Pain and discomfort after eating

I had my surgery in February this year but was in hospital until July due to complications. I find I feel awful after eating. Sometimes I have severe cramps pain other times it's more of a discomfort, I have also gone off a lot of food I used to eat mainly dairy products so I find I eat bread quite a bit and wonder if it may be the cause. I'd welcome any suggestions. Is this something they will get better through time.

16 Replies

oldestnewest
  • I found that too in the early days after my operation (Jan 2013) I was left in agony after eating and wondered if it would ever get any better but it really does I promise you. My tastes have changed for good I think, I prefer fruity, sharp things now as opposed to chocolatey things but because I find I don't crave those things anymore I don't miss them either if that makes sense. With the dairy thing I found that there is something that is produced in the stomach that helps breakdown dairy that your body tends to switch off following stomach trauma (and I think we can all agree that there has been significant trauma!) and takes about a year to come back and I found this to be true. I was incredibly ill every time I had any dairy so switched to almond milk etc, I can now drink / eat dairy products again but not in the same quantities - I still feel ill if I have a latte with normal milk or a bowl of cereal so I just tend to avoid it personally.

    I hope this helps - it really does get better but it takes time.

  • you got there ahead of me! That's my experience too. it can be hell in the first months and sometimes I had dreadful cramps but they've gone now. I hope! I'm 18 months post op.

  • The first year is a difficult one. Things do not taste the same, dairy such as milk did not suit me, I switched to fruit and geen teas, something I would never have had before. But it eventually came right and I can eat dairy in moderation but not in the evening. I have also reduced wheat breads and now go for low gi such as rye and oats. This also helps.

    It is a long learning process but it will improve, this forum is a great help I only wish I had found it much earlier.

  • A lot of people do have difficulty with bread - and quite often dairy products. Sometimes it is the sugar content of them. Your taste buds do change. Eating is not meant to cause you this much discomfort, is it!

    I suggest that you keep a food diary - if you ring the OPA helpline 0121 704 9860 they may well be able to give you a helpful format - it might even be on the website still but I cannot find it.

    It is quite likely to be colic and / or dumping syndrome, so try staying away from anything that has sugar, artificial sweetening, or anything ending in -ose; it sets up a sort of fermenting process inside your digestive system. And try anything that is recommended for diabetics - it is often the sugar:insulin balance that is the basic cause of the problem.

    There are some other hints here: opa.org.uk/resources.html

  • Dear Ipinkt - My husband's upper GI specialist dietician recommended he kept a food diary when he was finding eating difficult and uncomfortable and suggested the one here

    opa.org.uk/pages/factsheets...

    (it is a pdf file half way down the list on the left hand side). We found it very helpful as a starter point and went on to add notes and indicators that we could refer back to if there was suddenly an eating problem because you often forget what causes a difficulty. It is very early days for you (I expect you are fed up with hearing that comment!) but you will eventually work your way around the eating problem. It's a case of trial and error and there is so much help, advice and support available from the OPA not forgetting your dietician and specialist upper GI nurse.

  • it may well get better in time. When I woke up last May , on my birthday , I found that hot chocolate tasted like mud. Now I love it again. I discovered that raspberries were almost inedible ; now I am back eating them. Recently I heard John Whiting talking about the need to try things more than once - as in "you didn't enjoy your fisrt pint of beer" and this is a bit like that. Your body will do some readjustment. It won't be perfect but trial and error and perseverance may well pay dividends.

    I kept a food diary and what that told me was that there was no discernible pattern to my cramps and my dumping and my steatorrhea and my bad temper and my fatigue..............that was a big relief and a darned good reason for keeping the diary.

  • Thanks everyone for the advise. It's good to hear that most symptoms seem to improve with time. Today has been good with very few cramps after eating even though I've not had anything really different to eat.

  • I think the posts so far have shown that we all have had different experiences in our recovery. I think the constants are: the early months are hard because we are weak, are still in pain from the op, we cannot eat very much, and what we can eat tastes like cardboard. In addition we often 'lose' what we have eaten through sickness and diarrhoea; the next stage may involve a gradual improvement but it is so slow, and includes repeated setbacks, that it becomes a psychological battle too.

