you really shouldn't have to forgo the pleasures of having a drink now and then the way some people and doctors have suggested, however I do feel that moderation and experimentation is a must to find what your capable of being able to digest and handle. I do recommend that the following things be adhered to prevent the most discomfort and side effects to those who have had surgery and I do caution that the effects are widely different in others then in some... 1)Wait until you are at least 1 year past post-op before you partake in the use of alcohol, 2)Start off sparingly to see what effects certain types have on you, 3)Always have a family member or a really good friend by your side and that they remain sober as you will need someone to watch over you and make sure your safe as you will be several shades to the the wind, 4)DO NOT and I repeat this DO NOT DRINK BEER as it has the worst side-effect on you then any other alcohol out there, 5)Try Wine 1st to minimize the effect on your body, 6)ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DOCTORS DIRECTIONS AS HE DOES KNOW BEST... Please note that this is only a suggestion but that it be strictly followed if you take it. I like to party sometimes and I know there are others out there who feel the same and I suggest that there are others out there who react different then others do when partaking in the use of spirits. I also encourage you to consult your Doctor in the use of alcohol as each surgery is different then the one another may have have. So to those who can and may want to drink and have permission to do so... "CHEERS & PARTY ON DUDES AND DUDETTES!!!"
Comment by Wissixwe on Dec 20, 2009 at 09:53am
I did try a drink and the effect was really scary. Lesson learned.
Comment by happypeach on Dec 20, 2009 at 10:17am
I was a "special occasion" only drinker before surgery, and will probably be the same after. I am 6 months out, and have had one glass of wine. I am a great fan of Donnis Stapleton ..... had the great pleasure of meeting her at the OH Conference!
Comment by happypeach on Dec 20, 2009 at 10:31am
Connie even ... lol ... dang fingers!
Comment by bsigler on Dec 20, 2009 at 10:42am
I have a half of a light beer about once a month or so. I just am not a big drinker. I am 2 1/2 years out and doing great!
Comment by jdg1224 on Dec 20, 2009 at 11:33am
I am about a year out from my GBP surgery. At about 5-6 months out, I did have a drink-Bloody Mary. I basically sipped this drink and had plenty of ice in it. I will say that it did give me a buzz very quickly. I do not drink regularly and if I do intent to have a 'watered-down' cocktail, I make sure that I am not driving. I am very conscientious of the empty calories, how alcohol will affect my pouch, cross-addiction, and driving after having a drink. This article was very informative and helpful. This is a keeper!!
Comment by katherinehuff on Dec 20, 2009 at 12:35pm
It's not worth it! All of my friends drink and have come to accept that I no longer do. It's strained some of my friendships but it's helped me to realize that maybe we don't have all that much in common if that's the only thing we did to enjoy each others' company. I know I'm MUCH happier now than I was before, even without the booze!
Comment by crroany on Dec 20, 2009 at 12:54pm
Very informative article! Thanks!
Comment by drbeeme on Dec 20, 2009 at 02:03pm
I didn't like alcohol before surgery... and I like it even less now. It's like someone hit me in the back of the head/shoulders with a baseball bat. ONE sip and I feel like... YUCK!
Comment by MaurieG on Dec 20, 2009 at 02:33pm
I enjoy a glass of wine or two a week. I do get "buzzed" faster than before my RNY. I know to stop at 2. I go by the "Everything in Moderation" rule. I'm human after all.
Comment by Sindarin on Dec 20, 2009 at 02:53pm
In the four years since my surgery, I've probably had six light beers and 2 glasses of champagne---big time drinker! But each time, the alcohol has had the immediate effect the article talks about---just last week, I met a friend after work for a Christmas dinner and had a beer---same effect. I think WLS folks need to be especially awre when driving. One drink could impair your ability to drive safely.
Comment by wildheart63 on Dec 20, 2009 at 03:05pm
Great article. but i don't drink because of medication for breast cancer.It is just not worth the calories or my health. lori
Comment by chrissingslead on Dec 20, 2009 at 03:08pm
My Lap Band surgery will take place in February. Although my surgeon has told me that I will be able to have some wine after the procedure/healing has taken place, I'm glad I read this article in advance, though, because it definitely makes me think about taking it SLOW AND EASY until I see how the alcohol affects me. Happy Holidays to All! Chrissingslead
Comment by LizzieLizard on Dec 20, 2009 at 03:14pm
The issue with cross-addiction is certainly a real one. I have a close friend who works in a substance abuse treatment center. She has told me that she has had many, many post WLS patients there who are now dealing with alcohol addiction; it has been so severe that they cannot manage their daily lives/jobs/family/etc... I'm only 5 months post-op, but when I can have a glass of wine, I'll be very careful about keeping moderation in mind.
