Worried about not losing weight. I'm weeks post op. Had complications.

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I am concerned that I'm not going to lose weight. I followed the 2 weeks pre-op religiously. I was only down 8 #'s when I went to the hospital Monday

I had complications with the surgery and ended up staying 6 days, NPO the entire time. Of course I had antibiotic and IV fluids. I was swelled up like a balloon. Weighted myself when I go home yesterday, up 9#!!   How is this possible?

Also I have had a terrible headache for 5 days (migraine sufferer all my life) Got injectable Imitrex yesterday before I left the hospital, and of course it worked like a charm. I started with some protein shakes today as I am worried the headaches are related to going so long with any real nutrition



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Dear Annegirl,

Most of the time people gain a few pounds of fluid weight during the hospitalization. When you're under stress, your pituitary gland secretes a hormone called vasopressin, AKA, antidiuretic hormone. Vasopressin causes the kidneys to conserve salt and water. This is a defensive move by your body to conserve fluids. When the stress is resolved, the hormone is no longer secreted, and the kidneys let the excess water go. You urinate the excess fluids. You had complications, were under stress longer, and held on to more fluid. Most of the time the body takes care of this on its own. Once in a while a diuretic (water pill) is needed. The decision to use a diuretic is complicated, and you should consult with your surgeon rather than trying to treat your self.

Post op headaches are not uncommon and can have many causes. Carrying the extra water weight may be a contributing factor. Your migraines may have kicked in, you might have had muscle related headaches from your position on the OR table and hospital bed, one of your medications may have affected you, and there are other causes that are less common. I  ask my patients to let me know if they are having a headache so that I can work with them to sort it out and find a solution.

Most people lose anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds during the first couple of weeks after surgery. This may include a few pounds of fat weight, but it is mostly water weight. People who have a lot of excess fluid on board before surgery usually lose more weight early on. People who have been sticking to a "liver shrinking diet" usually have less water weight, and consequently lose less during the first couple of weeks. 

As a rule, I tell patients not to worry much about how much weight they lose in the first 6 weeks. Some folks worry so much about it, and what really counts is your weight loss over many months and years. The weight that you lose in the early weeks doesn't predict your long term success. What really matters in the long run is a pattern of healthy eating, portion control, snack avoidance, and other lifestyle factors.

Dr. Callery

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Thank you. It was just water weight. I lost all of it in a couple of days.

Had daily headache, quite bad, for a week. Today I am 8 days out finally no headache:)



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