Chronic Hunger After Gastric Bypass Surgery

Question Below Submitted By:  

Les (a patient from Indiana)

Since the day after having Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, I’m always hungry. I never fell full. But I’m following the guidelines, measuring, eating slow, no sugars, etc. (I’ve only dumped 3 times in 5 months)

It feels like the food goes right through me. I’ll be ready to give up just 5 months post surgery if I can’t get this feeling under control of always being hungry.


Expert Responses to the Question Above

Bariatric surgeon at CBGSA , Arcadia , California

by: Dr. Troy LaMar

Hi Les,

Congrats on taking a step to a healthier life! Fear not! You are not the only post gastric bypass patient to continue to have hunger a ways out after your is slightly unusual, but, it should get better in time....

I might suggest making sure you are trying to start your meals with solid protein foods such as thinly sliced turkey deli meats, moist chicken, broiled fish, lean ground beef of turkey, shrimp etc....

And, most importantly, DO NOT drink any fluids for at least 40 minutes before or after you eat your meals. This fluid can push food through the pouch so one is not full....

And , finally, definitely check with your surgeon. He/she might want to get some tests to check out your pouch....

Good luck,
Troy LaMar

los angeles bariatric surgeon

(click here for Dr. LaMar's full bio & contact info)

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the details provided. The above should never replace the advice of your local physicians as they have the ability to evaluate you in person.


Patient Responses to the Question Above

Failed surgery

by: Les

Les again, just a follow-up. It's been 3 years since surgery, I've regained 55#'s, after losing 70#'s. A total net loss of 15#'s and $5,000. Year 1 - lost 70#'s, years 2&3 regained 55#'s. Always hungry, even right after eating. Found out I have hyper-peristalsis (Rapid emptying of stomach). Meds don't help, even if I could afford them. Find it highly unusual someone would regain 55#'s within 3 years of surgery. What a waste of my time and money.


by: Yvonne McCarthy

I would suggest you up your protein but mostly I would suggest you asking your surgeon and his staff. They will know you best and should be there to help you. Definitely push for an answer OK?

Hungry all the time

by: Post op 10 years

I have gained 30 of the 100 originally lost. Only because I am starving all the time. It is not head hunger it it literally starvation that cannot be satisfied so I feel like I must eat every 15 minutes. How did they determine you had hyper-peristalsis? Is there anything that can be done about it?

Acid reflux vs Hunger Pangs

by: Tina

Hi, I am post op 3 years and down 130lbs. However, I feel your I discovered it's not actually hunger but acid reflux which feels exactly liker hunger. It happens after I eat and shortly thereafter I thought I was feeling hungry again. Try Tums. I would hate to have gone through surgical weight loss to gain it all back due to acid reflux...good luck and pass this info along.

Feel very hungry after an hour 3 years post RNY gastric bypass

by: Andy

I had my surgery Nov/2013. I was in the hospital for 8 days because of extreme pain on the left side flank incision. I had the most severe case of the runs for a year solid (nonstop) after surgery. Diet in the hospital was 1 applesauce cup in a 24 hour period, I just wasn't hungry.

When I got home I was eating stage 1 baby food for 2 mo. Highest weigh was about 420 pounds. Weight on day of surgery was 368 pounds. Lowest weight 253 pounds and current weight is 284 pounds and climbing. Now the problem I'm having now is I get extremely hungry very fast. Hunger pain starts about 1 hour after I last ate. At about 90 to 105 min, hunger pain is equivalent to being punched by an adult male in the stomach. Severe nausea and light headedness begins to set in, and I begin to feel VERY sick. At about 120-135 min my balance is affected and I have severe difficulty concentrating and thinking. At around 150 - 160 min I feel so bad that I fell like I'm seconds away from passing out. I'm holding onto the wall for balance so I don't fall going to the refrigerator.

After I eat any and all symptoms completely go away within 15 min. If I eat at first sign of hunger all symptoms are avoided. Family doc is baffled. All blood work A1C check and glucose are normal.

12 Years Post Op and Still Hungry

by: Danielle

For the first 3 months or so after surgery I was NEVER hungry. I would eat a 1/4 cup of cottage cheese and be stuffed. But after about 6 months I started to feel hunger probably what a "normal" weighted person feels. But after a year I started feeling super hungry about an hour after every time I eat and it has been that way sense. I originally lost 110lbs, gained 50 back over 11 years and now have lost 25 again through diet and exercise.

Unfortunately, I think the hunger is just a side effect for some people. Even when I eat very healthy, lean protein, healthy calories such as fruit and vegetables, etc... I still feel hungry within an hour or two at most of eating.

I think the secret is to eat healthy foods in between meals. I am fortunate in that I actually have low blood sugar so my doctor gave me the green light to eat as much fruit as I want (Not a big vegi fan) so I snack on a lot of apples, oranges, strawberries, etc...

Good luck everyone!! No one wants to go through the pain and expense of Gastric Bypass just to gain all the weight back!

Failed weight loss

by: Failure

I'm ashamed of myself. In 2009 I had the Lapband surgery. I was very proud of my weight was 233lbs and dropped to 161lbs. I suffer from migraines and because of this felt nauseated 2x which made me bring everything back up. The 2nd time, the band slipped and when it went back in place it started penetrating through my stomach. Very upsetting because I only had .5cc of water in the band and I was losing weight.

The doctor said he had to remove it. I gained back weight 200lbs in 2011. At that time, he only did the lap band so he sent me to another doctor for the sleeve or bypass. The doctor thought the sleeve may work. Got that done and it absolutely never worked for me!! The nurse assistant said it was because I ate chocolate (smh). This put up red flags because I didn't eat a lot of chocolate. I'm really not a sweet eater. I did tell her that my appetite was not being suppressed and I felt like I ate much less with the Lapband. She said I still would have lost weight in the beginning which I didn't.

