Wife Losing Too Much Weight & Can’t Keep Food Down Since Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Question Below Submitted By:  

Eric (a patient from Oceanside, CA)

My wife had bariatric surgery (vertical sleeve) last March, and now she cant keep anything down. Food, water it doesn’t matter. The doctors have given her different meds to try & help stop it but nothing works.

She was 200 lbs & is now 110 as of Friday. What could be the problem?

I fear if she loses any more weight she might die of malnutrition. Any help with this matter is greatly appreciated.


Expert Responses to the Question Above

Bariatric surgeon at CBGSA , Arcadia , California

by: Dr. Troy LaMar

Hi Mr, Hogan,

Sorry to hear your wife is still having such difficulties... again, not normal.

It sounds like she may have had a dilatation. She could have an ulcer as well, and this can take days to weeks to heal.

Thus it may take that long for some pain to get better too. Sometimes patients require a second dilatation, so try your surgeon and/or Gastroenterologist again.

If no response, I would advise you take her to an ER, where they must work up her problems.

Take care, and good luck.
Troy LaMar MD

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.

Related Pages:
- Complications & Risks of Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Bariatric surgeon at CBGSA , Arcadia , California

by: Dr. Troy LaMar

Hi Eric,

It sounds like your wife was doing well until just recently.

Not being able to keep even water down is certainly not normal. She needs to see her surgeon immediately.

It sounds like she might have a stricture, which is a narrowing in her pouch/sleeve.

She likely needs an Upper Endoscopy, and if there is a stricture, she may be able to have a dilatation.

Good Luck.
Troy LaMar M.D.

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

Anonymous... reply

by: Gastric ...

Have her go down to taking only the B1 vitamin and any meds she needs.

B1 is the most important.

She needs to drink well away from the time she eats.

No closer than half an hour.

Have her back track to clear liquids.

If she is on several prescriptions, have her take them throughout the day instead of all at once.

Anything that she can get in chewable or sublingual form or take as a shot, do that.

B1 and liquids are most important.

We dehydrate far more quickly than we starve.

Have her try soy milk.

It has protein in it.

I realize it is no clear, but she might prefer to get some of her protein that way than through a shake.

I hope this has helped.

Also, get her up and moving.

Losing muscle is not an option for her.

She needs to use them or lose them.

Get her in the sun.

That is often known as a help to ones psyche.

Best wishes, from someone that has been slowly finding her way to deal with something similar.... I got my surgery at the end of July 2015.

Some of us cannot move on to the next part of the diet as quickly as most.

She might just be in the same fix I am in.

Meanwhile, let her doctor know what is happening.

severe abdominal pain and vomiting

by: Aime Little

I had my gastric sleeve surgery on 03/04/14 and have been having several complications since then. I've had 3 kidney stones and have had to be hospitalized 4 times since then. I have had 2 EGD's done as well, the last one was on 07/22/14, and am still not getting any better.

For the last week I have been experiencing severe abdominal pain and have not been able to keep anything down. I've been in the ER three times in the past week and they won't do anything to help b/c they weren't who did my surgeries. I called and talked to my surgeon, but he doesn't seem to think that there's a problem. My blood work came back and showed that I was severely dehydrated and that my red blood cell count was 1 quart low and my WBC came back abnormal as well. I can barely get up out of bed due to being in so much pain and not having enough energy to do anything.

I've lost 15 pounds in the last 2 weeks and I'm not even trying to. I'm starting to get really worried and can't get any answers or any dr that will try to find out exactly what's going on. I'm sill having trouble swallowing and sometimes can't even keep my medications down.

I'm getting really desperate and worried that if something doesn't get done soon, that everything is just going to get worse. Does anybody have any suggestions as to what I can do?

continual vomiting of all food and liquids

by: Anonymous

my daughter had gastric sleeve 11 weeks ago. she has no strength in her legs. muscle pain, no strength. trying multiple vitamins. help!

One more thing

by: Patti in Texas

I forgot to mention in my previous post that for the past month, my doctor placed me on Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) through an IV port. This has been a Godsend and kept me from becoming more severely malnourished while my stomach issues heal. At the very least, your wife's doctor should prescribe this for her health's sake.

Keep demanding more tests

by: Patti in Texas

I know how badly you want answers for your wife. I had sleeve surgery in September 2014 made slow progress until early for 2 months. I became plagued with increasing episodes of dry heaves/vomiting and couldn't keep things down, including liquids. After becoming severely dehydrated, I was hospitalized for treatment. An initial CT scan identified a pocket of infection that had formed in my abdomen, evidently from a staple leak. Correction for that was a drainage tube for 2+ weeks and massive antibiotics.

I thought my problem was at the turning point, however, things didn’t turn around.

