How to Stay Hydrated After Bariatric Surgery

With the summer months now upon us, we think it’s the perfect time to talk about water! It seems like a simple solution to stay hydrated after bariatric surgery – just drink more water – right? But it isn’t always an easy task for patients. Due to the depleted size of your stomach, it can be a little more difficult to consume enough fluids to keep hydrated. You can no longer gulp a big glass of water like you used to. On top of this, some patients find they go off the taste of water, which can also make hydration a little more challenging.

Despite this, hydration is a critical task for every person, and particularly after bariatric surgery. In fact, dehydration is the principal cause of hospital readmission after your procedure. To avoid dehydration, planning to drink water is key. To help you with this, we’ve assembled some tips and tricks to make sure you keep your fluids up.

Sip, sip sip

Sip slowly and often throughout the day to stay hydrated instead of drinking all at once. Sipping can prevent pain and allow you more room for nutrient-rich food when it’s time to eat. Drinking too much too soon after food can also cause food to empty from the stomach rapidly. Sipping a little and often is the best habit to get into and try to avoid drinking 30 minutes after meals.

stay hydrated after bariatric surgery

Count your mL’s

It’s a great idea to have some gauge as to how much you’re drinking so that you can stay on track. You can set yourself a goal to reach a certain amount by a certain time of day, which will encourage you to sip more often. Grab a water bottle which has a counter on the side to keep a tally.

Set a reminder

Water is that important, that if you’re not remembering to drink through the day you should look at setting a reminder. You can do this on your phone, or you can also install a hydration app on your phone or fitbit to help you sip more often.

Change the temperature

If water is making you nauseous you may find that changing the temperature can help. Try icy cold, room temp or warm with some lemon.

Protein water

After surgery, your protein requirements are also high, and some days it may be a struggle to add in enough of both elements- water and protein. In this case, you can try adding in some protein water. Usually made from whey isolate, protein water can supplement the protein in your diet. So you can see drinking it as an opportunity to increase both necessary elements on those days when you need it. Make sure the type you select is low in sugar and made from a good quality protein which is easily absorbed by the body.

Flavour it up

If you’re struggling with the taste of water after surgery, a little flavour might help. However, don’t go for anything sugary. A little fruit or even herbs will change the flavour and hopefully make it more palatable for you. Experiment until you find your favourite. If you’re adding it to your travel bottle, ensure you only use a glass or stainless steel bottle. Here are some ideas:

  • Lemon or lime and mint
  • Cucumber and dill
  • Mixed berries
  • Fresh ginger

Icy or hydrating treats

Too hot in summer and need to cool down? Some fruits are particularly hydrating. Watermelon is about 92% water and packed full of nutrients. It is great to freeze into iceblocks for the hot summer days. Or a frozen grape is also a delicious summer treat. You can also blitz up some favourite fruits like mango, melon, orange, watermelon or kiwifruit and freeze them into ice cubes to pop in your glass of water.


If you’re after a stronger flavour, try tea infusion bags. These are a lovely way to have a ‘special’ drink without added sugars. Make sure to read the back of the jar to ensure that the product you are buying is sugar free. The range of new flavours can be a welcome change if you’re struggling with water.

Failing to plan means planning to fail

Remember, it takes some planning to ensure this part of your new lifestyle is managed, but it is really important you get the hang of it. If you are having trouble, a follow-up chat with your surgeon or dietitian can help you make sure you follow through with hydration goals.

Is it time to book some follow up? Or perhaps you’re curious about whether surgery is right for you?

Schedule some time to chat with us.

Here are some more tips for diet and exercise which you might find helpful

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