Staying hydrated after surgery

One of the biggest challenges after bariatric surgery is getting enough fluids. Surgery can be overwhelming and it may be difficult to immediately focus on your nutrition needs. But staying hydrated is very important to your overall health, recovery, and the success of your weight loss journey. 

Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated: 

  • Set a goal. Talk to your dietitian and health care team to set a daily fluid goal. They will give you a list of approved fluids to help you reach this goal. Most of your fluid needs can be met by drinking water. 
  • Track your fluids. Begin tracking fluids in the hospital to make sure you are drinking enough. Use a tracking device on an app or write down your fluid intake every time you have fluids. The Health Partner for Weight Loss Surgery app may also help you reach your fluid goals. Click here to download the free app.
  • Sip slowly. Drinking too fast may cause pain and discomfort. Try using cups or bottles with small openings to help limit the amount of each sip. Avoid straws and always talk to your doctor for specific instructions.
  • Drink when you wake up. It may feel like a full-time job to stay hydrated. Start drinking when you first wake up in the morning. If you get behind, it can be difficult to catch up because you’re not able to drink large amounts at one time. 
  • Keep fluids separate from meals. Drinking during meals can fill you up and may cause an upset stomach. Typically, it is recommended to stop drinking 15 minutes before a meal and wait to start drinking 30 to 45 minutes after a meal. Set a timer to help remind you. 
  • Avoid carbonated beverages. Drinks that contain carbonation such as soda, diet soda, seltzer, or sparkling water, may cause nausea or excess gas. Try eliminating carbonated beverages from your diet before surgery so the transition is not as difficult after surgery. 
  • Carry a water bottle. Buy a reusable water bottle that you can fill up throughout the day. Take it with you on the go, at work, or in the car. 
  • Read the label. Your health care team may approve some calorie-free beverage options.  Work with your team to learn how to read the nutrition label for calories and avoid ingredients like sugar or caffeine. 
  • Watch for signs of dehydration. Signs of dehydration include dizziness, dark-colored urine, dry mouth, and nausea. Contact your health care professional or surgeon’s office if you experience these symptoms.