When problems continued, a repeat CT scan identified a fistula on the back wall of my pouch (a finger-like false stomach is the only way I can describe it.) Of course, this growth had no way to "empty" of liquids or simple accumulation of saliva or food matter -- except to heave (vomit) it up. Not a result I was expecting from my surgery. I guess the rarity of this hasn't quite been determined, but it's taken at least 3 EDGs with additional septotomy procedures (to cut away the tissue "wall" between real and false stomach.) It has been a very slow healing process, but I feel better than I did 2 months ago. You mentioned her doctors have tried a number of medications on your wife, with no relief. What testing have they done? You may need to demand they do more extensive diagnostic testing to get them to the bottom of her problem.

My prayers are with the both of you to get you through this really difficult time.

wife losing too much weight

by: Tony

My wife had a gastric bypass in 2009 when I was on Active duty Army, she weighed nearly 300lbs. She was doing OK until now she can't keep food down, anything. I just retired from the Army and she weighs about 117lbs. Just everything she eats or drinks comes up. Maybe one or two things stay down but when she feels OK, she tries something a little better and it all comes up. Plus she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes this past June just before I retired.

Will having diabetes make it worse as in life threatening?

Thank you

Severe depression and inability to eat at all

by: Anonymous

My friend just had gastric sleeve 21 days ago.She has lost almost 30 pounds and she is having severe depression which she has never had before. She has MS and she is very weak right now. She has been admitted for psych reasons since she can't/won't eat or drink. What could be wrong? She can't tolerate anything she says she is full and she hates the protein drinks. Any suggestions?

Severe depression and inability to eat at all

by: Anonymous

My friend just had gastric sleeve 21 days ago.She has lost almost 30 pounds and she is having severe depression which she has never had before. She has MS and she is very weak right now. She has been admitted for psych reasons since she can't/won't eat or drink. What could be wrong? She can't tolerate anything she says she is full and she hates the protein drinks. Any suggestions?

Follow up

by: Eric Hogan

Dr. LaMar,

Today she said it hurts her stomach when she eats. She has been trying to get an appt to see a gastro specialist but they either won't return her call or they never answer the phone. It's all still very upsetting to me. The procedure was done at a military hospital but I think they did something wrong. She has had a feeding tube attached before and we feel as if that is going to be our only recourse until she gets looked at.

As for the upper endoscopy, I believe she had one and they expanded the size of pouch. But still she has these problems. Is there anything else that might be a contributing factor in all of this?

Thank You.

Please help my mom!!

by: Christine Mixon

My mother had the gastric sleeve 4 months ago. At first,67 she seemed to be doing really well. Then about a month ago, things took a turn for the worse. She could not eat or drink, or when she did keep them down. Finally, the dr put her in the hospital (she was there for a week) and ran every test under the sun. They decided it must be the gallbladder so they took it out. Then let her go home the next day on a clear liquid diet. We are back to square one!!!!

All she does is dry heaves and can't keep anything down. I feel like she is lying in bed dying and I don't know what to do about it. If anyone out there has suggestions or thought, I am will to try anything to keep her alive. Please help!!

Pain in the back and stomach when attempting to eat.

by: Dee Williamson

I had the VSG a little over a month ago. I have been on soft foods for a few weeks and the doctor says I can try regular food but very small bites and chew good. I have not been able to do this because even the soft foods hurt my back and stomach when trying to eat and it seems nothing wants to go down. I have to stand up and walk immediately after eating because of the pain. The pain in my back is intense. What can I do?

Sudachalasia is what she has - I have same issue

by: Angela Baldwin

I had surgery 5 months ago and two weeks after surgery I went to the hospital with what I thought was the flu - it just never stopped.

So many months later with a PICC line for nutrition and fluids, since I can't take anything orally without getting sick, I finally got a diagnosis of Pseudoachalasia from Mayo Clinic in MN.

I had started off here in Houston, TX by going to Methodist and then Baylor but they kept saying I had achalasia or something else which never fit right with what was going on with me. Pseudoachalasia is when your digestive system is basically paralyzed from an outside source. Your wife should have a Manometry test and swallow tests done to see how her system is behaving.

Sadly if it's not a nerve or a twist in something then she will have to look at converting to a gastric bypass - her doctor will direct you on the best choice, just make sure you get a few second opinions and with doctors familiar with the issue or they can cause more damage.

How do you know if it's vomiting, over eating, or regurgitation?

by: Maria

I had sleeve surgery on 2/22/17 and sometimes I'll eat something so small like a low fat mozzarella cheese stick and it stays down with NO issues at all but if I eat like some salad with chicken on it, it all comes back up on me. I'm close to 3 months out, but when I told my doc, he's like are you actually vomiting or regurgitating?

