Alcohol after bariatric surgery

Are you aware of the effects of alcohol after bariatric surgery? It is very crucial because alcohol can cause severe effects on your body after bariatric surgery. When you undergo bariatric surgery, certain changes are made in your stomach and digestive system which also change the absorption ability of the digestive system. Log on to to learn more about weight loss surgery 

Learn about alcohol effects after bariatric surgery and alcohol consumption guidelines in this article.  

Alcohol absorption after bariatric surgery 

Alcohol can impact your digestive system differently after bariatric surgery because your body’s anatomy is changed, and it impacts the body’s absorption process. If a person does not have bariatric surgery, his/her blood alcohol level takes about 25 minutes to peak after taking an alcoholic beverage. Whereas, after a person has sleeve gastrectomy, his/her blood alcohol level reaches its peak in 9 minutes and if he/she has Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, then the peak levels will be reached in just 5 minutes after taking an alcoholic beverage.  

That’s why bariatric doctors recommend avoiding alcohol for 6 months after bariatric surgery (either sleeve gastrectomy or Roux-en-Y surgery). During surgery, a portion of your stomach is either bypassed or removed from the rest of the gut. Because of this whenever you drink alcohol it enters your body more rapidly for processing and increases your risk of developing alcohol poisoning.  

Even if you take one glass of alcohol before surgery it is now equal to 3 to 4 drinks after surgery. Another risk of alcohol consumption is it leads to stomach ulcers by degrading the lining of the stomach wall, and if this is left untreated, you may experience internal bleeding.  

That’s why the doctor recommends avoiding alcohol after 6 months of your surgery and only on special occasions in small amounts. 

Harmful effects  

These are the harmful effects of alcohol you can experience if you drink alcohol after bariatric surgery, including:  

  • Dehydration: Alcohol acts as a diuretic which can cause dehydration; even if you take enough water throughout the day.  
  • Impact on judgment: When you are intoxicated, it becomes difficult for you to stick to a post-bariatric surgery diet and physical activity plans.  
  • Excess calories: Alcohol contains lots of empty calories which means a high-calorie beverage without any nutrients, especially after bariatric surgery.  
  • Weight regain: Alcohol and other beverages always contain lots of sugar, caffeine, and carbonation which add extra pounds to your body.  
  • Dumping syndrome: Some people can experience dumping syndrome after drinking alcohol when their food moves from their stomach to their small bowel very quickly.  
  • Ulcer risk: The acidity in alcohol can lead to stomach ulcers when it damages the stomach lining, especially after bariatric surgery.  
  • Liver risk: After bariatric surgery, alcohol can directly affect the liver and damage it.  

Guidelines for drinking alcohol 

If you want to drink alcohol after bariatric surgery, then you have to follow some guidelines to drink safely while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  

  • Wait for at least 6 months after bariatric surgery before starting to drink alcohol.  
  • Communicate with your dietitians and medical providers who are part of your 5-year aftercare program before starting drinking.  
  • If your healthcare provider gives you a green signal to drink, then make sure you avoid carbonated drinks and mixers that are high in sugar.  
  • Always know how much alcohol you consume because even in small amounts, alcohol can be dangerous and lower your blood sugar levels.  
  • Always eat something while drinking alcohol to slow the absorption of alcohol.  
  • If you find any problem with refraining from alcohol, then seek help from your healthcare provider.  

These guidelines help you remain on your weight loss track while maintaining a healthy life.  

Alcohol after bariatric surgery can be damaging if you don’t follow above mentioned guidelines because after bariatric surgery, your digestive system experiences many anatomy changes while decreasing your absorption ability of alcohol. On the other hand, alcohol is a diuretic, empty-calorie beverage that can be more harmful to you if you undergo bariatric surgery. So, if you can, avoid alcohol. And if necessary, only drink in small amounts with something to eat to slow the absorption of alcohol and to prevent any major impact on weight loss. If any problem arises after drinking alcohol, then seek help from your bariatric doctor.  

Want to know the amount of alcohol you can drink after bariatric surgery? Need help with weight loss issues? Want to learn more about types of bariatric surgery like Gastric sleeve surgery, Laparoscopic surgery, Gastric bypass surgery, Sleeve gastrectomy, or LAP band surgery? Call us on +1-347-384-5690 to get a consultation from us. Doral Health and Wellness has one of the best bariatric doctors and surgeons to treat obesity and weight problems. Book your appointment and walk in at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11212.