2 years after I decided to do the gastric bypass. This has to work I told myself. It was a struggle to go back for another surgery, but I did. Still, 2 yrs post op I never lost weight. Didn't cheat at first but after a year, "what the he**," I cheated!! I never had hunger control after the surgeries and I wanted the pizza or the hamburger. The thing is I was 200lbs then and I'm still 200lbs.

I stopped trusting the doctor so I went back to the old doctor to find out why I didn't lose weight. He took tests and said that the other doctor never cut off enough of my stomach and was probably scared to get too close to where the Lapband scarring was. Because of this, it never triggered the senses for me to feel full, therefore I never had the sense of feeling full like I should have had.

You would think if the doctor went back in the 2nd time for the gastro bypass that he would have made my stomach smaller.

At this time, I'm so discouraged and depressed! To top it off I have a flatulence problem!?.. I'm still 197lbs. I'm back in forth with the 5lbs loss, 5lbs gained as if I never had surgery at all and the only proof of it all is the scares and the flatulence issue!!

Pls, give me some advice? Is the 1st doctor correct about the cutting of my stomach not being cut off enough? Or is it just me failing at the eating portions? Why is it so hard to eat the portions I was told to eat, but I was able to do it with the lap band???

I feel horrible about myself. I haven't dated or socialized for 8 years and I'm sure it will be a lot longer b/o the gas issues now. I feel like I messed up my life when only I was trying to make it better????


by: James

I have felt very hungry ever since surgery. I have protein drinks, watch what I eat, still losing weight but getting headaches from hunger.

Need help to keep from gaining weight back.

My Hunger Pangs

by: Marie G.

I have to agree with Tina (I feel your pangs😄) I am 3 1/2 years post RNY and I too suffered with extreme hunger and moving gas in my back or so I thought; until I took a tums after I ate and the pangs stopped. I was diagnosed with A/R years ago and was taking omeprazole scripts and OTC but I stopped taking those type of meds because it has side effects which leads to alzheimers. So I'm going to stick with tums.


by: Chronic Hunger

My highest weight was 365lb. I am down to 249 lbs, so I have lost 116 lbs in almost 1 year. I feel hungry all the time, but I think it is deeper than just being emotionally hungry or physically hungry.

I think there is something by way of a mineral or vitamin my body is craving. My Mom had the surgery also and was having a crazy craving for fresh tomatoes. Her Doctor found out her zinc was low, which explained the obsession with tomatoes.

I would recommend doing blood work to test your iron, calcium, etc. Drinking lots of non carbonated drinks seems to help some. I have degenerative joint disease, so I have to take arthritis meds or I will be in a world of hurt.

They have me taking 2 Zantac mid day and Prilosec in the evening, so I know I don't have reflux as suggested by other responders. I go next week and will be doing my 1 year labs. I hope I find an answer then. I do know when I focus on protein, I don't feel as hungry.

Hungry/Weight Gain

by: Michelle

I had gastric bypass 5 years ago. Did very very well. Past year I have felt more and more stressed and hungry.

I have gained 15 lbs. I never seem to be full so I am always eating to the point of being sick. IS there a way to make this stop. Like when I first had the surgery?

Always hungry

by: Stephanie

Hi. I am post roux n y for 11 years. I have so many issues since my surgery. I am always starving, vomit daily and have gained 60 of the 130 I lost. I eat plenty of protein, drink water and take my vitamins. I find I cannot lose weight anymore due to the constant hunger.

Any suggestions? I have had testing done, and the doctors cannot figure out why I vomit daily. I eat slow, chew my food thoroughly and yet I am still never full.

Maybe something is triggering it?

by: Scott

Before spending more money going back to the surgeon, I would do a self analysis:

1) are you drinking while eating meals? supposed to wait 30-45 minutes in between.
2) Eating too many carbs? As we get to Phase V or whatever the final one is, we add carbs into our diet which can trigger more hunger.
3) Drinking carbonated beverages can expand your stomach especially eating while drinking carbonated beverages! I would not drink anything carbonated - even seltzer.
3a) Also alcohol can cause issues with hunger after.
4) Too much caffeine can trigger hunger? - limit to 1 cup of regular, drink the rest decaf and even better no caffeine at all if you can do it.
5) Are you drinking 64 oz or more of water per day - I live in a very hot climate so I need 100 or more oz per day in south Florida.

So far so good but concerned

by: Mrs. Boone

Had RNY May 1st and at first, I was NEVER hungry, I am two months and 6 days out and now I feel hungry for the last two days. It isn’t severe, however, I am worried. I was getting full very quickly and now I don’t.

I just stop eating because I know it’s the right amount. Usually when I drink water it fills me back up but not today, it only lasted about 45- minutes then I started feeling hungry. I will admit, I have been in bed all day due to heavy cramping so maybe it is head hunger but I am still concerned.

I just had some almonds to take the hunger away and it worked. Any advice. I am 2 months post op 44 lbs down. I want to continue to lose at least another 80lbs but I need to lose 100 to be at my goal weight.

Andy - reactive hypoglycemia

by: Melissa

Andy, your symptoms sound like it may be reactive hypoglycemia. Eating too much sugar and carbs can result in too much insulin being released which causes your blood sugars to drop below 72 mg/DL (or 4.0 mmol/L).

I stick to a low carb diet to avoid having hypos. Suggest you get a blood glucose monitor and record your blood sugar numbers for yourself through out the day and particularly if you have symptoms to see if you are having hypos.

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