6 Reasons Why You Might be Fatigued After Weight Loss Surgery

by | Nov 17, 2021

After weeks of anticipation and preparation for weight loss surgery you have finally made it the other side. You have had a successful gastric sleeve or gastric bypass surgery but now the endorphin levels have dropped and for some reason you feel absolutely exhausted.

You are not alone.

6 reasons why you might be fatigued after weight loss surgery

It is not uncommon to feel tired after the early recovery following any surgery. There are several factors that contribute fatigue. However as time passes during your recovery, your fatigue should decrease and you will start to feel recharged with new energy levels.

1. Anaesthetic

During your surgery you will be put to sleep with a general anaesthetic. These medications will linger on in your blood stream over the first few days contributing to feeling tired, “groggy” and nauseous. This is normal However this feeling should start to subside during the first week as the levels of anaesthetic medication in your circulation decrease and you start to feel better day by day.

reasons to feel fatigued after gastric surgery

2. Dehydration

Fluid to one of the building blocks that fuels the body. Dehydration following weight loss surgery is one of the main factors that contribute to fatigue both in the short and long term. Both Gastric Bypass and Gastric Sleeve surgery reduce the size of the stomach which means that you can no longer gulp a large volume of fluids contributes to dehydration and fatigue. Learning how to drink small frequent amounts to prevent dehydration with your new small stomach can take some time to adjust.

Prevent dehydration by: Starting drinking fluids early and consistently throughout the day. It helps to carry a water bottle with you wherever you go and measure you daily intake. Aim for minimum 1 – 1.5L/day. If you are struggling to drink due to nausea or pain, then see your treating doctor. Beware of other signs of dehydration such as feeling thirsty, dry mouth, feeling dizzy, peeing little and dark coloured urine.

dehydration after gastric surgery

3. Stress and Sleep

It is well known that stress and poor sleep result in fatigue. Often the lead up weight loss surgery can be stressful for many people. Similarly there is also stress on the body after surgery as the tissues and staple-lines heal. This stress does not only contribute to fatigue but can also interfere with healthy and regular sleep which is require do maintain good energy levels.

stress and sleep after gastric surgery

4. Lack of Protein

A high protein diet is essential in the recovery following gastric sleeve or bypass surgery. We recommend 80 – 120g of daily protein. Your protein intake is directly linked to energy levels. A high protein diet will also enhance your healing and improve your weight loss. Protein should always be consumed as the first part of the meal. Closely follow your dietician’s advice by adding protein powders to fluids and focusing on protein rich foods such as eggs, fish and beans as you progress through the dietary stages.

Lack of protein after gastric surgery

5. Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency

Surprisingly over 50% of patients have a vitamin deficiency before surgery and are not aware. It is important that this is recognised and corrected before surgery. Gastric Sleeve and Gastric Bypass reduce the capacity of the stomach and can affect absorption of Vitamins and Minerals. Following surgery patients are required to take a daily lifelong vitamin to top up their levels to prevent deficiency the can lead to significant side-effects including fatigue. Common deficiencies include Iron, B12, Zinc and Vitamin D. Sometimes treating fatigue can be as simple as treating a deficiency.

vitamin and mineral deficiency after gastric surgery

6. Depression and Low Mood

Weight loss surgery is a big decision and it’s not uncommon to feel a bit sad and overwhelmed in the first few weeks following surgery. Patients are dealing with the shock of many new changes before the weight loss kicks in. It is normal for some people to feel down with a sense of regret. The good news that this is temporary and will pass with time and your energy levels will bounce back. If you have a history of depression be sure to take your antidepressants. If you find you low mood persisting it is important to seek support through your bariatric team and psychologist rather than struggle alone.

Depression and Low Mood after gastric surgery

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Reasons you feel fatigued after gastric surgery

Dr. Andrew Kiyingi

Dr. Andrew Kiyingi

With 16+ year’s clinical experience, Dr Andrew Kiyingi is a specialist weight-loss surgeon at Perth Bariatric Surgery with advanced training in minimally invasive surgery. Graduated from the University of Otago (NZ), he was awarded with University Gold Medal in General Practice and Distinction in Surgery. He is also a Surgical Trainer for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.