Burning Pain after Gastric Sleeve

Introduction: Burning Pain After Gastric Surgery

Gastric sleeve surgery, also known as sleeve gastrectomy, is a commonly performed weight loss surgery that involves the removal of a significant portion of the stomach, leaving behind a slim, sleeve-shaped pouch. While this surgery has shown effective results in helping individuals achieve significant weight loss and improve their overall health, it can sometimes come with certain side effects and complications.

One such complication that some patients may experience after gastric sleeve surgery is burning pain. This burning pain can manifest in different ways, such as a burning sensation in the upper abdomen, chest, or throat. It can be persistent or intermittent, and in some cases, it can be accompanied by other symptoms such as heartburn or acid reflux.

Several factors contribute to the development of burning pain after gastric sleeve surgery. One of the primary causes is the disruption of the gastroesophageal junction, which can occur due to the stomach’s reduced size and altered anatomy post-surgery. This disruption can lead to the reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus, resulting in a burning sensation.

Additionally, the decreased production of ghrelin, a hormone responsible for regulating hunger, after gastric sleeve surgery can lead to an increase in stomach acid production, further exacerbating the burning pain. Other potential causes include poor eating habits, dietary choices, and the development of gastric ulcers.

Understanding the causes of burning pain after gastric sleeve surgery is crucial in providing appropriate treatment and management strategies for affected individuals. By addressing these underlying causes, healthcare providers can help alleviate this discomfort and ensure a smoother recovery process for patients.

Common Abdominal Symptoms

Abdominal symptoms encompass a broad range of experiences related to the area between the chest and the pelvis. These symptoms can arise due to various reasons, including digestive issues, infections, injuries, or underlying medical conditions. While the severity and duration of these symptoms can vary, they often warrant attention and evaluation to identify the underlying cause and appropriate treatment. In this article, we will explore some of the most common abdominal symptoms, providing insights into their potential causes and highlighting the importance of seeking medical advice for proper diagnosis and management.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease and hiatus hernia

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and hiatus hernia are closely related conditions, especially in the context of gastric bypass surgery. Hiatus hernia refers to the protrusion of the stomach through the diaphragmatic hiatus into the chest cavity. This condition is more prevalent in obese individuals, as the excessive abdominal fat can put pressure on the stomach and contribute to the herniation. Therefore, obesity is often considered a major risk factor for hiatus hernia development.

In primary gastric bypass surgery, where the stomach is divided and the smaller gastric pouch is created, there is a potential for under-recognition and under-treatment of hiatus hernia. Surgeons may not thoroughly assess the presence of a hernia during the procedure, leading to its persistent existence post-surgery. This is concerning because hiatal hernia can exacerbate GERD symptoms, making it difficult for patients to find relief from their acid reflux.

Before gastric bypass surgery, hiatal hernia can significantly impact GERD symptoms. The herniated stomach can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus more easily. This leads to heartburn, regurgitation, and other discomforting symptoms associated with GERD.

Post-gastric bypass surgery, medical therapy such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) can provide relief from GERD symptoms. These medications reduce stomach acid production and can alleviate the acid reflux associated with hiatal hernia. Additionally, elective repair of the hernia during or after gastric bypass surgery can further manage GERD symptoms. The repair involves repositioning the stomach and reinforcing the weakened hiatus, which can improve the function of the lower esophageal sphincter and reduce reflux.

In conclusion, the relationship between gastroesophageal reflux disease and hiatus hernia in the context of gastric bypass surgery is significant. Understanding the increased prevalence of hiatus hernia in obesity and the potential under-recognition and under-treatment during primary gastric bypass is crucial. The impact of hiatal hernia on GERD symptoms before and after gastric bypass can be managed through medical therapy and elective repair of the hernia, providing relief from acid reflux.

Pouch-related disease

After gastric bypass surgery, several pouch-related diseases can lead to abdominal pain. One such condition is ulcer disease, characterized by open sores in the lining of the pouch. These ulcers can cause discomfort, bloating, and a burning sensation. The development of ulcers is often attributed to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or smoking. Treatment typically involves medication to reduce stomach acid production and lifestyle modifications such as quitting smoking or avoiding NSAIDs.