Comment by s.brunet on Dec 20, 2009 at 03:33pm
Considering this is the holiday season, I was happy to see this article. I had actually just consulted with my physician to get an answer on the exact same question. Luckily for me, I'm not a drinker, but I think with the holidays, the question of a small glass of wine did come to mind. But it's fine, I can do without.
Comment by clhanson on Dec 20, 2009 at 03:45pm
I am 5 months post-op and am a non-drinker, except for an occassional drink at the holidays. Well, the holidays are here, and I tried a "shot" of Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum at a recent party. Like many people are writing, the "buzz" hit me pretty quick, but I took it easy, having already read some information about WLS and alcohol. I did fine. Felt the effects but no ill-effects. I will still plan to limit my consumption, as I always have throughout my adult life.
Comment by Cakes on Dec 20, 2009 at 04:10pm
What a timely article considering the numerous opportunties to drink during the holidays. I have been to two events, recently, where I had a great time and realized that everyone else around me was drinking. However, I was thinking about having one New Years Eve. I think it is only a mental thirst. I would like to see an article comparing the types of drinks, beer, wine, hard liquor, etc. Thanks
Comment by [Anonymous] on Dec 20, 2009 at 05:14pm
I'm 16 months post-RNY. I had already stopped having alcohol before I my surgery because of the anti-depressant medication I am on. Most of the time I don't really miss it. There are some occasions where I am at a party and it feels like I am the only one not drinking.
Comment by CathScraps on Dec 20, 2009 at 05:38pm
I had surgery the 3rd week in September and I had heard that you should take it easy with alcohol but I don't recall that my surgeon made a big point of saying not to drink, maybe because I've never really been a big drinker. I did go out for my company Christmas party and I had a couple of drinks, I didn't notice that they really affected me, but my surgeon was shocked that I was o.k. after drinking that much, it kind of made me nervous thinking maybe there's something wrong with me.
Comment by pamigrant on Dec 20, 2009 at 07:21pm
Great article. Will share with my support group. I do feel if our advice was to NOT drink alcholic bev. then we should follow that!!
Comment by kynewport on Dec 20, 2009 at 07:48pm
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Comment by Arizcurl on Dec 20, 2009 at 08:46pm
It has been almost 4 1/2 years since my surgury and I'm having trouble craving candy .I never use to crave but all of a sudden I want to eat sweets. So if that is a problem alcholic would be just as bad.
Comment by meauxmeaux on Dec 21, 2009 at 01:37am
What a great article for this time of the year!! I am a vertical sleeve and anthough I can drink with my sleeve I choose not to take in the extra calories. There were some great statistics shared in this article. Thank you.
Comment by twopugs1284 on Dec 21, 2009 at 03:26am
Having to deal with an alcholic, I say it's best to stay away from it. Thanks
Comment by BigJimNoMore on Dec 21, 2009 at 05:59am
I have seen alcohol ruin many lives in my wife's family, so it's easy for me to avoid the temptation. Now I get my rocks off on protein shakes.....LOL
Comment by lucystarr2006 on Dec 21, 2009 at 06:09am
I think it is like sugar either you will consume it or you won't. Each of us knows what we will and will not live with or without.
Comment by siouxzq on Dec 21, 2009 at 06:16am
I haven't read all of the comments so someone may have said this before, but I think some of the issue is also that you've lost a significant amount of weight. Even without the WLS, the weight loss alone will make a big difference in the amount you can tolerate. I've lost 70 and 80 pound without WLS and the same thing happened. Now that I've had WLS one or two glasses of wine is all I can drink, which is fine with me. But I've also lost almost 90 pounds so that is not a big surprise. I think a lot of people go out and party a lot more after they’ve lost weight and that's not a good idea for many reasons not the least of which is that it can have a negative affect on your relationships with the people you love. I think for women who have always been over weight this is a real issue. They may not have ever had the male attention that they are suddenly getting and they use the drinking to deal with it. WLS can change your life for the better or sometimes for the worse. Everything in moderation is the key. Of course if we knew how to do that, we probably wouldn't have needed the WLS to begin with. Don't transfer your addition to food to an addiction to drink. That will never be a healthy way to deal with anything and will be detrimental to your life and the people you love.
Comment by keddy on Dec 21, 2009 at 07:30am
I have recently begun drinking a small glass of red wine several times per week and haven't had any negative effects. I would say, however, that I feel the effects of the alcohol slightly sooner than before I had my gastric bypass. Additionally, I contribute the wine to the big improvement in my cholesterol levels when I had my 1 yr. anniv. appt. with my surgeon earlier this week. He commented that the improvement was remarkable. Adding wine to my routine every so often is the only change I can think of that would have this positive effect.
