Don’t let accidental dehydration send you to the ER
By Ayotunde Adeyeri, MD FASMBS
Staying hydrated after metabolic (bariatric) surgery is key to your full recovery and optimal weight loss. It’s also easier said than done, especially when your Sterling Surgicare bariatric team says you need to put 64 ounces of water per day into your smaller stomach.
But making the effort is nothing to take lightly–dehydration is one of the leading causes of post-op readmission.
If drinking enough water every day is a challenge for you, our team and I have seven great tips and reminders to help you:
Seven tips to reach your daily 64
- Don’t drink water with meals. Separating drinking and eating will keep you from filling up too quickly and missing out on essential nutrients in your food. Wait at least 30 minutes after you finish eating before drinking.
- Start drinking water early in the day and refill until a few hours before bedtime to minimize middle-of-the-night bathroom trips.
- Make water your best friend and bring it (or store it) in your car, at work, home or anywhere you spend time regularly. One of my patients leaves her reusable water bottles at her neighbor’s house, who doesn’t drink water.
- Refresh your water flavoring periodically–naturally flavor your water with citrus or fresh berries; try Crystal Light, Vitamin Water Zero or any decaf zero-calorie non-carbonated beverages. I also like to pack my water bottle with ice, so it’s cold all day.
- Keep track of the number of ounces you’re consuming. Put technology to good use by adding one of the apps that helps keep you on track. Our patients recommend Daily Water Tracker, WaterMinder and Hydro Coach.
- Avoid caffeinated products since caffeine is a diuretic and dehydrates you. But if you’re drinking enough water daily, you can still enjoy that morning coffee.
- Avoid carbonated drinks entirely; they can stretch out your stomach and cause significant discomfort and bloating.
Keep in mind, you can also get extra fluids from fruits, vegetables, flavored gelatins, and water-based soups.
Finally, I’m sorry, but alcoholic beverages don’t count toward those magical 64 ounces/daily. In fact, it’s not recommended.
Signs of Trouble: Dehydration
Symptoms of dehydration can include sudden mental confusion, problems with balance, headaches, dry or sticky mouth and tongue, sunken eyes, inability to sweat or produce tears, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, constipation or dark yellow urine with a strong smell.
Another good way to confirm dehydration–pull up the skin on the back of your hand for a few seconds;
if it does not return to normal within a few seconds, you are dehydrated.
At your next bariatric check-up, talk with your healthcare provider about any challenges you are facing regarding daily water intake. You can also reconfirm the minimum volume of water you should be drinking daily.
Staying hydrated keeps your body and vital organs humming on all cylinders—there are no negatives. Physically, your hair, skin and nails will also look their best and your aching joints may even reward you with less pain and stiffness.
Pop Quiz: Do you have a water bottle with you now? 😉
If Covid-19 has wreaked havoc with your weight, and you have a BMI over 35 or more than 75 pounds to lose, a surgical weight loss solution may be the fastest and safest way to take off the extra weight, so you can get back to living your best life free from obesity. Call our team of friendly and experienced bariatric and general surgery professionals at (732) 217-3897 to learn more, attend a bariatric informational seminar at Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, or schedule an appointment to meet personally with Dr. Adeyeri.
The Covid-19 vaccine is finally freeing us up to get back to normal; make your health a priority and change your life–today!