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5 Causes of Dizziness After Bariatric Surgery

Dizziness After Bariatric Surgery


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Dizziness is common after bariatric surgery. It can range from mild light-headedness to feelings of faintness and weakness. There are numerous factors that can cause dizziness (vertigo) after bariatric surgery like

  • Dumping Syndrome Post Weight Loss Surgery
  • Decrease in Ghrelin
  • Staple Line Leak
  • Nutritional Deficiency After Bariatric Surgery
  • Electrolyte imbalance
Causes of Dizziness Post WLS

Dumping Syndrome Post Weight Loss Surgery

Light-headedness is usually a symptom of hypoglycemia as part of the late dumping syndrome, especially in RnY Gastric Bypass.

  • According to Clinical Advisor[1]Jurgensen, Julia. “Weak and dizzy spells in a patient after gastric bypass surgery.” Clinical Advisor, 2016
    View in Article
    , the large amount of insulin released by the body in response to the sudden increase in blood glucose levels after consuming sweet foods can lead to hypoglycemia which may make you feel dizzy.
  • The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), however, states that light-headedness is also a symptom of early dumping syndrome along with nausea after bariatric surgery. [2]“Bariatric Surgery: Postoperative Concerns.” ASMBS – American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
    View in Article

    Here is a read on ways to overcome nausea after bariatric surgery.

Decrease in Ghrelin

  • Ghrelin, often termed as the hunger hormone, regulates the appetite of the individual and defines how much he eats.
  • Weight loss surgery intends to reduce the levels of this gut hormone, at least to some extent.
  • Decreased ghrelin followed by lower appetite is also another reason for feeling dizzy after bariatric surgery.

Staple Line Leak

Dizziness is often a symptom of leakage of the staple line after sleeve gastrectomy. If along with light-headedness, you experience a couple of the following symptoms, visit your surgeon immediately:

  • Breathing problems
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Fever
  • Stomach pain

Nutritional Deficiency After Bariatric Surgery

Post Bariatric Surgery Dizziness

One may also feel light-headed due to lack of certain micronutrients, specifically:

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12
  • Iron

It is often accompanied by fatigue and low blood pressure. This can be fixed by taking a recommended dose of nutritional supplements after weight loss surgery.

Electrolyte Imbalance

  • Large time gaps between meals or not drinking enough water cause electrolyte imbalance which is indicated by light-headedness or dizziness.
  • Electrolyte abnormalities comprise of low levels of potassium, magnesium, calcium or sodium.[3]Jammah, Anwar A. “Endocrine and Metabolic Complications After Bariatric Surgery.” Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology : Official Journal of the Saudi Gastroenterology Association, 21.5, 2015, 269–277. PMC. Web,
    View in Article

How to Overcome Dizziness After Gastric Sleeve or Bypass

  • Having some complex carbohydrates and fat/protein before bed can help.
  • Try a banana with 1-2 tbs. of peanut butter or 1 oz cheese with an apple or 1/2 cup of oatmeal with some nut butter mixed in, etc.
  • You may have to decrease dinner so that you have room for a significant snack before bed.
  • Complex carbohydrates are fine. You just want to avoid introducing the “simple” carbohydrates like sweets, chips, etc.
  • Fruit is great too.
  • Eating late is okay as long as it is not causing discomfort or reflux.
  • Now, you don’t need to eat a lot, but you do need to fuel yourself to get through the night.
  • It’s not “bad” to eat after 8 pm or 9 pm, etc. It’s all about fueling yourself properly to feel your best.

Sometimes, the light-headedness is completely unrelated to bariatric surgery, which is why it is best to get yourself checked periodically.

Suggestions by Our US-Registered Bariatric Nutritionist

Tips to Overcome Dizziness After WLS
  • Check your blood glucose more frequently.
  • When your blood glucose is lower than normal have a small amount of carb and some fat or protein to help slow absorption.
  • Increasing the intake of carbs and calories before doing physical activity is essential. Have a mini-meal at least 60-90 minutes before exercising.
  • Eat consistently throughout the day (every 3-5 hours).
  • Increase your fluid intake after bariatric surgery. Add lemon juice, lime juice and chopped strawberries for creating your own flavored water.
  • Diluting regular juices with water is another great option.

What Our Clients Say

  • Most of our clients experience dizziness mainly due to dehydration and nutritional imbalances.
  • Some of them take Vitamin B12 shots and drink more liquids to increase potassium levels.
  • One of them included carbs such as cereals and toast in her meal before bed and reportedly felt better after waking up the next day.
  • Another method adopted by our clients is that, at work, they keep a jug of water on their desk so that they are consistently reminded of taking a few sips every now and then. Hydration is very important.
  • One client suggests having some pickle juice, oranges, avocadoes and kiwis to maintain electrolyte balance in the body while others suggest having Gatorade G2 or Powerade 1-2 times a day.
  • Gradually increasing carbohydrates in the diet, walking and doing light breathing exercise is a good way to beat light-headedness after surgery.

This Post Addresses

  • Tunnel vision after bariatric surgery
  • Head spinning post gastric bypass
  • Syncope and gastric sleeve
  • What causes light-headedness after weight loss surgery?
  • Why do I get dizzy after gastric bypass?
  • Dizzy spells after gastric sleeve
  • Passing out/fainting after gastric sleeve
  • Vertigo after weight loss surgery
  • Low blood pressure after gastric bypass

References

  1. Jurgensen, Julia. “Weak and dizzy spells in a patient after gastric bypass surgery.Clinical Advisor, 2016
  2. Bariatric Surgery: Postoperative Concerns.ASMBS – American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
  3. Jammah, Anwar A. “Endocrine and Metabolic Complications After Bariatric Surgery.” Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology : Official Journal of the Saudi Gastroenterology Association, 21.5, 2015, 269–277. PMC. Web

Updated on September 19, 2019

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Comments

  1. Very useful information I had a Rouen Y Gastric Bypass 19 years ago but 2 years ago because of much GERD had surgery to correct it called fundoplication I loss a lot of weight was hospitalized often with inability to eat now experiencing dizziness imbalance fatigue visual disturbances seeing neurologist did brain MRI which was normal blood test normal my primary care physician thinks some kind malabsorption after reading thinking maybe endocrine problem can you offer me any advice or what I should be tested for

  2. It is hard to say what exactly you should be tested for not knowing what vitamins/minerals you have been taking. Below is the recommended labs that should be drawn each year. Work closely with your primary to have these checked and repleted if necessary.
    Vitamin D 25-OH
    Parathyroid (>65pg/mL) means you could have a calcium deficiency
    Ionized Calcium
    Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
    MMA (Methylmalonic Acid)
    RBCFolate
    Thiamine (B1)
    PT & INR
    Serum Vitamin A & Plasma Retinol
    Iron- including serum iron, TIBC, Ferritin, MCV, RDW, HGB and HCT
    Serum Zinc
    Serum Copper
    Serum Selenium

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