Dizziness is common after bariatric surgery. It can range from mild light-headedness to feelings of faintness and weakness. Here is some great information that can help to resolve dizziness safely.
Numerous factors can cause dizziness (vertigo) after bariatric surgery such as
- Dumping Syndrome Post Weight Loss Surgery
- Decrease in Ghrelin
- Staple Line Leak
- Nutritional Deficiency After Bariatric Surgery
- Electrolyte Imbalance
Dumping Syndrome Post Weight Loss Surgery
Light-headedness is usually a symptom of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) as part of the late dumping syndrome, especially in RnY Gastric Bypass.
- According to Clinical AdvisorJurgensen, 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. “Bariatric Surgery: Postoperative Concerns.” ASMBS – American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
View in Article
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 ghrelin, at least to some extent.
- Decreased ghrelin followed by lower appetite is also another reason for feeling dizzy when standing up after gastric sleeve surgery.
Staple Line Leak
Dizziness is often a symptom of leakage of the staple line after sleeve gastrectomy. Staple line leaking should be especially considered if dizziness is accompanied by other symptoms such as stomach pain, abdominal swelling, fever, elevated heart rate, or shortness of breath.
Nutritional Deficiency After Bariatric Surgery
You may also feel light-headed due to lack of certain micronutrients, specifically:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
Dizziness 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.
- Large time gaps between meals or not drinking enough water cause electrolyte imbalance which is indicated by light-headedness or dizziness.
- Electrolyte abnormalities comprise low levels of potassium, magnesium, calcium, or sodium.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 eat a light dinner so that you have room for a significant snack before bed.
- Avoid introducing “simple” carbohydrates like sweets, chips, etc.
- The fruit serves as a great option as well.
- 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
- 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 who experience feeling weak and dizzy after gastric sleeve surgery say it’s 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 exercises is a good way to beat light-headedness after sleeve 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
- Jurgensen, Julia. “Weak and dizzy spells in a patient after gastric bypass surgery.” Clinical Advisor, 2016
- “Bariatric Surgery: Postoperative Concerns.” ASMBS – American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
- 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
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
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
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
MMA (Methylmalonic Acid)
PT & INR
Serum Vitamin A & Plasma Retinol
Iron- including serum iron, TIBC, Ferritin, MCV, RDW, HGB and HCT