Barbara Thompson

Weight Loss Surgery


A FREE publication from


Hosted by Barbara Thompson
Author of:
Weight Loss Surgery:
Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You.

Issue #137

March 15, 2008


In This Issue


* The High Personal Price of Gas
* Easter Special
* Bye Bye Pills
* Blogging Along
* Recipe: Strawberry Soup
* Success Story: Tammy Louthian

The High Personal Price of Gas

I recently received this email discribing a very common complaint among patients. We don’t like to talk about it because we get embarrassed. Don’t let embarrassment keep you from working on a solution:

“Since I have had weight loss surgery, I find that I have an awful problem with gas.  I have gas all the time.  I have another friend who had surgery and we are close enough to talk about this and she has had some of the same issues.

Is there a way to make it stop?  It is painful for one and embarrassing and annoying for another.”

In some respects this is something that many of us have experienced.  And let's face it, many of us must deal with this on a daily basis.  Our digestive anatomy has been altered and there are some consequences. Gastric bypass surgery and duodenal switch surgery cause something called malabsorptive syndrome. We don't digest and absorb food the way we used to. When our undigested food enters our colon, our colon has insufficient enzymes and bacteria to completely break down our food. Gas is one result of this process.

There are over the counter remedies such as Gas X and other similar products that contain simethicone. There is a product from a company called Flat-D Innovations.  They make a charcoal cloth pad that may help. You can also look at your diet and see if that may be causing the problem.

There are foods that can make your gas problem worse.

  • The first is fats in your diet.  Try eliminating as much fat as possible from your diet and see if that helps.
  • If you do not dump, eating sweet foods can also be the culprit.
  • Finally avoid foods that come from the cabbage family such as broccoli and cauliflower.  These foods are very good for you but they do cause gas.
  • Milk products can also cause gas.
  • If you had distal surgery rather than medial (which refers to the amount of intestines bypassed) you are more apt to have gas.
  • Swallowing air also causes gas so avoid the use of straws and chewing gum.

I suggest keeping a food diary so that you can identify which foods cause you problems. Finally, talk to your surgeon about this problem.  There are some antibiotics that have been helpful. So Don't Suffer in slience.

Bye Bye Pills

The big news this week is the amount of prescription drugs that have been found in our water supply.  Europeans have been studying this for years, and now the same studies are finding similar traces here.

How do you think those drugs got into the water system? They got there because the drugs were not broken down and absorbed by the body and people excreted them out.

If drugs are not being absorbed by people who have normal digestive systems, what do you think happens when we take medication? We are even more prone to our medications not being absorbed. Be sure that your doctor is aware of you absorption limitations. Avoid as much as possible, time release pills and those with hard surfaces.

What holds true for our prescription medications also holds true for our vitamins. Prior to surgery, odds are that most of us thought little about vitamins. We took all that for granted.  After surgery the absorption of vitamins is an entirely different thing. And serious deficiencies can threaten our health.

Don’t take vitamin “pills” because chances are you will not absorb them and end up eliminating them just like those people with normal digestive systems eliminated their medications. It is important to take a chewable vitamin and one that is a high quality vitamin meant for bariatric patients. I highly recommend Bariatric Advantage vitamins. Those of you who have been with me a long time know how committed I am to a high quality vitamin. And you have heard me warn of the dangers of vitamin deficiencies. Take your vitamins seriously. Take a high quality vitamin, a chewable one that you can absorb and one that is designed for weight loss surgery patients.

Go directly to our
special eStore

Nutritional Supplements for Bariatric Surgery Patients
Bariatric Advantage® provides a complete line of nutritional supplements that have been specifically formulated to meet the unique demands of both the pre-operative bariatric surgical candidate, as well as the post-operative bariatric surgical patient.

Try a 7-Day Sample Pack

Blogging Along

Have you checked out my Blog lately?

There are new articles on

  • Change the Channel
  • Shame on the Florida Marlins
  • What Can It Hurt

You can subscribe to my Blog by signing up to receive the posts automatically. You can do that on the home page of the Blog just above the word “Archives.”

Getting the Blog posts directly to your email can be little reminders about staying on course with your weight loss.