Another pouch-related disease is a fistula, an abnormal connection between different parts of the digestive tract. Fistulas can cause severe abdominal pain, fever, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting. They can develop due to infection, surgery complications, or the breakdown of the surgical connection. Treatment options may include medication to control infections, drainage of fluid, or surgical repair.

Reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), occurs when acid from the stomach flows back into the esophagus. Symptoms include heartburn, regurgitation, and chest pain. Reflux disease after gastric bypass surgery is mainly caused by the formation of a hernia or the loosening of the surgical connection. Treatment involves lifestyle changes, such as avoiding certain foods and beverages, and medications to reduce stomach acid production.

Lastly, stenosis refers to the narrowing of the pouch opening or connection, leading to restricted food passage. Symptoms include difficulty swallowing, abdominal pain, and vomiting after eating. Stenosis can occur due to inflammation, scar tissue formation, or a surgical complication. Treatment options include endoscopic dilation or revision surgery to widen the narrowed area.

In conclusion, pouch-related diseases such as ulcer disease, fistula, reflux disease, and stenosis can cause abdominal pain after gastric bypass surgery. Prompt medical attention and appropriate treatment are crucial in managing these conditions to alleviate symptoms and improve the patient’s post-operative well-being.

Gastric Sleeve LA
Gastric Sleeve LA

Behavioral and nutritional disorders

Behavioral and nutritional disorders can commonly cause abdominal pain after gastric bypass surgery. These disorders can include maladaptive eating behavior, specific foods prone to impaction, bacterial overgrowth, and functional gastrointestinal motility disorders.

Maladaptive eating behavior refers to patterns of eating that are not conducive to a healthy post-surgery lifestyle. This can include overeating, binge eating, or consuming high-fat or high-sugar foods. These behaviors can lead to abdominal pain and discomfort as the stomach struggles to digest these unhealthy food choices.

Certain foods are more prone to causing impaction in the digestive tract, leading to abdominal pain. Foods that are difficult to digest or high in fiber, such as raw vegetables or tough meat, can become trapped and cause obstruction. This can result in pain and discomfort in the abdominal area.

Bacterial overgrowth occurs when there is an excessive amount of bacteria in the small intestine. This can lead to fermentation of undigested food, causing gas, bloating, and abdominal pain. These symptoms can be exacerbated after gastric bypass surgery due to the altered anatomy and changes in gut motility.

Functional gastrointestinal motility disorders refer to conditions that affect the movement of food through the digestive tract. These disorders can result in abdominal pain, bloating, and altered bowel movements. They can be caused by a variety of factors, including changes in gut hormones and neural regulation.

A thorough dietary history and diagnostic laboratory evaluation are crucial in identifying food allergies and micronutrient deficiencies as potential causes of abdominal pain after gastric bypass surgery. A thorough assessment of a patient’s dietary habits can help pinpoint any potential triggers or nutrient deficiencies that may be contributing to their symptoms. Laboratory tests can help identify any food allergies or micronutrient deficiencies that may be exacerbating the abdominal pain.

In conclusion, understanding and addressing behavioral and nutritional disorders are essential in managing and treating abdominal pain after gastric bypass surgery. A comprehensive evaluation that includes a thorough dietary history and diagnostic laboratory evaluation can help identify the underlying causes and guide appropriate interventions to alleviate the pain and improve the patient’s overall well-being.

Dangerous Abdominal Symptoms

Abdominal symptoms can be a cause for concern, as they may indicate a potentially dangerous underlying condition. These symptoms can range from mild discomfort to severe pain and should not be taken lightly. It is crucial to be aware of the warning signs associated with dangerous abdominal symptoms to seek prompt medical attention and prevent any potential complications. This article provides an overview of some of the most concerning abdominal symptoms and highlights their importance in identifying and addressing potentially life-threatening conditions.


