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Hunger Pangs?


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I am 7 weeks postop and am eating solid food. I started getting hunger pangs about week 3. My doc told me that solid food would help. We moved my diet from puree to soft and for a limited time frame, it did help. Then my hunger pangs started becoming constant and severe. Even when full or even nauseous, I was constantly stomach-gnawing hungry. We changed my PPI to twice daily and I did get some relief. With solid food and the extra PPI, I'm no longer constantly facing severe hunger pangs; however, they are moderate and irritating. I do get relief after eating but only for about an hour. I spoke with my doc again this week and we're going from three meals daily to six small meals to see if we can get this under control. I gotta say that I'm getting a little down because I'm not seeing much progress. Liquids, milk, and protein shakes do nothing to ease the hunger, I have to physically eat something. I'm supposed to go back to work soon and I don't know how I'm going to find time to eat something every two hours <sigh>.

While I really like the restriction my sleeve provides, I'm hungry an hour later. After solid food and twice daily PPI's, what's left? Anyone found anything else to help? My hunger pangs are worse now than I ever was pre-op.

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I'm sorry, I'm of no help here. I don't remember what it's like to physically feel hungry. I just know what it feels like to suddenly realize you haven't eaten in about 12 hours and feel completely "empty" and sick... and I know what it's like to THINK I'm hungry. Most people I know with a sleeve never or very very rarely feel physically hungry. I hope that someone else has had physical hunger and can answer this question for you.

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I may have some information that might be helpful to those like me with hunger pangs that won't resolve. I bought a book about the gastric sleeve, recently, so I decided to send the author an email. I was stunned to see him respond to me in only a matter of minutes. I asked him if I could share the information and he heartily agreed ... Here is the reply that he sent to me regarding my specific situation ...

... I've see this situation multiple times so don't think this is only you. They way to deal with is to do 5 or 6 small meals a day and add Gaviscon chewable tablets to your Protonix as you are taking it right now. What seems to happen is that there is a "rebound" of acid production once the sleeve is done. This will get normal but after some months so be patient. I hope this helps and let me know how this goes. I wish you the best on this 2011. Congratulations on your Sleeve. Have patience.

On my way to the drugstore with my fingers crossed :)

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who is the author & what is the book title? I would love to get a copy myself. hope the suggestion helps you.

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The VSG book is Successful Weight Loss With the Gastric Sleeve by Guillermo Alvarez, MD. It is available at Successful weight loss with The Gastric Sleeve - Dr. Alvarez and has only been available for a short time ... BTW, I cannot say enough positive things about this guy. I am not his patient, just a complete stranger and he answered my email with very specific questions in a matter of minutes. I bought the Gaviscon and it is working, so far. Within a few minutes of my first dose, it took the edge off my hunger pangs. The rest of the day has been heaven as my sleeve has finally settled down and is giving me some peace.

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This is great info! Thanks for telling us. I am going to get this book. He is right it does get better and seems to be acid production. I had to figure it out on my own. So glad you found out and are getting relief.

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I had a similar problem before my VSG, and it was because of excess stomach acid production. I would eat, and then I'd be immediately hungry again. That is when my GI doc put me on Prilosec OTC and it resolved itself. But that was only after getting an endoscopy to make sure I did not have an ulcer, as constant hunger can be a symptom of a gastric ulcer.

Now 2 months post-op I'm having the same problems with the constant hunger pains, and unfortunately I am unable to take Prilosec due to interaction with my Plavix. So, I'm on constant chewable antacids, which help, but are only short-term in providing relief.

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Don't know much about the sleeve except that it appears that weight loss is much slower than the RNY (based on what people report here).. so do try to be patient there.

As for hunger, I am one that is constantly hungry and it is not 'head hunger' it is the stomach gnawing, feel sick and dizzy if I don't eat type of hunger. I wonder if the gaviscon would help an RNY'er with that? I'm three years out this month and I've pretty much been in an almost near constant state of hunger, though from what I've seen, that is extremely rare for both RNY and Sleevsters.

Does he go into detail as to why the gaviscon helps with the hunger? Is it just the reduction in acid (which would mean it wouldn't help an RNY since we don't have that acid production).. Curious.