Strawberry Soup

This is a great recipe now that the Chilean strawberries are at their peak. You can also substitute many different fruits for the strawberries such as blueberries or cantaloupe.

This is an excellent recipe for those who are newly post-op.  Just add protein powder to it and you have an even better drink for weight loss surgery post-ops at all stages.

Strawberry Soup

2 cups strawberries
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp granulated sugar

Puree all ingredients in a blender. Chill and serve.

Makes 4 servings
Each serving: 50 calories, 2.5 g. protein, 1 g. fat, 1.7 g. fiber, 9 g. carbohydrates

If you have a recipe that you would like to share in future issues of this newsletter, please send it to me at

Success Story:
   Tammy Louthian

I want to offer a special thanks to Tammy Louthian for sharing her experiences with us. Here is her story.

My name is Tammy Louthian.  I live in Ohio.  My decision to have a Gastric Bypass-RNY was made in the summer of 2003. 

Even though I weighed 357 pounds, I was very active and even participated in organized women’s athletics, like volleyball and softball. Although I did suffer from “aches and pains” I’ve always been very confident in the way I looked, so viewing myself as a morbidly obese woman, honestly never crossed my mind.  Then one afternoon, during a soccer scrimmage with my daughter’s recreational soccer team, I went one on one with one of the players.  Needless to say, she got the best of me, and I fell.  That fall prevented me from walking properly for over two weeks.  I was in a lot of pain and discomfort.  My doctor told me I was crazy for thinking I could run, jump or slide into bases with all the weight on me and he was surprised I hadn’t broken several bones or had other extensive injuries.

He suggested yet another diet, even after looking at all my past medical history of trying to drop some pounds. This diet was unsuccessful. Fortunately, it was all logged because at the time, I was a military dependent, and they believed in other programs before weight loss surgery. My doctor felt it was time for me to consider weight loss surgery. 

At my weight, I was fortunate not to have any major medical issues besides being morbidly obese.  He informed me that at some point my body was going to start snowballing into problems and I should highly consider the surgery as a preventative measure.  At first I had to think hard about it, because my mother had the procedure done in 1983, and all I could remember was how after visiting her I was traumatized by all the tubes and IV’s she was hooked to.  He explained to me that operations had changed over the years and the procedure she had was obsolete.  After a month or so of research pre-operative and post-operative, in June, 2003, I decided to do it!! 

I was given a wonderful tool by the bariatric department head nurse that gave me step by step instructions on what I must accomplish within a 6 month period.  I had to lose 10% of my current body weight, begin a regular daily food and exercise log, enroll and complete 6 weeks of nutritional eating classes and of course have visitations with a psychologist to learn some behavior modifications.  I had never been more gung-ho about this.  I had a wonderful support system.  Everything went so wonderfully that I accomplished my goals within 4 months.

My surgery was on November 16, 2004.  I did have a complication during my surgery, so that the surgery, which usually takes 3 hours, took over 7.  A tool they use to clip off and staple your intestine to seal it, slipped and went through several layers of my intestines, causing over 10 rips throughout it.  With the surgery being done laparoscopically, it was very tedious for them, especially after sewing up one tear, another area would rip, but all fared well.

I am now over 3 years post-op from gastric bypass surgery and 1 year post-op from my corrective surgeries.  There have been many changes in my life due to the surgery.  Some negative, but mostly positive.  I think it’s important that people considering this surgery be very realistic with their expectations. My 20 year marriage ended. I knew there was a good chance I would have to have the excess skin removed. And I knew there would be bouts of depression. I knew that food was my best friend, and I wasn’t going to be able to call on it when I needed emotional support. And finally, I knew that I used to live to eat; now I was eating to live.

I am proud to be a successful gastric bypass patient.  I am proud of what I have accomplished.  I am thankful to my doctors who have given me the insight of preventative medicine. Who knows where I could be medically on this date if I hadn’t had this surgery. My doctors saved my life.

Tammy Louthian

I love good news.  If you have good news, a success story to share, or inspiration, please send it to me at so that I can include it in future issues.

Congratulations Tammy


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