Stenosis is one of the potential complications that can occur after bariatric surgery. It refers to the narrowing of a passage or duct in the gastrointestinal tract, which can impede the normal flow of food. There are different types of stenosis that can occur in this context.

One type is anastomotic stenosis, which occurs at the site where the stomach and the small intestine are joined (anastomosis). This can happen due to the formation of scar tissue, resulting in the narrowing of the opening. Another type is stenosis characterized by twists, kinks, or other malformations in the gastrointestinal tract. These structural abnormalities can obstruct the passage of food and lead to various symptoms.

Diagnosing stenosis after bariatric surgery typically involves several methods. The upper gastrointestinal series is a common diagnostic tool, which uses contrast material and X-rays to visualize the structure and functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. Endoscopy is another method where a flexible tube with a camera is inserted into the digestive system to directly observe the narrowing or obstruction.

Treatment options for stenosis depend on the severity and location of the obstruction. Endoscopic balloon dilation is a minimally invasive procedure where a balloon is inflated to widen the narrowed area. Serial dilations involve repeated dilation procedures to gradually widen the stenotic area. In some cases, surgical revision may be necessary to correct the stenosis, especially if other methods are ineffective or if there are severe complications.

In conclusion, after bariatric surgery, stenosis can occur in various forms, such as anastomotic stenosis or structural abnormalities like twists and kinks. Diagnostic methods like the upper gastrointestinal series and endoscopy are used to identify stenosis. Treatment options include endoscopic balloon dilation, serial dilations, and surgical revision if required. These interventions aim to alleviate the narrowing and restore normal gastrointestinal function.

Ulcer disease

Ulcer disease, also known as peptic ulcer disease, can occur after gastric bypass surgery. It is important to understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for this condition.


Several factors can contribute to the development of ulcers after gastric bypass surgery. These include the presence of gastrogastric fistulae, which are abnormal connections between the stomach pouch and the remnant stomach. Additionally, retained pouch parietal cells, excessive tension on the anastomosis (the surgical connection between the stomach and intestine), and the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can increase the risk of ulcers. Infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and the presence of foreign material in the gastrointestinal tract can also contribute to the development of ulcers.


The symptoms of ulcer disease after gastric bypass surgery may include abdominal pain, particularly in the upper abdomen, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and a feeling of fullness. Some individuals may experience unexplained weight loss or changes in appetite.

Treatment Options:

Treatment for ulcer disease after gastric bypass surgery may involve a combination of medications and lifestyle modifications. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) can reduce stomach acid production and help promote healing of the ulcer. Antibiotics may be prescribed if H. pylori infection is present. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the ulcer or address any complications.

Diagnostic Procedures:

To identify ulcer disease in patients, diagnostic procedures such as upper endoscopy and upper gastrointestinal series may be used. Upper endoscopy involves the insertion of a thin, flexible tube with a camera into the mouth and down the esophagus to examine the stomach and small intestine. An upper gastrointestinal series involves drinking a contrast solution and then taking X-rays to visualize the gastrointestinal tract.

In conclusion, ulcer disease after gastric bypass surgery can have various causes, including gastrogastric fistulae, retained pouch parietal cells, excessive tension on the anastomosis, NSAID use, H. pylori infection, and foreign material. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and vomiting. Treatment options include medications and lifestyle modifications, and diagnostic procedures such as upper endoscopy and upper gastrointestinal series are used to identify ulcers.

Biliary disease

Biliary disease refers to any condition affecting the bile ducts, gallbladder, or liver, and can result in abdominal pain after gastric bypass surgery. Several complications associated with biliary disease can cause this pain. Biliary colic is a common condition characterized by intermittent pain in the upper abdomen that occurs when a gallstone temporarily obstructs the bile duct. This can result in a buildup of pressure in the gallbladder, leading to pain. Cholelithiasis, or the presence of gallstones, is another complication that can cause abdominal pain. These gallstones can obstruct the bile ducts and cause inflammation or infection.

