When your tiny tummy isn’t happy

When your tiny tummy isn’t happy

My tiny tummy is very temperamental at times. Often I go through patches when, for whatever reason, my stomach is just generally quite unhappy and it affects me in quite a few ways. I’ve had a rough couple of weeks lately and I don’t know if I want to vent or just let you know you’re not alone but I felt compelled to write about it.

My eating and tummy will have been okay for ages and then a meal won’t go so well. I can’t always pick what’s set it off either. Did I eat too fast, was the texture not okay, did my stomach just plain reject it (oh hello spicy food) or have I introduced something new to my diet that’s wreaking havoc on my tiny tummy?

If it’s a case of eating too fast or the texture wasn’t quite right, then generally it will be a one-off. I have to make sure things aren’t too dry, dense or chewy and this can be hard when I’m eating out. Much as you can try to predict what something is going to be like there’s so much variation in how things are made that it can be difficult. Eating out is also one of the prime times I will eat too fast. I can get caught up in everyone else demolishing their food and I forget to take breaks and let it go down. I have to consciously remind myself to eat slowly in social situations.

Sometimes though it can be a case of something new upsetting my tummy and in response it starts to reject things I should be eating. Things I have figured out the past few years that do this are antibiotics, probiotics, artificial sweeteners, natural sweeteners like stevia and consistent consumption (2-3 days in a row) of fruit juice (this applies to wine too). It’s a process of elimination to figure these things out but since I don’t add new things very often it’s usually quite easy to put my finger on it.

I will start having trouble with food, and it’s never things I shouldn’t be eating, it’s always things that I should be eating. I have more trouble with denser proteins in this situation usually. I will be eating something and I will figure out that it’s not going well and I need to stop. It can vary but it will usually be a combination of some or all of these things. My tummy will feel uncomfortable, I will get chest pain, my nose runs and I have to blow it a lot (I think this is most related to eating too much) I can’t continue to eat or drink anything, my mouth waters and sometimes I get thick saliva forming in my mouth and I feel generally uncomfortable and out of sorts.

Sometimes this can take a little while to pass and sometimes it can take hours. The most annoying/distressing thing when this happens is not being able to drink anything, not even water. In most cases it makes it even worse and increases the chest pain. I will wait to see if it’s going to pass on its own. Sometimes, after a while I can feel it starting to calm down and about half an hour after that I’m okay. Sometimes it doesn’t go away on its own and I need to do something about it. If I suddenly start getting more of these not so great things happening or they quickly get worse, then I need to deal with it. The only way I have figured out to so far is to make myself be sick.

The good old fingers down the throat works a treat, sometimes it takes a few goes but once it’s got everything out I’ll be okay fairly quickly. If I’ve had the foamies the first lot that comes up is just a big glob of foam. Then usually a big glob of thick saliva. Then if whatever is still sitting in my stomach causing problems then that comes next. It’s not nice, it’s not pretty and to be completely honest I wondered if I should even talk about it here on my blog at all. It’s something I will only do in an absolute last resort and if I’ve managed to stop eating quick enough when I figure out it’s not working then it won’t come to this.

It only takes a couple of bad episodes in the space of a week or so to make me a bit nervous about eating. Not knowing how a meal is going to go, especially when I’m not at home, is daunting. I’ve never been randomly sick after eating and I have to prompt myself throwing up for me to throw up. While it feels like I need to vomit when I get really bad, I once waited for five hours a couple of times and nothing happened until I made it happen. You can imagine how distressing this was.

This doesn’t happen often and there is usually a cause that I can figure out afterwards but it’s a part of life for me now and it does happen occasionally. I think the siliastic ring around the tube at the top of my tummy is partly responsible for the trouble I have when I eat too fast. Stuff gets stuck above it and I have horrendous chest pain waiting for it to go through. Post weight loss surgery life is not always easy or fun but it is what it is. It certainly makes me more careful of what I’m eating and makes me examine if everything I have been eating has been okay or I should continue with.

Do you sometimes have trouble with food after weight loss surgery? Is it anything like I’ve described or is it totally different for you? Comment below and let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

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There are 12 comments for this article
  1. Mary at 6:35 am

    Thoughtful piece Melissa. I feel for you as the chest pain must be awful to cope with. I’m not bariatric but enjoy your blog. You give a great take home message here too: slow down and enjoy your food slowly.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 7:43 am

      Thank you Mary. The chest pain is not nice but thankfully it usually goes away after a while. I think everyone could do with slowing down a bit. Even when I see normal people eating I can’t believe the amount they can eat so quickly.

  2. Crystal at 7:41 am

    Hey Mellissa – I’m still on the countdown, three months till surgery. I have been reading an awesome book Bronwyn suggested for me ‘The weight loss surgery workbook’ as I have been reading it I am starting to change my perception on the surgery that might be right for me. I was always set on the sleeve as it didn’t affect my nutrient absorption. There also seems to be less complications like the ones you are explaining however the weight regain is likely more possible. Why did you choose the surgery option you did? and is the ring normal with a bypass? I had a scary dream last night that I got the sleeve and it did not work and I woke up thinking the bypass was my only option. Perhaps my unconscious mind trying to get a point across..