    I found that at first I could not eat bread at all because it clogged up my smaller stomach. Then I had a taste for baguettes but these are not good because of the GI aspect. From 18 months on I have found that wholemeal bread is perfect. My staple diet now involves two rounds of usually ham/cucumber/Mayo sandwiches through the day and a light cooked meal in the evening. I rarely have dumping and have accepted that my digestive system now prefers this constant regime. I hope this helps a little.

  • As Alan says, a lot of people have problems with bread and dairy products, particularly in the early days. I found spelt bread easier to digest and use soya products in place of dairy.

  • My husband had terrible trouble with food after the op, chronic pains, vomitting, so he went on the FODMAP diet which is lactose free and wheat free, also cutting out other certain foods that can trigger pains, this helped massively, I am not medically trained but did a bit of research and it says that chemo can damage certain organs, small intestine being one of them, which then can make you intolerant to certain food types. Fortunately he can eat wheat now but does still have the lactose free milk, which tastes fine. I think it enabled the small intestine to repair itself. Its something you need to speak to a doctor about if you do want to follow this temporarily. There is also an app on the iphone, it has has a traffic light system of what to avoid etc. Hope this helps.

  • Thanks for the advice. what's the app called. I think it would be very useful.

  • Its called The Monash University Low Fodmap Diet, its about £5 i think from the App store, but it was so worth it, you can just refer to it all the time, please message me for any help, I found the diet really helped my husband, you will be surprised at what foods can trigger discomfort. Keep a food diary as well. Hope you sort this out soon :)

  • THE MAIN THING TO KEEP IN CHECK IS THE AMOUNT YOU EAT. A MINIMUM OF SIX SMALL MEALS A DAY IS RECOMMENDED, ANY MORE AND YOU WILL HAVE PROBLEMS. I HAVE BEEN TAKING GLOCOBAY AFTER EACH MEAL, THIS SLOWS THE FOOD EATEN ENTERING THE SMALL BOWEL. THIS IS RECOMMENDED BY MY SURGEON. I ALSO TAKE A GAVISCON TABLET AFTER EATING IT WORKS WONDERS FOR ME. MOST IMPORTANTLY CONSULT YOU DOCTOR, TELL HIM OF THE DISCOMFORT YOUR EXPERIENCEING. MY SYMPTOMS ARE NOT NECESSARLY INDICATIVE OF WHAT IS CAUSING YOUR DISCOMFORT.

    kindest regard, Terry

  • Thanks, Terry, for the information about Glucobay ( Acarbose). It is meant to slow down the absorption of sugar / starch and this might indeed be helpful for others.

    diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-med...

  • Dear Ipnkit, I had my surgery at the end of March. I too still get cramps and have found that I cannot have dairy or anything to sweet no longer can I eat a candy bar not that I did that often ever but can only tolerate a very small amount of pastry and sweets. I get to the point where I can feel the food in my throat if I have eaten to much. Cramping also. I just eat a little bit at a time and when I do eat too much find myself terribly uncomfortable. I have noticed that when I eat bread it fills me up to much so I would highly suggest when you do eat to eat protein making your intake more nutritious and therefore giving you more energy as bread unfortunately tastes so good but is a carbohydrate and turns into sugar and not much nutritional value, sad but true. Do you have kefir in England? It is 99% Lactose free and has natural probiotics and a good source of protein. I drink it everyday and have found that it greatly helps my immune system. When we were in France I could not find it anywhere. Swear that is why I got sick on our trip, not to mention all the flying.Hopefully you are feeling better! Have a beautiful weekend!

  • Hi. I am 2 years post op and cannot eat more than 2 small slices of wholemeal bread otherwise I get really uncomfortable stomach pains - high in the chest. Potatoes also affect me the same - so I eat very little of these.

    Eating lots of chocolate though!

You may also like...