Can I Drink Alcohol After a Gastric Bypass?

N. Madison
N. Madison

In general, it is best to avoid alcohol after a gastric bypass. There are a few reasons for this. For starters, drinking alcohol after a gastric bypass may irritate the stomach as it is healing. You may also become intoxicated much faster after this type of surgery, and alcohol consumption may interfere with your efforts to lose weight. You may also develop dumping syndrome, which is marked by the rapid emptying of the stomach, if you consume alcohol after a gastric bypass.

It's best to avoid alcohol after gastric bypass surgery.
It's best to avoid alcohol after gastric bypass surgery.

In most cases, doctors recommend that patients avoid alcohol after a gastric bypass. Alcoholic beverages are usually ruled out not only during the initial recovery period following surgery but also for about six months following the procedure. In fact, there are even some doctors who prefer for their patients to wait an entire year before they begin drinking alcohol again. The main purpose of this is to facilitate the healing of the stomach and avoid the irritation that alcoholic beverages may sometimes cause.

The body may absorb alcohol faster after a gastric bypass.
The body may absorb alcohol faster after a gastric bypass.

Another reason to avoid alcohol after a gastric bypass surgery is because you may be less able to tolerate it than you were prior to the surgery. When you have a gastric bypass, doctors create a stomach pouch that does not measure up to the size of the stomach prior to surgery. As such, you may absorb alcohol faster than normal and become intoxicated much quicker.

You may also harm your efforts to lose weight when you consume alcoholic beverages after gastric bypass surgery. Alcohol consumption is associated with weight gain and may actually interfere with the burning of fat from other foods you eat. When you’ve gone through the trouble of undergoing gastric bypass surgery, you will likely want to see results as quickly as possible. Drinking alcoholic beverages after gastric bypass surgery may only serve to slow you down.

The consumption of alcohol after gastric bypass surgery may also contribute to an unpleasant effect called dumping syndrome. Dumping syndrome occurs when a person’s food travels through the stomach and into the intestine much faster than normal. This may cause a range of unpleasant symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. You may also experience dizziness, fatigue, heart palpitations, sweating, or mental confusion because of it. The symptoms of dumping syndrome can be mild or severe, but they are likely to disappear once you stop consuming alcohol and discontinue any dietary practices that are contributing to it.

Consuming alcoholic drinks may hinder efforts to lose weight.
Consuming alcoholic drinks may hinder efforts to lose weight.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments

Dumping syndrome sounds really horrible. I already knew that alcohol could be tough on the stomach though, and I would never drink after having stomach surgery.

I had a friend who drank too much and he eventually got to the point where he was basically vomiting blood whenever he got too drunk. It was horrible and he eventually had to get help for it.

But he was otherwise completely healthy. So I can't imagine what alcohol would do to a post gastric bypass stomach.


@KoiwiGal - That's true of any kind of surgery though. There's only so much a doctor can do, after all. They can't follow a person all day to make sure they aren't an alcoholic. They can only really take the person's word on it.

And I think the transplant thing has more to do with the fact that the person is accepting organs that could go to someone else. If they aren't willing to make important lifestyle changes, why should they get the organs?

While a person having a gastric bypass is really only responsible for themselves. If they decide to start drinking, even knowing the consequences, it's their own stomach and they can do what they want with it.


This is the kind of thing that really makes me nervous about this kind of surgery. It's not that I don't think it should ever be done. I'm sure there are plenty of cases where it's been very successful and where it has even saved lives.

But because it's the kind of surgery that can be done more for cosmetic reasons, I just feel like the people who get it done aren't properly vetted like they might be for other kinds of surgeries.

They won't do transplants on you if you're a smoker, for example, because your body has much less chance of accepting the transplant if you smoke.

Gastric bypass problems can kill people and those problems are often caused by things that might have been spotted by a diligent doctor before he signed off on the surgery.

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