Preparing for weight loss surgery is like a full time job. You attend doctor appointments, have blood work done three million times, go to nutrition classes, watch every video on Youtube about the surgery and read endless articles online. You think you are completely ready, but there might be a few things that you have not planned for in your weight loss journey. Here are some strange and completely unexpected weight loss surgery side effects that you probably won’t read about anywhere else!
1. Being cold all the time
You will be cold like you cannot even possibly imagine. It is a cold that creeps into your bones and no amount of warm clothes or blankets can get rid of it. The theory is that when you lose your insulation (AKA fat), your body has to struggle to regulate it’s temperature.
Do not assume that this is limited to the winter. Even in the middle of the summer, you will be bundled up and shivering when most people are in tank tops. I was always hot all the time so this was the most foreign concept to me. I could go outside in 30 degree weather with no coat and be fine. Fall was my favorite season because of the chill in the air and I hated summer because I could never get cold enough. I bet some of you feel the same way, but just trust me on this one; you will be so cold that it physically hurts sometimes.
This is probably one of the most common weight loss surgery side effects. Wear layers and buy an electric blanket now to be prepared.
2. Hair regrowth
By now, you have heard that you will lose your hair, right? Don’t worry, you won’t be completely bald, but you will definitely see a difference. This is just part of the process and I feel like it is addressed openly during the pre-surgical education and in online forums.
However, what no one talks about is when your hair starts to grow back. You end up with wispies all over the crown of your head. They refuse to lay down and your hair always looks frizzy. Hats will be your new best friend.
3. Body signals to stop eating
You know that you will get full faster and on small amounts of food, but did you know that your body might have a strange way of telling you that you are full?
For some people, the trigger to stop eating is when they start hiccuping. For others, their nose runs and some belch uncontrollably when they are full. Some super lucky people get shoulder pain that feels like the gas pain you experience immediately after the surgery.
Your body is adjusting to the new size of your stomach and finding all types of fun ways to tell you to stop eating. Look for and learn your personal signals or you will be uncomfortable after meals.
4. Worsening pain and soreness is a weight loss surgery side effect
Your body will still hurt. In fact, it might get worse before it gets better. For example, if you have bad knees or an aching back now, you are probably guessing that once you lose the weight and take some pressure off, the pain will go away. Well, it will eventually, but as your body is adjusting, the pain might actually get worse for a little while.
There are many theories on why this happens, but again, I think it is just your body adjusting. If your knees are used to carrying a certain amount of weight, they need to adjust to the new, lighter, you.
5. Changes to your menstrual cycle
For the ladies, prepare for your menstrual cycle to be completely out of whack for a while. It could disappear, you could have it for prolonged periods of time or the flow could get lighter or heavier. Just know that there will most likely be some type of change and it will take 6-12 months to get back into a regular pattern.
6. Your taste buds will change
Foods that you use to love might taste too sweet. Actually, a lot of foods will taste too sweet. The first time you have a bite of cake icing, your teeth will ache from all the sugar.
Are you a coffee drinker? Some people report that it tastes too bitter for them to drink anymore. Fast food fan? Once you go for six months without a takeout burger, you can’t even stand the thought of eating one.
7. Your sense of smell changes too
It could be heightened or maybe the scents you use to love now bother you. Sweet smells might be too much for you now or floral smells could be overwhelming when you used to love them. This is definitely a strange weight loss surgery side effect and not one that I found mentioned in any of the literature I read before the surgery.
8. Shrinking pains are another weight loss surgery side effect
You could experience “shrinking pains.” The theory is that as you lose weight, your internal organs are actually shifting into new positions. This causes a dull, aching pain, usually throughout your abdomen.
Not everyone will experience this, but the people who do say it is one of the weirdest weight loss surgery side effects. One woman told me that she felt like a deflating balloon with marbles inside. Everything is shifting and moving so fast that you can feel it fumbling around inside your body.
9. Extreme itchiness is the final weight loss surgery side effect
As your skin is shrinking, especially in the areas where you have stretch marks, you could start to experience an irresistible urge to scratch all the time. Again, everything is moving and your skin is working hard to keep up. Stock up now on a good lotion to keep your skin as hydrated as possible!
You probably won’t experience all of these side effects, but most of the people I have talked to had at least one or two of them. However, don’t let any of these deter you from having the surgery. It is a life saving tool to help you get healthy and the side effects are nothing compared to the happiness you will feel. You can read more about my decision to have surgery here.
If you have already had weight loss surgery and have a weird side effect to add, comment below!