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Beat the Bulge: A Guide to Reducing Bloating After Cosmetic Surgery

Though not often discussed, bloating is relatively common post-surgery. This article sheds light on why bloating happens, how long it might last, and suggests ways to manage it.

Deciding to have cosmetic surgery is a major choice that requires careful consideration of the pros and cons. While the surgery itself often gets a lot of attention, the recovery period afterwards is equally important. During this time, some unexpected issues may arise, like bloating. Though not often discussed, bloating is relatively common post-surgery. This article sheds light on why bloating happens, how long it might last, and suggests ways to manage it.

Why Does Bloating Occur after Cosmetic Surgery?

After cosmetic surgery, bloating is very common. The anaesthesia, pain medications, and surgical procedures themselves slow down the digestive system, making it harder to pass gas and relieve abdominal pressure. Swelling from inflammation can also contribute to bloating. Feeling bloated can be uncomfortable and emotionally distressing when you’re hoping to see positive results from your procedure.

How Long Does Bloating Last After Cosmetic Surgery?  

The experience of bloating after cosmetic surgery isn’t uniform; it varies among individuals. For some, the bloated feeling may last just a few days. For others, it could persist for several weeks. The duration often depends on:

  • Procedure type – More extensive surgeries like tummy tuck lead to longer bloating than minor ones like breast augmentation. 
  • Health status – Those in good health may bounce back faster and experience a reduction in bloating compared to someone dealing with underlying health issues.
  • Healing response – Just like our distinct personalities, our bodies heal uniquely. Some people naturally adapt and heal faster, causing bloating for a shorter period of time.

What Helps Bloating Go Down After Surgery?

Post-surgery bloating is often expected, but you don’t need to put up your body with discomfort. Take steps to reduce or prevent bloating after your cosmetic procedure. 

  • Consult with your doctor – If you think a medication might be causing bloating as you recover, talk to your surgeon immediately. Go over all the prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, herbs, and supplements you are taking to determine whether a medication is the culprit.
  • Follow a low-sodium diet – High-sodium foods can cause fluid retention and exacerbate swelling and bloating. Consume low-sodium foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and nuts. Avoid processed and prepackaged foods, salty snacks and excessive added salt.
  • Stay hydrated – Dehydration can contribute to that bloated feeling. Drink plenty of fluids, like water and herbal tea, throughout the day. Water helps flush out excess salt and reduces fluid retention. Avoid carbonated, sugary or caffeinated beverages, which can aggravate bloating. 
  • Take a digestive enzyme – Digestive enzymes like lipase, protease and amylase can improve the breakdown of fats, proteins and carbs. This helps prevent post-surgery gas and bloating. Consult with your doctor before beginning an over-the-counter digestive enzyme.
  • Walk and move gently – Once your surgeon gives you the green light, start integrating light physical activities. Gentle exercise helps expel trapped gas and abdominal discomfort. It also improves circulation, which is critical for reducing swelling. Short, leisurely walks and basic movements that engage your core can make a difference. Avoid vigourous exercise, and always ask your surgeon’s permission.  
  • Wear compression garments – Your surgeon will likely provide you with a compression binder or garment to wear post-surgery. These apply gentle pressure to your abdomen to minimise swelling and bloating. 
  • Give it time – Finally, remember that post-surgical bloating is temporary! Allow your body ample time to heal and recover in the weeks following your procedure. Discomfort should lessen day by day. Report severe, worsening or painful swelling to your surgeon promptly.

Wrapping Up

After undergoing procedures such as a tummy tuck, breast augmentation, or breast reduction, experiencing some degree of puffiness, swelling, and bloating is normal. However, following the above tricks and tips can help minimise these side effects. Be diligent with self-care and allow your body the necessary time to bounce back! With a little bit of care, the outcome will undoubtedly be worthwhile.

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