For patients who have suffered from heartburn, chronic acid reflux and GERD for years without knowing that there are quick, noninvasive surgery options that could rid them of those symptoms for good, acid reflux surgery is an absolute game changer. These surgeries are the most effective way to treat your acid reflux and GERD long-term, and with modern technology, the process of undergoing anti-reflux surgery is fairly simple. The biggest challenge patients face when they undergo GERD surgery: a liquid diet.
That’s right, the dreaded liquid diet is necessary for both the Lap Nissen Fundoplication procedure and the TIF procedure for reflux. This short-term recovery period isn’t easy, but it plays a huge role in allowing the esophagus to properly heal post-surgery and is a small price to pay for getting rid of your reflux symptoms for good. Here is how the liquid diet recovery goes, as well as some tips to make sure you get through it safely.
How Does The Liquid Diet Work?
For the first two weeks following reflux surgery, the patient will be on a solely liquid diet, which allows items like juices, soups, popsicles, etc. For weeks 3 and 4 of recovery, you’ll transition to a semi-solid diet, which can include soft or pureed foods that don’t require too much chewing! After that first month is complete, most patients are fine to add solid foods back into their diets, though you’ll want to stay away from things that are super heavy (like dark meats) until your digestive system has gone back to normal.
3 Tips To Surviving A Liquid Diet
At the end of the day, most patients find that a liquid diet - if managed properly - really isn’t so bad. You’re only doing it for a short amount of time, and as an added bonus you’ll see yourself slim up a bit during those two weeks! There’s no getting around the liquid diet aspect of recovery, but there are a few things you can do to help make the process a little easier on yourself.
1. Stock up on your favorite foods, aka liquids.
If you know you’re going into surgery, stock up on 5 or 6 different liquid food items that you really enjoy. Make some broth soup and strain it, or buy it from your favorite restaurant. Load up on popsicles or invest in frequent visits to your local juice bar, but make sure to have a wide variety of items and a lot stocked up since you’ll be eating these pretty much exclusively for the next two weeks.
2. Keep Your Mind Off Food
While it may be easier said than done, there may be some things you can do to take your mind off of food. Watching a captivating show, for example, or getting caught up in a book you’ve been meaning to read. And, if it helps, you will probably be eating much more often to keep your strength anyway, just nothing solid. Grab a liquid food you haven’t had in ages because of your acid reflux triggers, like orange juice, lemonade, or a nice hot cup of cocoa, and enjoy it with no repercussion!
3. Remember To Reward Yourself
Once you move to the third or fourth week and can start to slowly reintroduce semi-solid food into your diet, make sure you pick something you’ve really been craving or something you haven’t been able to have in years because of your acid reflux and GERD. Remember that you can always blend your food and eat it as a stew! It may look a little funky, but the flavor will all be there!
Being on a strict diet is never easy, but take this as a weight loss chance, or as an opportunity to try the juice detox trend. Whatever you do, make sure to remember that this is only temporary and soon enough you’ll be able to enjoy all sorts of food! So keep your eye on the goal and take it easy for a month — your body will love you for it. To schedule an acid reflux surgery appointment, contact us today.