Heartburn after sleeve surgery- how to avoid? » Bariatric Services

Heartburn can be a problem after sleeve surgery for 20% of the patients. Heartburn after sleeve surgery can last a long time. Heartburn should disappear with weight-loss, but until then the probability of getting heartburn can be reduced with conscious nutrition.

Heartburn is a burning sensation behind your sternum, or breastbone, in the middle of your chest caused by stomach acid travelling up towards the throat (acid reflux).You might also feel it in your throat.
You may also:

  • Feel pain in your chest when you bend over or lie down
  • Have a hot, acidic, bitter, or salty taste in the back of your throat
  • Find it hard to swallow

What kind of food to avoid?

It is recommended to avoid food that can trigger heartburn. Most common triggers are considered to be citrus, pineapple, kiwi, tomato, onion, garlic, peppermint, chocolate, ice-cream, egg yolk, pastries and foods that contain a lot of fat, including fat-rich dairy products. As well as coffee, tea, acidic juices, and spicy food.

Out of cooking methods, frying is not recommended. Sometimes heartburn is not caused by the food itself, but by added continents (for example thickener used in soups) or by preparing methods (for example compounds caused by frying). Sometimes heartburn can be caused by eating different food components in one meal. In that case it would be recommended to simplify the choice of food, for example to eat in smaller amounts and include only one protein and one carbohydrate rich component. Eating many different food components at once will make it difficult to identify the one that is causing heartburn.

You should observe which type of food is triggering your heartburn and try to avoid it in the future.

Which kind of food to prefer?

CARBOHYDRATES

  • Rice, buckwheat, quinoa
  • Oatmeal
  • Boiled potatoes and sweet potatoes

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

  • Vegetables not mentioned in previous chapter and green leaves
  • Herbs
  • Bananas, melons and apples (in some cases apple an also be unrecommended)

PROTEIN

  • Lean meat like chicken, white fish
  • Cheese with low fat content
  • Yogurt with low fat content
  • Beans, peas, lentils
  • Tofu

FATS

  • Nuts and almonds (PS! Overnight soaking will get rid of the dryness)
  • Small amounts of olive oil
  • Avocado

NB! For some people foods from this list may still trigger heartburn.

Chance of getting heartburn can be reduced by eating protein (meat, fish, cottage cheese) mixed with vegetables or berries mixed with small amounts of banana. It is also advised to try drinking alkaline water.

Overall recommendations

  • Do not lay down straight after eating. Laying down and bending over should be avoided for several hours after eating. This will help to prevent acid from getting into esophagus.
  • Do not go to sleep with full stomach. Raise the head-side of the bed a bit higher. This will help to avoid reflux during night.
  • Keep a diary about your food choices and your complaints. The diary will be helpful in keeping track of the food and beverages causing heartburn.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking relaxes the sphincter at the bottom of esophagus and contributes to reflux of food remains.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothing. This can apply pressure on your stomach and intensify the complaints.