The prevalence of cholelithiasis after bariatric surgery is relatively high, with studies reporting rates of 10-40%. This increased risk is thought to be due to factors such as rapid weight loss, a high prevalence of obesity-related metabolic diseases, and changes in bile composition. Risk factors for developing cholelithiasis after bariatric surgery include female gender, older age, rapid weight loss, and higher preoperative body mass index.

There is an ongoing debate regarding the need for prophylactic cholecystectomy during gastric bypass surgery. Some argue that removing the gallbladder preventively can reduce the risk of complications related to cholelithiasis and avoid the need for additional surgeries in the future. However, evidence-based arguments supporting expectant management suggest that routine removal of a healthy gallbladder may not be necessary in all cases. Studies have shown that only a small percentage of patients with cholelithiasis after bariatric surgery develop symptomatic gallstones. Therefore, expectant management, with close monitoring and intervention only in symptomatic cases, might be a more appropriate approach for these patients.

In conclusion, biliary disease can cause abdominal pain after gastric bypass surgery. Cholelithiasis is a common complication associated with bariatric surgery, and its prevalence is relatively high. While some argue for prophylactic cholecystectomy, expectant management is supported by evidence showing that only a small percentage of patients with cholelithiasis develop symptoms. Close monitoring and intervention in symptomatic cases may be a more appropriate approach, reducing the need for unnecessary surgeries.

Functional disorders

Functional disorders are a common cause of abdominal pain after gastric bypass surgery. These disorders often arise due to changes in the anatomy and physiology of the gastrointestinal tract caused by the surgery itself. The following functional disorders are frequently observed in patients post gastric bypass:

1. Constipation: This occurs when there is infrequent bowel movements, leading to difficulty passing stool. Causes include decreased fluid and fiber intake, reduced gastric emptying, and altered gut motility. Symptoms may include straining during bowel movements, hard and small stools, and bloating. Management options include increasing fluid and fiber intake, using stool softeners or laxatives, and physical activity.

2. Diarrhea: Post-gastric bypass diarrhea is typically caused by rapid transit of food through the intestines due to altered gut motility. Symptoms may include loose, watery stools, urgency to have a bowel movement, and abdominal cramping. Management involves dietary modifications, such as avoiding high-fat foods and caffeine, as well as medications to slow down bowel transit if necessary.

3. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): This disorder is characterized by abdominal pain along with changes in bowel habits. It may be triggered by postsurgical anatomical changes or changes in gut hormones. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. Management typically involves dietary modifications, stress reduction techniques, and medications to alleviate symptoms.

4. Esophageal motility disorders: These occur due to alterations in the structural and functional components of the esophagus post gastric bypass. Symptoms can include heartburn, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and regurgitation. Management may involve lifestyle modifications, such as avoiding certain foods and eating smaller meals, as well as medications to reduce acid reflux.

5. Dumping syndrome: This occurs when food moves too quickly from the stomach to the small intestine, resulting in a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dizziness. Management includes dietary changes, such as eating smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding high-sugar foods.

In conclusion, various functional disorders can cause abdominal pain after gastric bypass surgery. Understanding their potential causes and symptoms is crucial for effective management. By implementing lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, and pharmacological interventions, patients can experience relief from these postoperative symptoms.

Gastric Sleeve
Gastric Sleeve

Avoiding Burning Pain after Gastric Sleeve

After undergoing gastric sleeve surgery, it is common for patients to experience discomfort and pain during the recovery process. One specific concern is the burning pain that can occur after the procedure. This pain is often a result of various factors, including inflammation, gastric acid reflux, nerve irritation, or digestive intolerance. However, there are specific strategies that individuals can adopt to minimize or avoid this burning pain after gastric sleeve surgery. By implementing lifestyle changes, following dietary guidelines, and adhering to medication and pain management techniques, patients can help alleviate or prevent this discomfort, allowing for a smoother recovery and improved post-operative experience.

