Got Your Stomach Removed? Here’s How And What To Eat After Gastric Cancer Surgery

Cancer surgeries of stomach involve a lot of aftercare. It is essential to take good care of yourself by choosing an appropriate diet for complete recovery

Vani Malik
Written by: Vani MalikUpdated at: Jul 25, 2019 11:49 IST
Got Your Stomach Removed? Here’s How And What To Eat After Gastric Cancer Surgery

Having your stomach operated for cancer calls for great care for recovery from the surgery. Gastrectomy is the surgery of removal of some or all of the stomach in cases of gastric cancer. In cases like these, it is essential to understand the importance of eating as per health standards. Surgeries involving chemotherapy later or before the procedures lead to a sudden dip in the diet of the patient, leading to excessive weight loss and a weakened immune system. It is strange to think of a life without stomach, but sooner or later, the body adjusts to the condition. However, in such cases, recovery much depends on how and what you eat. For some days, patients might eat or drink everything via IV, which is directly linked to the abdomen through veins. However, with due course of time, the patient needs to start eating from mouth to get the required nutrients. One should start by taking an extremely light diet as specified by the doctor to ensure that the body gets in line with the digestion process.

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How Does The Body Functions? 

In typical cases, whatever you eat is held and processed by the stomach. From the stomach, the food is passed through the small intestine. If all these processes are not in line, digestion becomes difficult, leading to several gastric-related problems. If the small intestine if removed, it becomes difficult for the body to derive as many nutrients as possible from the food. In cases with such surgeries, the patient might start feeling full early than usual. The body also starts processing different food items differently. The patient with no stomach may encounter problems like dumping syndrome with symptoms like diarrhoea and cramping. These symptoms can occur as fast as 20 mins after eating any meal with sugar in it. It may also happen that people who had no history of lactose intolerance may encounter those symptoms. 

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Following are some do’s and dont’s on how and what to do to make digestion a much-easier process for patients with no stomach:  

  • Try to split your meals into 4-5 parts in a day. Rather than just taking three meals, eat lesser proportions for 4-5 times in a day for easier digestion. 
  • Chew your food well 
  • Ensure to stay hydrated. One should have a minimum of 3-4 litres of water in a day. Avoid having carbonated drinks as it can lead to acidity.  
  • Do not start with heavy meals immediately after surgery. Slowly add sugar, fats and dairy to your diet as it takes longer for them to get digested. 
  • Eat controlled portions of fibre. Fibre tends to make one full and feel uncomfortable due to the feeling of overeating. 
  • Maintain a food diary and note down whatever you are eating. It works handy while visiting a doctor for further investigations. 
  • Eat foods, which are high in calorie, hold more nutrients and are low on sugar. 

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