Ulcer prevention after bariatric surgery is always a concern for our team. Ulcers are more common after a gastric bypass, however they can occur after any of these surgeries. The more common reasons can always be pin-pointed to four preventable areas… Nicotine, NSAIDS, alcohol, and caffeine. Not to single these four out but they are the main cause for ulcer disease in non-bariatric patients as well.
It has a higher prevalence after bariatric surgery because of new connections created during surgery such as with the gastric bypass. As an aside, a bacteria known as H. pylori is a very high reason for ulcers and the reason why most patients are checked preoperatively and treated if needed.
The two absolute no-no’s after these surgeries is any nicotine product and NSAIDS. Nicotine decreases the blood flow to your new connections leading to ulcer formation. NSAIDS such as ibuprofen products, cause direct tissue injury leading to the ulcers. Hence why we ask our patients for complete cessation prior to surgery in all forms to prevent this issue. Returning to such things as nicotine products not only has many other negative health issues but may lead to urgent or emergent surgical intervention for the severe complications that can arise from using these products.
As for alcohol and caffeine, in limited formats, complications can be prevented. Overdoing of either can lead to issues such as ulcers, increased weight gain from excessive calories and affect your liver health as you may absorb much quicker than before the bariatric surgery.