Good luck.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My surgery was on October 8, 2010 and the only time I have not been stomach gnawing hungry was the week following surgery in the hospital. I cannot relate to people that are not hungry and have lost interest in food. I too have gone to eating 5-6 small meals a day and the hunger is gone for only an hour at best. I have taken to eating a high protein shake in place of food. Two times daily each has 30 gms of protein. The shakes actually work better at stopping the hunger pangs than does food. I drink the shakes pretty quickly to completely fill my stomach and then allow it to slowly dribble out while finishing the rest of the shake. (keeping stomach full) I accept the fact that I feel like I'm starving and try my best to delay eating my next meal. Wish I was like everyone else with NO hunger. Don't know why I have this problem. Have you found any solution? Please let me know as I don't hear too many people with this problem.

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  • 2 weeks later...
For the VSG patient, it's rebound acid production. For RNY patients, I honestly do not know. Hope this resolves for you soon. My hunger remains but the gaviscon is making it tolerable.

Hi LowCHO! Well firstly don't feel alone. I'm not one of those super lucky sleevers that got away with nearly 100% hunger resolve. I wish! Mine is somewhere between 70-80% resolved. It definitely depends what I eat before too. It does help a lot to eat more of my protein and only a few bites of anything else. I'm sure you already know this though.

I am on Prilosec OTC or Omeprazole because it's much cheaper. I do have some chewable instant relief acid reducers but I've not tried it when I'm feeling hunger. Thanks for sharing that, I will try it!

I also do much better with the eating 3 small meals per day and a few tiny sensible snacks in between. I only have the snack if I'm hungry though, which isn't every time.

Good luck! We'll get through this together. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Dang I thought it was a super rare thing. I am so, so hungry all the time. Even right after my surgery (2/14/11) I could feel these horribly hunger pangs. Now, I'm almost out of week 3 and into soft solids and I am STARVING. I'm going to ask my doc about Gaviscon. Thanks.

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Dang I thought it was a super rare thing. I am so, so hungry all the time. Even right after my surgery (2/14/11) I could feel these horribly hunger pangs. Now, I'm almost out of week 3 and into soft solids and I am STARVING. I'm going to ask my doc about Gaviscon. Thanks.

I'm 6 weeks out, and the last 3 weeks I have been really hungry too. I thought it might be too many carbs, so I lowered them and upped the protein, but Im still hungry. I take a ppi, but perhaps need to up my dose to twice a day... I will try the Gaviscon. I'm happy to hear this may resolve itself some day....

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I just thought I'd provide an update ... My hunger pangs have not decreased in frequency (I'm still hungry soon after eating) but they've definitely decreased in intensity. I used to want to chew my arm off but now they're much more tolerable. Best wishes to all.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm 6 weeks out, and the last 3 weeks I have been really hungry too. I thought it might be too many carbs, so I lowered them and upped the protein, but Im still hungry. I take a ppi, but perhaps need to up my dose to twice a day... I will try the Gaviscon. I'm happy to hear this may resolve itself some day....

This is a silly question, I suppose, but what is a ppi? Thanks from Canada. :)

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  • 2 years later...

I am 6 days post op and the hunger pains are so severe I am not sleeping.  The post on buying Gaviscon saved my life!!!  Instant relief!  Thank you.  I bought the liquid and will keep it by my bedside for when I am woken by these "hunger" pains.  Here is what I was told.....

 

"Your  "hunger" sensation is not really hunger. It is inflammation from the sleeve that make you feel like it's hunger. Most patients with Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach) will feel like they are hungry and it is actually just the swollen mucosa but it is interpreted as hunger.  As the sleeve is new this is why you feel like this just as an FYI."

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What an amazing resource this website is!  Thanks for bumping this up again because I may have missed it otherwise!

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Just to update, I took this one step further and did some more research.  I do not like medication so I am keeping the Gaviscon as a back up, but I have added vitamin e 400iu daily to reduce the inflammation and I am chewing on ginger when hunger pains start again.  I am happy to report 24 hours later I feel like a new woman and the hunger pains are almost nonexistant!

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Another update...today is 4 days since my last post and I have not taken any Gaviscon or ginger for 3 days.  Still on the Vitamin E.  Absolutely no hunger pains!!!!

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