Fluids stay down with no issues, it's just a lot of food doesn't stay in. How am I supposed to know what is not normal vomiting vs regurgitation? I want to make sure I don't have any of the same issues as others have posted above. I'm embarrassed to eat with friends because god forbid I have to "vomit" after I've just eaten, I don't want to have to tell the world I had sleeve surgery. There are some things I'd like to keep to myself. I've lost 65lbs since my surgery too.

Me too

by: Cheryl

I have the same problem. Started at 228 pounds and now 2 years after surgery I finally stabilized at 107 pounds. I still have trouble eating, can not eat but about a half cup of food at a time, frequently vomit after eating, and have pain when I eat.

Urge your wife to eat a few bites as often as she can. I snack constantly and, although I do try to get protein in, at this point I am eating anything that I can keep down to avoid losing more weight -- crunchy Chee-toes, animal crackers, dry cereal, etc.

Most important thing for me is I cannot drink anything within about an hour of eating. Liquids almost always make the food come back up. At this point my goal is to avoid losing more weight.

Good luck to your wife.

Thank You

by: Eric

Thank you for your replies, but sadly she passed last year.

2 years and still having some problems

by: Zeinab

Hi Dr. Lamar, I had my gastric sleeve surgery 2 years ago but I still have some problems.

I can't keep my ferritin levels high, I'm down to 4 now and I'm constantly dizzy and tired I feel like sleeping all day and all night.

I have insomnia, I took supplements but my ferritin keeps falling.

What can I do should I do? I've considered iv sources of iron? And considering my eating habits I can barely eat some days I regret having that surgery a lot of times.

Pain after eating a few bites

by: Ramona

I had gastric bypass in November 2017 and I'm having major issues with eating a few bites through out the day. I've lost 60+ lbs and went from a size 20 to a size 8. Lately I don't feel like eating solid foods because of the pain that I experience afterwards.

I've even had some incidents of vomiting after eating a few bites. However, I will drink water and diet tea to stay hydrated. My husband usually has to remind me to eat a few bites and he's very concerned with the amount of weight that I'm losing! I've talked to my surgeon and he had the audacity to say that I'm having pain because I'm overeating?

I felt like he was blowing me off and not taking my concern into consideration. I'm only eating a few bites once a day because I don't like to be in pain(nor do I like to vomit) and I guess I'm associating eating with pain. So I would rather not eat any food. I've even tried to eat soft foods such as cottage cheese with sugar free applesauce or scrambled eggs with cheese as a substance of protein but to no avail!

I'm so frustrated and I don't know what to do? I would love to be able to eat a small meal and feel great afterwards but I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon. I'm looking for some medical advice as to what could be going on with me!

Gastric bypass surgery

by: Teered67

I had gastric bypass surgery in 2011 started in 2013 telling doctor of my complications with me not being able to eat a lot and when I do my stomach swells until the food goes down then my stomach goes down. Sent me for gallbladder test said it was negative.

This year it started getting worst so he did gallbladder test again and went in with a scopes said u had a candy cane affect on my connection and my gallbladder was functioning on 25% so he need to go in to fix problem. Had surgery but he didn’t fix can’t cane issues he did remove my gallbladder and also my appendix.

Now 2 months from surgery I’m still having same problem. Still not able to eat. So now he’s wanting to go back in and do what he was supposed to do 2 months ago. But I have to be put on a feeding tub to try and gain some weight before surgery. I pissed and upset because my health is going down and there’s nothing I can do.

Is there any Suggestions on what I could do if there is another doctor here in North Carolina they can help me or give me a second opinion please please if you are a doctor please respond. I don’t wanna die

Gastric Bypass surgery in 2004 and can't eat normal food, vomit all the time, doctor says stricture

by: Suzanne Cox

I went in 2004 after Gastric Bypass surgery from 350 pounds to 130. However, I have never been able to eat anything but soft food or else I vomit it up. Can't eat healthy foods like lettuce, grilled chicken, veggies unless pureed.

I can even vomit water up. Can't eat unhealthy either cause I vomit that up too. I was told by a gastro doctor I have an inoperable stricture. Can someone explain what that means and if I can get it fixed?

Same with mother


She probably has a kink my mother had the same and had to get her surgery change to a bypass afterward .

Can't keep food or water down

by: Gastric Bypass 2018

I had my surgey on 9/17/18 and can't keep most foods or water down. Soup is my friend but sometimes that comes back up. I had an edoscopy on 11/9/18 but it did'nt fix my problem. The Dr. stated that I would need 2 more procedures to fix the problem. I'm afraid of dehydration, and kinda wish I'd never got this surgery. Wish I had of known what I was getting myself into.

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