    Sorry to hear your having so much trouble of late – do you think pregnancy is effecting your tiny tummy or is this something you have dealt with pre-pregnancy also. So many questions …. im also curious, when you say eating out. What portions are you able to eat now your are a few years post surgery? entre? main?

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 8:00 am

      I’m glad you’ve been reading the book and it’s given you things to think about. It’s a huge decision and one you want to get right at the beginning. You’re right, there’s lots of research that shows that the sleeve is not as effective long-term than a bypass. The siliastic ring is not a given with a bypass but it does increase the efficacy of the bypass long-term. Basically it sits there and makes it much harder to stretch your stomach out. The ring is fine so long as I don’t eat too quickly and chew properly. Maybe your mind was trying to tell you something, go with what feels right and keep thinking about it if you need to and have time to.
      My tummy has settled down again, I wrote this a few weeks ago now. The pregnancy is making my tummy less tolerant I think so I just need to be extra careful. Still, three years after I can’t do much more (or even a whole) entree depending on where we go and what the portion sizes are. Quite often I can share a kids meal with my kid (he eats hardly anything) and between the two of us we don’t finish it. I couldn’t eat an entire main, I usually get two or three meals out of main sized dishes. That’s one benefit to eating to little, meals last longer and makes it way cheaper.

  3. Keryn at 8:09 pm

    Hi Melissa,
    You are describing g my life exactly at the moment. I can’t pinpoint the reasons why I get the pain and foam, but it will definitely be what you have mentioned in you blog, I am sure of it. I just ate dinner a) too fast, in front of to; and b) it was quite spicy. I also look forward to the day when I can happily socialise at a restaurant and eat something that is not going to make me feel discomfort. I’m only 3 months post op, and not regretting my decision at all. I just have to reset my mind and keep trying to find what works.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 8:14 pm

      Hello Keryn, I’m sorry to hear you are having so much trouble at the moment. You have a good attitude towards it and that’s important. To be honest I almost completely avoided going out for the first 6-9 months after my op because it made me so nervous. On the occasions I did I go out I made sure to check the menu of where I was going in advance so I was sure there was something suitable. If all else fails I would just have a drink and no food. Keep working on figuring it out, reflect on how things have been and if you can pinpoint the difference between successful and unsuccessful meals. I wish you well in figuring it out, you are still quite recently post-op so it will be a little bit up and down for you at the moment anyway.

  4. Lizette at 3:22 am

    I am 1yr 8 months post gastric bypass . I still have problems that have my pouch having a hissy fit. I find it hard not to chew fast and ended up downloading a meal time app to help me focus. I also went back to using teaspoons all the time.
    Fatty foods still give me trouble such as bacon, sausage. Bread has become a complete evil. Though rice and pasta I can manage,.
    Despite the above, their are moments I’m tempted to try just a little, but I end up having to bring it up. Hence an embarrassing incident in MacDonalds toilet after eating a chicken snack wrap.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 10:12 am

      Hey Lizette, I’m glad you’ve figured what your no go’s are. I think it human nature that although we know better we still want to push the limits and just see what’s going to happen if we try again. Rice and pasta are not my friends and whenever I try them again it never goes well.

  5. Faye at 8:08 am

    Hi Melissa I have had a bypass like you and what u describe is exactly what happens to me as well. Couldn’t have described it better myself. Mine usually occurs with the evening meal though. I guess it’s like you said usually denser protein etc. Just another one of those post surgery issues we all have to deal with I suppose

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 10:26 am

      Hey Faye, I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that we have the same kind of things happen. It’s not something that should happen I think so hopefully you can figure out what makes it happen and try to avoid it.

  6. Mary at 11:41 am

    The foamy gross thing is waterbrash. Funny how it has a name. The symptons you describe are what I have been going through for years via my sleeve. Anxiety is common in this case. I have been diagnosed with severe reflux or GERDS and a hiatal hernia.
    At first I thought it was the foods I was consuming. I had been trying my hardest to stick to protein but often the denser protein just did not suit me and also resulted in a quick visit to the loo to dislodge the offending item.
    I am waiting my date for my RNY I have been told I am having to hopefully solve the gastric refux issue but by what you are describing, it sounds as though acid reflux must be raising it’s ugly head.
    I know sit and wait for the call to start my optifast (never thought I would marching down that old road again) and hope the RNY really does solve my issue. Hope your’s sorts itself out 🙂

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 12:27 pm

      Thanks for letting me know that it has a name Mary! I’m going to research it more. I do find mine is exacerbated by anxiety and find some common situations where it happens over and over again. I hope the RNY helps with your reflux, my surgeon was genuinely surprised it didn’t resolve it in my case. It usually does resolve it but my family history is very strong with it and at least mine is easily controlled with medication now.
      Good luck for your upcoming RNY. As you know, weight loss surgery of any kind is not an easy road to walk but it’s worth it.

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