Staying hydrated

Staying hydrated after surgery is of utmost importance as it aids in the healing process and prevents complications. Proper hydration is essential for the body’s overall functioning and plays a crucial role in maintaining fluid balance. By taking small, frequent sips of water, patients can ensure they are meeting their body’s fluid requirements.

It is recommended to consume 1.5 to 2 liters of water daily to maintain adequate hydration levels. However, after surgery, nausea and vomiting can be common side effects. These symptoms often deter patients from consuming enough fluids to stay hydrated. To counteract this, it is crucial for patients to drink water in small, frequent sips rather than large quantities at once. This approach helps minimize the likelihood of triggering nausea or worsened vomiting.

Proper hydration after surgery is vital because it aids in wound healing, prevents constipation, and maintains kidney function. It also helps in flushing out toxins and medications from the body. Adequate fluid intake ensures a healthy blood volume and helps oxygen reach the healing tissues efficiently.

Overall, staying hydrated post-surgery is crucial for a smooth recovery. By emphasizing the importance of maintaining fluid intake and taking small, frequent sips of water, patients can promote healing, prevent complications, and support their overall well-being.

Personal hygiene

Personal hygiene plays a crucial role in maintaining good health and preventing the spread of diseases. After being discharged from the hospital, it is essential for patients to continue practicing personal hygiene to aid their recovery process. Moreover, during the initial days at home, patients require a combination of both moral and physical support to ensure their well-being.

Upon returning home, patients should follow specific instructions while showering to avoid any complications or setbacks in their recovery. Firstly, it is important to check with the healthcare provider if there are any specific limitations or precautions to be considered during showering. Some patients may have wounds that require special care, and others may have medical conditions that require modifications in their bathing routine.

During showering, patients should ensure they are using mild, hypoallergenic soaps or cleansers to avoid any skin irritations or allergies. It is recommended to use lukewarm water instead of hot water as it can be harsh on the skin. Patients should also be cautious when handling surgical sites or any wounds, gently cleaning them as directed by their healthcare provider. Additionally, it is crucial to dry the body properly, paying close attention to areas prone to moisture accumulation such as skin folds.

In conclusion, personal hygiene is of utmost importance after discharge from the hospital. By providing moral and physical support, individuals can aid in the recovery process of the patient. Following specific instructions while showering, such as using mild soaps and taking necessary precautions, can contribute significantly to the patient’s overall well-being.

Wound care

Wound care is crucial to ensure proper healing and prevent infections. Whether the wound is treated with sutures or surgical glue, it is essential to follow proper care techniques.

Firstly, maintaining cleanliness is vital for wound care. Before touching the wound or changing its dressing, ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Gently clean the wound using a mild, fragrance-free soap and lukewarm water. Avoid scrubbing the area as it may harm the skin or remove any scabs forming.

Moisturizing the incisions with Vaseline or Aquaphor is highly beneficial in wound care. By doing so, you can prevent scabbing and promote healing. The moisturizers form a protective barrier, preventing the incision from drying out and minimizing the risk of infection. However, it is crucial not to over-moisturize the wound, as excessive moisture can hinder the healing process. Apply a thin layer of the chosen moisturizer, ensuring that it covers the entire incision area.

Identifying signs of infection is vital in wound care. If any of the following symptoms occur, it is important to seek medical attention as they may indicate an infection: increased redness or warmth around the wound, foul-smelling fluid draining from the incision, severe pain that worsens over time, or the presence of a fever.

In summary, wound care involves proper cleanliness, moisturization, and vigilance for signs of infection. By following these techniques, you can help promote healing and minimize the risk of complications.

Symptoms after Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Gastric sleeve surgery, also known as sleeve gastrectomy, is a widely used surgical procedure for weight loss. The surgery involves the removal of a large portion of the stomach, leaving behind a smaller, banana-shaped “sleeve.” While this procedure is generally safe and effective, it is important to be aware of the potential postoperative symptoms that patients may experience. Understanding these symptoms is essential for patients to have a smooth recovery and seek appropriate medical assistance if necessary. In this article, we will outline some common symptoms that individuals may encounter after undergoing gastric sleeve surgery and provide guidance on when to consult their healthcare provider.


