FAQ: WHAT MEDICATIONS DO I TAKE FOR PAIN IF I HAVE HAD BARIATRIC SURGERY?
The short answer? TYLENOL. Take Tylenol for minor pain.
It’s effectiveness will surprise you as surgery has changed the physiology of your body. Remember that you are much lighter – even a single tablet works wonders now that you are no longer morbidly obese.
We are not to take the category of drugs called NSAIDS – non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Since this is a common question, it is helpful to know what NSAIDS are and why we should not take them. Knowing not to take them is good, but to understand that these meds can eat a hole through the stomach pouch even when taken *just* once, is a more powerful impression!
NSAIDS include a wide range of name brand products that contain IBUPROFEN which is in Advil and Motrin, and NAPROXEN which is the brand name Aleve. We often hear “I can’t remember which one I’m not supposed to take!” The answer is that we should not take Advil, Motrin and Aleve. Even topical creams or injections are a problem as its NOT the contact with the pouch that creates an ulcer, the NSAIDS travel through the blood and create a hole in certain spots, the pouch being one most problematic. IF you have an ulcer in your sleeve that needs to be surgically ‘fixed’ you have no more stomach to use as material to ‘fix it’. No NSAIDS means NO NSAIDS.
Even family physicians, orthopedists, internists, and practitioners do not always realize the need for us to avoid these particular medications after bariatric surgery and may mistakenly assure you that it is okay to use them when it is not.
This is an informal ‘kitchen table’ discussion of a medical topic – questions regarding your specific situation should always be directed towards your bariatric professionals – but it is YOUR body and it is important for YOU to know what meds may damage your stomach. We are not doctors, but have known many bariatric post ops who woke up in ICU after NSAIDS ate a hole through a pouch or sleeve, and dumped stomach contents, so we know what we are warning you of.
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