Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Lap Band Side Effects

For the last 12 months I just haven’t felt right. I have been tired, run down, depressed and just physically and mentally exhausted. I continue to lose extreme amounts of hair even though I am 2 years post lap band surgery. I pick up handfuls of hair from the bathroom floor, out of the shower drain and from my hair brush every day. This doesn’t bother me because I have very thick hair, but it is just so messy! Almost every day when my alarm goes off to get up for work I have thought about calling in sick because I just didn’t feel like I could get out of bed. For the first time in my life I learnt how to use the snooze button on my alarm and I became one of those people constantly rushing into work 5 minutes late. That is just not me, I have never in my life pushed snooze on my alarm and I have never been late for work. I just wanted to hide away from life and be left alone.

I was taking chewable multi vitamins but I never seemed to get any sort of boost from them. I do try to eat foods full of protein and fats to keep me going, but it just never seemed to be enough. Of course I am not perfect and I do eat a little too much chocolate and most weeks I’ll indulge in a decadent meal out or a take away at home. My typical daily menu looks like this (critique welcomed!):

Breakfast: oatmeal with skim milk and a cup of tea
Lunch: 2 boiled eggs and 2 pieces of cheese
Afternoon snack: dried fruit and nuts
After work snack: small bag of pop corn
Dinner: soup or casserole with lean meat, vegetables, lentils or legumes
Dessert: hot cocoa

I had spoken with 3 separate lap band doctors at my surgery about this and asked for advice, but they all dismissed me. The last doctor I spoke with said that I should talk to my GP if I felt like something was really wrong. So I spoke with my GP and said she really didn’t think that the lap band would be causing these problems because deficiencies are usually seen in gastric bypass patients and not lap band patients. She ordered tests anyway and, just as I suspected, they showed that I was anaemic and had a vitamin B12 deficiency.

I know this doesn’t sound too serious (and it’s not) but constant fatigue, weakness and depression makes life very difficult. I am now receiving a course of B12 injections and also taking iron tablets and after about a month I am starting to feel like my old self again. I don’t think I realised just how bad I felt until I started to feel better. I am cheerful at work, talkative and energetic at home, enjoying exercise and a much more positive person to be around.

So I guess the main reason I wanted to talk about this is because if you have a lap band and you feel like something isn’t right, chances are you might need some support from your doctor. It doesn’t have to be so hard and having the right balance in your body makes all the difference. I would love to hear from anyone else who has been in a similar situation and how you’ve dealt with it!


  1. It is a shame it took so long to get taken seriously but I am so pleased for you that your GP took you seriously.

  2. Thanks for this post. It does prove that we do know our own bodies and should listen to them more often :o)

    Glad to hear you are felling better.

  3. I'm glad you found someone who finally listened and that you trusted your body to know something was off. My doctor said she wants me to have lab work done every 3 months to check for any deficiencies. I'm getting the sleeve in July or August and that is not a malabsorbtive surgery surgeon only says everyone needs a multivitamin after sleeve/band surgery and he prefers to determine other vitamins by checking bloodwork...which makes sense to me but it sounds like so few doctors do that. They just tell everyone to take the same thing.

  4. Hi!

    I'm so glad that you figured out what's going on for you! It's always a relief to have answers.

    Just a quick thought on your daily food intake. It doesn't look like you are getting any (or not many) live foods- that is, raw, unprocessed, plant foods. What I mean is foods that, when under a microscope, actually move. We absolutely need live foods to feel vital & healthy.

    I've been loving reading The Gabriel Method. His approach absolutely resonates with me. He talks about needing to include live food, protein & omega 3s in every meal. I have started doing this & feel an amazing difference!

    Hope you don't mind the feedback!


    After all, there's no point being skinny if you feel like shit & can't enjoy it.


  5. I went for my bloodwork last month and they told me that I was borderline anemic and definitely deficient in B-12, I went in for an injection and then started taking suplements. I didn't think I was feeling fatigued until I started feeling better! It made a big difference. Glad you're feeling better. Word to the wise, if you're taking iron, start taking stool softeners too, you'll need them!

  6. Hey Tully,
    first of all, let me tell you, I love your posts and can't wait for the new ones (which I usually read on my mobile phone via RSS reader). You seem such a cheerful and energetic person.
    Now I haven't had lap band or gastric bypass surgery, cause my BMI is somewhere around 31 (and because here in Lithuania the surgery costs a fortune), but recently (probably for the last 2 years) I've been having various health concerns. Hair falling out (and right now my hair is extremely thin), hair growing in the places it's not supposed to, lack of energy, depression etc. Since January it all got even worse. The feeling of fatigue from the early morning, weakness right after meals, nausea, tremble... I was sure it was diabetes. It wasn't. Thyroid malfuction? PCOS? Anaemia? No. No. No. I did all the blood, hormones tests and probably every other test that is. It was all alright. My GP and endocrinologist have no idea why I am having these weird symptoms. I even quit eating carbs and now it's been 2 months eating only lean meat, eggs and veggies. Stopped drinking coffee or anything that has caffeine. I don't eat sugar or anything that contains sugar (even the natural sugar, like grapes). And I am still fatigued and sleepy with the perfect blood tests. Whew... it sucks.
    Sorry, I just wanted to vent about my problems. I hope you will get better and beat anaemia and get your energy back. Good luck ;)

  7. I totally get what you mean about not realising how bad you were until you were back to normal. The same thing happened with me with depression, I didn't realise how depressed I had been until I got off the medication that had been causing it (an awful side effect of Zyrtec they don't mention). Funny how easy it is to 'forget' what is normal for ourselves.

  8. Thank goodness your doc ordered the tests! How frustrating you had to speak with 3 lapband doc's first though. Glad you are feeling better!!!!

  9. I'm not a lap bander, but I am prone to being anaemic. It's immediately noticeable that you're eating next to no fresh fruit and vegetables in your daily food intake. Vitamins are always best consumed in food, not in a supplement. I would start by trying to eat less processed food, and more fresh food, and go from there.


Awww thanks so much for the comment!