WLS Patients – When You Should Get IV Fluids

Steph Wagner MS, RDN

March 8, 2018

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WLS Patients – When You Should Get IV Fluids

WLS Patients When You Should Get IV Fluids | Bariatric Nutrition | FoodCoach.Me


As a weight loss surgery patient, you’ve heard since day one the importance of meeting your water goals.

Maybe this was easy for you pre-op.

Or maybe this sounded like torture.

After surgery it may have started out fine…

Or it may have started out terribly.

Nauseated with cold liquids.  Disgusted with sweet drinks. So over drinking broth.

As hard as you tried, you just couldn’t force any more fluids than you were doing. Everything sounds awful…or you feel too full…or it hurts. Or all of it. Yes to ALL OF IT.

But, if you’re like me…you also don’t want to go in for fluids.

The picture at the top of the post was me at 32 weeks pregnant after a terrible stomach flu just wouldn’t go away. Nothing stayed down. Not broth. Not popsicles. Not PowerAde Zero. Definitely not water.

The only time I ever felt better was when I had tried to NOT drink anything for a while. Which of course I knew, was not a good idea.

After I “lost” a half a popsicle and it had been 3 days of not keeping down food or liquid, I knew it was time to go in.

I didn’t want to mostly because I knew…there would be a bill.

It wasn’t about pride for the most part. And it wasn’t about being scared of the IV. It was a little about the inconvenience of getting my toddler taken care of and figuring out if I needed a ride or if I could just drive myself.

But in the end…I really needed to be there.

If you’ve been feeling more and more nauseated with fluids and it isn’t getting better. If you aren’t keeping fluids down. If you know in your heart that you aren’t hydrated the way you should be – it’s time to go. Stop hesitating.

As a recap, these are the classic symptoms of dehydration:

WLS Patients - When You Should Get IV Fluids | Bariatric Surgery Nutrition | FoodCoach.Me


Because when you are truly dehydrated, getting IV fluids will make you feel SO. MUCH. BETTER.

I was amazed. I was at the hospital for about 2 hours and was able to even close my eyes and rest a bit. Something a mother of a 2 year old could use any day much less after a stomach flu :) The nurse dimmed the lights and made me feel comfortable and at total ease. She didn’t give me a hard time that I really should have come in sooner.

I wasn’t nauseated by the end of the day. When my body was hydrated again, I had taken some time to rest and started again with my oral fluids, I was totally back on track. It really will give you the reset you need!

The bill did come. And you know what? I didn’t care like I thought I would. I needed that trip to the hospital and I just couldn’t look back on the option of not going in.

Whether it’s early out of surgery and you got behind or you are further along and you got a stomach bug or it’s the heat of summer and you didn’t plan accordingly…who cares. If you’re body is in need of something as fundamental as water to operate, you need to do it. Every cell in the body needs water which is why everything feels tired and sick and painful when it’s not up to par.

Remember this! You are not alone. The number one reason a post-op patient needs to walk back into the hospital door is for IV Fluids. MANY patients need help establishing hydration as they adapt to the high water needs and the small stomach.

Wishing you all my best and feel better FAST!

Steph :)
Bariatric Dietitian

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9 thoughts on “WLS Patients – When You Should Get IV Fluids”

  1. Thank you so much for this. I’m actually currently hooked up for if fluids. Id been miserable for days (currently 7 days post op sleeve) the doctor sent me in and I’m determined to use this reset to get back on track.

  2. @Valerie I’m confident you will feel so much better!!! Wishing you all the best!

  3. I get cramping and pain in my legs. Urine is darker than it should be, yes. I try to reverse it on my own and it may work for a day or two, but the leg pain comes back. I wonder if it is dehydration, and if it’s something I should go in for or just up my fluid intake….

  4. I will say this, if it were me or one of my kids…I always call the nurses line at our doctors office! They are a great source of help on whether a visit is needed or if I can do something at home and call them back if it’s not improving.

  5. @Patti I’m not familiar with those places but I would recommend a bariatric surgeon be the ordering physician as there are special considerations for weight loss surgery! The fluids may need specific micronutrients or patients may need more bags of fluids than a standard dehydration patient. Great question, I’ll update this post a little to make that recommendation.

  6. I have visited an IV infusion place twice post surgery and it made all the difference. It was run by an RN and once she gave me b-12 in the bag and once just saline. The best part, it only cost $65 each time and I used my HSA for it.

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