Lactose Intolerance

Some patients become lactose intolerant following weight loss surgery. A glass of milk can cause severe cramping and diarrhea. Milk is usually the worst offender but many are able to take cheese, yogurt, or cottage cheese. For some patients, this is temporary, and for others milk becomes off limits.


Celiac Disease is caused by an allergy to gluten.Gluten is a substance found in wheat, barley, and rye. It can be difficult to diagnose Celiac disease even though it causes multiple symptoms. Weight loss surgery patients can suffer from diarrhea and nutritional deficiencies (making it difficult to determine from a lot of other things that post operative patients develop). This is a disease that can become unmasked by weight loss surgery.

Minor food intolerances

Red meat is difficult to digest the first month or two following any of these bariatric procedures. Rare is easier than well done and much easier than fried. This is unfortunate, because red meat is such a good source of concentrated protein. However, it does allow you to try new sources of protein such as Tuna, Escolar (two great fish), some soy products like Bocca® Burgers, and maybe a smoked salmon (how do they keep them lit?).

In our post operative diet and menu section we cover this more fully. Suffice it to say that your tastes may change for a while, including your desire for food. This plays great mind tricks—and bariatric patients learn what it is to eat to live instead of live to eat.

Menstrual irregularities with gastric sleeve, Lap-band or bypass weight loss surgery

—or “the cycle”

It is not uncommon for women to have multiple periods in one month or no period for a while. Clearly if there is severe and heavy bleeding you should see your gynecologist. But, if your periods are a bit askew for a while, there is a reason. This has to do with the complex metabolism of female hormones and the reduction of fat cells.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies and weight loss surgery

—Flintstones, meet the Flintstones…

The National Academy of Sciences recommends that all adults take vitamin supplementation daily. Patients who have had a bariatric operation absolutely need this. You won’t be able to eat as much as before, so you will need to supplement what you eat with vitamins.

Vitamin deficiencies are not simple to fix. They are, however, simple to prevent. So, take these warnings seriously. If you have a severe deficiency of some vitamins you can develop severe problems including dementia, reopening of wounds, and balding. (See Appendix Two.) There are a lot of vitamin formulations on the market, and a lot of bariatric patients go for the simple chewable children’s vitamin or a prenatal vitamin. Various companies offer vitamins that are “specially formulated” for the bariatric surgery patient—yeah, right.

A vitamin is a vitamin is a vitamin. Some bariatric doctors will sell you “special formulas,” and if you want to help that doctor put his/her kid through school, then buy them. Again—vitamins are easy to take, deficiencies are not as easy to treat. and your body will not really know if that vitamin C came from a rose hip or was manufactured in Kansas.