Can You Drink Caffeine After Having Bariatric Surgery?

Most everyone loves a delicious cup of coffee, tea, or even an energy drink for a quick pick-me-up. Though some people may enjoy multiple cups daily, caffeine can be dangerous for some. Those who've had bariatric surgery may wonder if they can still even partake of caffeine.

According to MedlinePlus, aside from making you feel alert, caffeine has various effects on the metabolism. It can increase blood pressure, release acid in the stomach, increase urination, and interfere with calcium absorption. For some, the energy boost, delicious flavor, or force of habit may make regularly drinking caffeine worth the risk. Mayo Clinic reports that those with bariatric surgery know they must make lifestyle changes after the procedure, including monitoring what they eat and drink.

Bariatric surgery refers to gastric bypass and other surgeries for weight loss that change the digestive system. These surgeries are done to help prevent life-threatening conditions that occur from excess weight after standard weight loss techniques such as diet and exercise have been ineffective. The procedures involve modifying the size or shape of the stomach or small intestines to reduce the amount of food that can be eaten and nutrients that can be absorbed along the way (via Cleveland Clinic). Penn Medicine reports that after surgery, there are four different phases of diet that patients will have to follow for recovery. Where does that precious morning coffee fall on the list?

Limit caffeine intake post surgery

The diet breakdown described by Penn Medicine begins with hydration and continues to liquid and pureed food as nutrition through recovery due to the stomach rebuilding tolerance to food textures. However, they advise that some drinks, gum, and spicy foods aren't recommended during any part of post-surgery recovery due to possible adverse reactions. Penn Medicine errs on the side of caution and suggests limiting caffeine, as it can irritate the stomach.

Peachtree Surgical and Bariatrics explain that, generally, caffeine can be consumed in moderation post-surgery. However, larger amounts may irritate the stomach or cause dehydration, which can harm recovery. They warn that the method of caffeine consumption must also be considered. Soda, energy drinks, and coffee with high sugar content can damage a healthy diet because of their added calories. These drinks can also be carbonated, which can stretch the stomach pouch created by the surgery and possibly lead to problems. As the point of the surgery is to reduce excess weight, doing what you can to follow a diet that compliments that is an important part of the process.

Luckily, it appears that not everyone must altogether avoid caffeine after bariatric surgery — though you certainly have to take more care when consuming it. Speak to your healthcare professional about your caffeine habits and listen to your body during recovery. While on the path to recovery, you may be able to use caffeine to your advantage rather than turning it into a complication.