Losing weight can be a tough gig for anyone, and that is why having non-surgical weight loss tools available, such as gastric balloons, can be very advantageous. Balloons such as the Orbera and Spatz3 are wonderful options for patients who need help regulating portions and modifying their lifestyles to become healthier.
After the installation of a gastric balloon, the stomach needs time to adjust, and a special diet must be followed to allow time for this adjustment. Patients begin with clear liquids and eventually work their way up to solid foods over several weeks.
During the six to eight months that your stomach has its roommate, there are certain foods and beverages that, if consumed, may cause discomfort or even pain. Knowing which foods and beverages to watch out for during this time will help keep your weight loss journey on track so you can achieve your goals.
We receive many questions from patients about what they can eat and drink, such as “Can you drink alcohol with a gastric balloon?” Today we are going to talk about gastric balloons and alcohol and what you should know before you head out to cocktail hour.
What Do I Need To Be Aware Of When Eating And Drinking With A Gastric Balloon?
The balloon takes up almost three-quarters of the stomach’s capacity, and once it is installed, the stomach becomes very sensitive. It can take almost six weeks for the digestive system to adequately process solid foods, so patients must adhere to a special diet during this time.
Immediately after the installation, it is normal to experience cramping, nausea, and vomiting for a few days. It is important to avoid dehydration but to take small sips of water or clear liquid and not gulp anything down, or it will make it worse. Then the transitional diet provided by the doctor is followed until solids can be tolerated.
Avoid These Foods With A Gastric Balloon
One of the key elements in succeeding with weight loss using a balloon is your diet. If unhealthy, calorie-laden foods are consumed, it will hinder weight loss, and your unhealthy eating habits will not be changed. Besides sabotaging your efforts at losing weight, eating these types of foods will make you feel sick, and bloated, or even give you bad breath or make you gassy. It is best to follow the diet plan laid out by your doctor; after all, they are the experts and know from experience what is most effective.
Some of the foods to avoid include:
- Sodas, sugary drinks, and drinks with carbonation;
- Beverages that need a straw, which can promote excess air intake and cause cramping and bloating;
- Junk food that is unhealthy and full of empty calories, like candy, cookies, chips, donuts, foods that have been fried, etc;
- Foods full of starch, such as white bread, white rice, pasta, fries, and potatoes;
- Foods that are heavy in fat, such as red meats (hamburgers, steak);
- Foods rich in heavy cream and cheeses full of fat;
- Curtail your intake of caffeine and alcoholic drinks, as they often cause more trouble than they are worth. (heartburn, ulcers, high in calories)
Your doctor will give you specific instructions for your circumstances and some tips and tricks to use to help manage discomfort when eating certain foods. For instance, often when patients consume pasta or foods that are sticky, some residue will adhere to the top of the balloon and cause discomfort, which may also be accompanied by “dragon breath.” Consuming a small amount of fizzy cola can often fix this issue.
Why You Should Avoid Drinking Alcohol After A Gastric Balloon
Most doctors advise against drinking alcohol while the gastric balloon is installed. There are a few reasons why patients are cautioned against drinking with a balloon, including:
- Alcohol is usually high in calories and provides no nutrition, which is counterproductive for those attempting to lose weight;
- When you drink alcohol, it triggers physiological changes that induce cravings for unhealthy ‘junk-type’ foods both while drinking and even into the next day;
- One complication that can be experienced with a gastric balloon is ulcers, and consuming alcohol with a balloon installed significantly increases your risk for ulcers;
- When alcohol enters the stomach, it magnifies gastric acid production and causes discomfort, heartburn, or GERD.
Can Alcohol Damage A Gastric Balloon?
The material the balloon is constructed out of is resilient, so it is highly unlikely it could be damaged by alcohol. The issues with consuming alcohol when you have a gastric balloon are related to patient health, safety, and weight loss results.
How Long After A Gastric Balloon Can I Drink Alcohol?
As stated earlier, it is best to avoid alcohol altogether while using a gastric balloon; however, the advice of doctors varies, but on average, most agree to wait between four and six months.
You Should Avoid The Consumption Of Alcohol For At Least 2 Days Before Balloon Installation
Alcohol is a natural blood thinner and can also promote dehydration, which could lead to adverse events during and after the procedure. In some cases, having residual alcohol in your system can cause unexpected interactions with certain types of sedation medication. To ensure your safety and the success of your procedure, do not drink any type of alcohol for at least two days before your procedure.
Following the guidelines that your doctor gives you during your balloon weight loss journey will yield the best results and will lock in lifelong habits that will make it easier for you to maintain your health. The wonderful aspect of choosing a gastric balloon to help you stay on track is that it is temporary. There are no permanent alterations done to your digestive system, or any incisions created that need time to heal.
Losing weight will help you live a longer and healthier life, so investing six to eight months is minimal compared to the lifetime of rewards you will gain.