Comment by Chaundra on Dec 21, 2009 at 07:51am
As a professional I see the most important message is to set post-op patients up for success by teaching them the research and treating everyone as individuals. After getting to the point of needing surgery, it is fair to say that it can be easy to cross the line when told "moderation"
Comment by brenfromiowa2az on Dec 21, 2009 at 08:58am
Good info to know!
Comment by kandermax on Dec 21, 2009 at 09:14am
Had a Christmas party this past weekend - had one drink and felt fine. I have never been a drinker.
Comment by DawnCh on Dec 21, 2009 at 09:56am
I don't drink and my surgeon doesn't think its a good idea for ANYONE to drink at all after bariatric surgeries. Interesting article.
Comment by brickchick on Dec 21, 2009 at 10:31am
My surgeon is a moderation person. I do drink red wine on a fairly regular basis. My weight has creeped up a little.
Comment by PatB-L on Dec 21, 2009 at 10:44am
Since surgery I have tried a very small amount of red wine (few tablespoons) mixed with PowerZero or G2. I have spend 53 years being MORBITLY OBESE and committed to this program prior to surgery so therefore it seems silly to do anything that would interfere with the process. I am so high on the fact that I have lost over 100 pounds and continue to loos that I do not need anything to alter that feeling. Thank you for the article and the input from so many others. Always interesting reading!
Comment by Queenlalisa on Dec 21, 2009 at 10:53am
Just a little wine really wipes me out and then my blood sugar spikes and then drops. My Dr. says alcohol goes straight to your liver and will damage it very fast. He has had a patient to die from trading an eating addiction for a drinking addition. My Dr. says NO alcohol at all!
Comment by im3d2 on Dec 21, 2009 at 04:53pm
A very interesting article. I was not much of a drinker before surgery but this is good information to know in case I ever decide I do want a drink. My surgeon also advised NO alcohol.
Comment by yoshichow on Dec 21, 2009 at 05:23pm
Beer drinking has caused me to gain back 70 lbs and I never remember going to bed. It really sucks,but as people say,it is an addiction traded off for another.Don't start if you haven't already!
Comment by ibeanniebe on Dec 21, 2009 at 06:10pm
I never have been a drinker because I just fall asleep and there just isn't any fun in that. So I just don't drink anyway and see no reason to start now even though I am well over a year out from my surgery.
Comment by Laurie_09 on Dec 21, 2009 at 07:03pm
Great article on a topic that may be touchy to some. I have not touched a drop of alcohol since my surgery. Being in the medical field I was well aware of what alcohol could do to my pouch. It is good that this info has been put out there for people to make informed decisions.
Comment by irishzen on Dec 21, 2009 at 07:48pm
This article has just cemented my desire to not even bother to try and drink alcohol again. I knew all about it being empty calories but hadn't really considered how alcohol can become a new addiction. Thanks again OH for another helpful article.
Comment by deb30906 on Dec 22, 2009 at 03:41am
Fortunately, I don't care to drink at all, having quit many years ago when I began to have hangovers. I couldn't take the next day. I am not going to take any chances now.
Comment by rjhljh3 on Dec 22, 2009 at 06:49am
I have never really enjoyed drinking. Alcohol has always affected me pretty quickly so I would be afraid to try it now. I am not saying that I will never drink, but I am only 5 months out now and really have no desire to drink.
Comment by rjhljh3 on Dec 22, 2009 at 06:50am
Also I have alcoholism in my family so it scares me to drink. I am afraid I may have the tendency to be an alcoholic.
Comment by lacres81 on Dec 22, 2009 at 12:25pm
Alcohol is not something that I was doing b4 surgery. There have been too many alcoholics in my and my husbands family, that i do not want to risk it. I already have an addictive nature- food- was bad enough I cant imagine life being addicted to alcohol also.
Comment by darrahclarke on Dec 23, 2009 at 08:15am
Personally, being honest with myself, I miss a great glass of wine. I do not miss feeling sick when my bloodsugars were high or I was out of breath. I am more than happy to trade off a great glass of wine for 15-20 more years of living! Being healthy has given me sooo much more than a glass of wine could ever give me. Love you wine but this chick is on a life long journey that will last until I am old and pruney!
Comment by suzkl on Dec 23, 2009 at 08:24am
Although I have not had surgery yet Jan 19, 2010 the article just re affirms why I should not be drinking alcohol afterwards. Thanks great article.
Comment by karendove on Dec 25, 2009 at 09:48am
I'm 8 years post op and have kept every pound lost off! I drink socially, occasionally. I limit myself to no more than 2 drinks because I get intoxicated so quickly. It wears off just as fast, but in no way do I want to even chance regaining a single pound or have any other problems that may be alcohol related. Moderation and knowing your limits are key, also following your Dr.s recommendations.
