After weight loss surgery, some patients report experiencing an increase in gas and a difference in their normal body odor.  While this is expected, it can make one feel self conscious and have an impact on your social interactions. 

Whether you’ve had gastric sleeve or gastric bypass, the body undergoes various hormonal changes,  particularly how it processes the food you take in. This can lead to increased levels of gas production or body odor.  The important thing to remember is that you’re not alone and once you identify the triggers that contribute to these nuisances, steps can be taken to limit or avoid them.

Gas

With normal day-to-day functions that produce energy, the human body also produces sulfur containing gases. These gases are the flatulence we expel. The amount and smell may vary depending on the type and quantity of food you eat. For example, eating fried, fatty foods may trigger more flatulence in some individuals, and others may find that eating a certain vegetable or legume may play a role. In order to decrease gas production, let’s take a look at certain factors that may play a role in gas formation.

Triggers for increased gas

Foods and swallowed air can trigger increased gas. Foods that are known for increased gas production include beans and certain dairy products. After weight loss surgery, you may find that you need to relearn which foods are more palatable and less gas producing. This may take some trial and error until you figure out which items you should avoid to minimize gas production. 

Swallowed air can also be a factor. Some people have a tendency to swallow air while drinking, eating or talking. This is an involuntary action, but can contribute to an increased amount of gas production. To limit the amount of swallowed air while eating, try chewing slowly.

Certain medications may help reduce the odor associated with flatulence, however, we recommend talking with your surgeon before starting any new medication.  

Body Odor

Our body gets glucose from carbohydrates such as breads and bread products, sweets, fruits and certain vegetables. After having weight loss surgery, your diet changes dramatically compared to what it was before, especially with your carbohydrate intake. The decrease in carbohydrates and thereby glucose, forces your body to look to other sources for energy – namely fats. 

The fat breakdown for energy causes the odor that you may notice within the first few weeks to months after surgery, especially when your body is acclimating to your new diet. As your body adapts, it becomes more efficient in metabolizing the fats and removal of  its byproducts, such as ketones, thereby decreasing body odor.  

During this transition period, there are several ways to limit body odor  – brush your teeth several times a day, use sugar free gum and apply deodorant more often. Body odor will improve when the weight loss stabilizes after 6-9 months.   

At New Jersey Bariatric Center, our team of surgeons, dietitian and support staff are here to help you during these changes. For more information, call us at 908-481-1270.