Nausea is a common and unpleasant side effect experienced by many patients after surgery. The causes of nausea after surgery can vary, but there are several common reasons behind its occurrence. Firstly, the administration of anesthesia during surgery can affect the body’s systems, including the digestive system, leading to feelings of nausea. Additionally, the pain medications and antibiotics prescribed after surgery can also cause nausea as a side effect. Other contributing factors may include preoperative anxiety, changes in blood sugar levels, and the body’s reaction to the surgical procedure itself.

Managing and alleviating nausea after surgery is crucial for a comfortable recovery. It is important to take any prescribed nausea medications as directed by the healthcare provider to help reduce nausea symptoms effectively. Additionally, avoiding triggers, such as strong odors or certain foods that may exacerbate nausea, can be helpful. Staying hydrated by sipping on clear fluids, like water or ginger ale, can also alleviate symptoms.

Maintaining proper hydration is essential, as dehydration can worsen nausea. Sucking on ice chips or trying natural remedies, such as ginger-based products or acupressure bands, can provide relief for some individuals. It is advised to eat smaller, more frequent meals rather than larger ones to prevent overwhelming the digestion process. Lastly, practicing deep breathing exercises and engaging in relaxation techniques, such as meditation or listening to soothing music, can help alleviate stress and reduce the occurrence of nausea.

Overall, it is essential to address the causes of nausea after surgery and take appropriate measures to manage and alleviate it. By following healthcare provider’s instructions, taking prescribed medications, avoiding triggers, and staying hydrated, patients can experience a more comfortable and successful recovery.


Vomiting is a common concern after bariatric surgery, but there are several steps that can be taken to prevent and manage this issue effectively. In order to ensure a successful recovery, it is important to follow the recommendations provided in the Background Information.

First and foremost, chewing food well is crucial. Patients should take the time to thoroughly chew their food before swallowing. This aids in proper digestion and reduces the likelihood of vomiting. Additionally, keeping the food moist by adding liquids or sauce can also help prevent vomiting.

It is essential to measure portion sizes carefully. Overeating can lead to discomfort and vomiting, so portion control is key. Following the dietary guidelines for progression is important as well. These guidelines are specifically designed to introduce foods gradually and allow the body time to adjust. Adhering to these guidelines can significantly reduce the risk of vomiting.

If vomiting does occur, it is important to seek medical assistance if it persists for an extended period. Persistent vomiting can indicate a more serious issue that may require medical intervention. It is always better to be safe and consult with a healthcare professional.

In summary, to prevent and manage vomiting after bariatric surgery, it is essential to chew food well, keep it moist, measure portions, follow the dietary guidelines for progression, and seek medical assistance if prolonged vomiting occurs. By following these recommendations, individuals can have a smoother recovery and minimize the risk of complications.

Conclusion: Burning Pain after Gastric Sleeve

In conclusion, burning pain after gastric sleeve surgery can be caused by various factors. One potential cause is post-operative pneumonia, which can occur due to the compromised respiratory function and immobility following the procedure. Symptoms of post-operative pneumonia may include cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, and fever.

To prevent complications such as post-operative pneumonia, it is crucial for patients to engage in early ambulation after gastric sleeve surgery. Early ambulation involves getting out of bed and moving around as soon as possible. This helps to improve lung ventilation, prevent blood clots, and enhance overall recovery. Additionally, patients are advised to utilize incentive spirometry, a device that helps to expand the lungs and improve breathing. By using this device regularly, patients can reduce the risk of developing pneumonia and alleviate burning pain.

It is important for healthcare professionals to educate patients about the potential causes and symptoms of burning pain after gastric sleeve surgery. By promoting early ambulation and encouraging the use of incentive spirometry, healthcare providers can help patients recover more quickly and effectively manage their pain.

Dr. Babak Moeinolmolki
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