Comment by easelgoingpat on Dec 27, 2009 at 01:29pm
After 8 years since my RNY I have gained back so much of my weight. I haven't followed the guidelines that I should have. The worst thing anyone who has had gastric bypass surgery can do in to transfer addictions. There isn't a good way to handle alcohol, the use of any alcohol will have lasting effects, empty calories, and is very dangerous to your lasting success. I have lived it.
Comment by kelibr on Dec 28, 2009 at 07:10am
I had my first wine after Christmas (about 6 months out). It didn't really have a much greater effect than it did after I didn't drink for a year while pregnant and breastfeeding my child. I don't plan on drinking much. But it's good to know now I can have a glass of wine before (or one hour after) dinner with out passing out. I do agree it's a lot of calories for nothing.
Comment by TerriTeresa on Dec 28, 2009 at 09:15am
Season's Greetings to all - what a timely article! I too have experienced the "quick affects" of alcohol. I enjoyed a half glass of wine after dinner, and felt it go "straight to my head". All my very supportive friends found this comical considering that in the past I have been the one pouring the drinks, and taking care of them! What a change WLS has brought! Not only the loss of pounds, but the loss of perhaps undesireable habits! One friend has given me a tiny, really SMALL, smaller than a shot glass, for wine in the future - my friends really are the best!
Comment by vellenturner on Dec 29, 2009 at 07:09am
I rarely drank before the WLS and haven't at all since the WLS. I may have a little Kaluha, Baileys and cream sometime next year (after 1 year anniversary) but I always made this drink very light. I am hopeful that if want one after a year, I will be able to have one and not have it affect me. At least that is the hope. I've never been one to like the taste of alcohol, so my drinks are mild.
Comment by [Anonymous] on Dec 29, 2009 at 08:24pm
i am 26weeks out of RNY and ate 2 small bites of a bananna foster at i dinner party and got a pretty good buzz.
Comment by dgreep on Jan 31, 2010 at 10:26am
I drank occasionally prior to my surgery. I drank occasionally a couple of years after the surgery. A promotion a very long commute caused a major life change two years after the surgery. I started to drink more enjoying the way the alcohol affected me because of the surgery. That should have been my danger sign! All I can say is now I can polish-off a 18 pack of light beer during the afternoon and evening hours. I'm getting help, but I may need to find work that is less stressful. If you're considering drinking after having WLS, please think carefully about it. If you can stay focused on a healthy lifetyle, you probably can handle a drink or two. If you have a "life-event" that detours you from healthy habits, you may find the drink or two isn't enough.
Comment by ericklein on Apr 19, 2011 at 05:01pm
Just admiring what a fantastic job you've done here Connie! Keep up the GREAT work!
Comment by Amaranthea on May 10, 2011 at 12:46pm
I read so many introspective comments by all of you here - but remember there was a part where we we out of control. And alcoholiism is a WAY strong slippery slope my friends. Stay Strong - reach out to folks if you need to. We didn't change into anything - we just kept evolving into something else. If you need help - there will be peopler hole be here.
Comment by skwilson1990 on Nov 07, 2011 at 08:25am
Thanks for the information! I am afraid to try alcohol.
Comment by lindalou001 on Jan 09, 2012 at 10:10pm
Post Date: 1/9/12 10:04 pm I experienced becoming an alcoholic after having this surgery - and I never had a problem before. I've done a little research and this is becoming a growing problem. Current research is showing rates may have climbed to over 30% of us going on to develop a problem with alcohol or drugs. Whether this is from addiction transfer or the actual physiological changes made during the surgery - remains to be seen. I don't have the answer to that but the addictionologist I saw believes that it is more related to the actual surgery and the areas that are forever altered. Both outpatient and inpatient treatment centers are experiencing this increase. The good news is that it doesn't matter how or why we developed a problem with alcohol. The solution is the same and there is hope for anyone who is experiencing this. I went to counseling, then tried outpatient treatment, did AA, and ultimately went to an inpatient program where I finally found success. After treament, I continued with AA and have remained sober. The bad news is that given the severe changes that were made from my gastric bypass my alcoholism progressed VERY rapidly (3 years) compared to other alcoholics that drink for 30+ years. We do NOT have all of our intestines or stomach to metabolize the alcohol so the effect is greater. It's still hard for me to believe that this happened to me in my 40s after a lifetime of never having a problem with alcohol. I had to just accept that this is the way things are now, just like we had to right after our surgery. Good luck to all and please spread the word, we are at great risk after the surgery - the numbers speak for themselves. Linda
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