Vomiting after Weight Loss Surgery

Every bariatric procedure can give problems on occasions.

The following are the more common complaints:

  1. Vomiting or Food Intolerance
  2. Reflux symptoms
  3. Abdominal pain or cramps
  4. Dizziness


1. Gastric Banding Surgery

Please follow this link for more comprehensive information regarding problems after gastric banding surgery.


2. Gastric Bypass Surgery

Vomiting and food intolerance are relatively common early on after bypass surgery.  This is normally due to the upper join (gastro-jejunostomy) becoming too narrow whilst it tries to heal.  This join will almost always remodel back to normal after 6 months or so but in the meantime it may be necessary to wind back to soft foods or even liquid diet for a few weeks.  In severe cases where dehydration is a problem or important tablets don’t go down, a balloon dilatation of the upper join can be performed as a short procedure in the operating theatre.

Abdominal pains or cramps sometimes occur after bypass and may have numerous causes.  These include the following:

  1. Ulcers at the upper join (stomal ulcers)
  2. Pain from gallstones
  3. Twisted bowel or internal hernia
  4. Dumping syndrome

If you have persistent abdominal pains after bypass you should seek advice from your surgeon sooner rather than later and some of these problems can deteriorate quickly.

Dizziness after bypass can be related to dehydration, blood pressure medication or dumping syndrome.  Occasionally blood sugars can drop too low after bypass which may need medical intervention.  Again, seek advice from your surgeon if you suffer persistent dizziness.

Reversal of the bypass is a fall back procedure if no other solution is found to persistent adverse symptoms.  This is very rarely required however.


3. Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery

Vomiting after sleeve surgery is usually not a major issue after the initial healing process has occurred.  If you do suffer persistent vomiting for several months there may be a narrowing or stricture in the stomach tube or the tube may be twisted.  Investigation with gastroscopy is the best way to check out what’s happening here.

Reflux after sleeve surgery is quite common but usually controllable with anti-acid medications.  Occasionally severe cases of reflux which do not get better with time may necessitate conversion to the gastric bypass operation which should eliminate reflux. 

Dizziness after sleeve surgery is usually related to dehydration or occasionally blood pressure medication.