Dehydration After Bariatric Surgery

One of the biggest issues that presents itself in folks that have had a bariatric surgery is dehydration. It’s not easy for everyone to get the right amount of water in anyway, and with restrictions around when to drink (nothing 30 minutes before or after meals) and how much you can drink (huge decreases in stomach volume) it gets even harder. Let’s cover some of signs and symptoms of dehydration and ways you can combat it in your life post bariatric surgery.

What Is Dehydration & What Causes It?

I know, I know. Everyone knows dehydration is when your body doesn’t have enough water. At it’s simplest dehydration is caused by not drinking enough… but we lose water from our bodies in many ways. Breathing, crying, urinating, defecating, bleeding (yes, menstruation counts), snotty noses… you name it, if its a bodily function that means moisture leaving the body? It can contribute to dehydration.

Signs and Symptoms Of Dehydration

Different levels of dehydration have different symptoms and can help gauge how dehydrated you (or those around you) might be.

chart showing urine color for different levels of hydration
This chart shows urine color for different levels of hydration.

Signs of Mild Dehydration:

  • Decreased urination
  • Dark urine
  • Headaches
  • Cramps
  • Increased Thirst
  • Dry skin

This stage of dehydration is usually treatable with increased fluid intake, be it water or a sports drink or even an electrolyte drink like Pedialyte. If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms of dehydration, it’s time to grab a cool drink.

Signs of Severe Dehydration:

  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Extremely dry skin
  • Very dark urine or no urine
  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Fast heartbeat

This stage of dehydration requires medical help; at this point IV fluids and electrolytes are often necessary.

Preventing Dehydration

The old idiom definitely holds water here, just like we need to. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and the best way we can fight dehydration is to make sure we are drinking enough. Everyone’s water needs vary, but I personally have been told to drink a minimum of 64 oz a day. That’s the same as the old 8×8 (8 x 8oz cups of water day) but I would wither up and look like a sun dried owl-turd if I wasn’t drinking more than that. I always have been and always will be the person that has a drink close at hand at all times.

In addition to plenty of fluids from drinking, there are also lots of foods loaded with water. I’m not going to post the list here, but cucumbers, watermelon and strawberries are all high on the list.

Keep your drinks close, your urine clear(ish), and let us know in the comments if you struggle with hydration and what you do to help!