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Life after an oesophagectomy or gastrectomy

                       drop. This can make you feel weak, faint, sweaty and dizzy and cause
                       palpitations. Lie down and rest until you feel better. Then continue to eat
                       and drink as you would normally.

               Your bowels may be slow to get going in the first days post operation due to the
               constipating effect of some pain medications. You may be given laxatives to
               encourage a normal bowel function. You may also have some diarrhoea for a
               while, this is not unusual and can be controlled with medicine if it continues.

               Gastric retention and sickness
               Food can sometimes remain in the stomach rather too long, causing you to feel
               sick and bloated, with, sometimes persistent, burping. This may occur as you
               begin to eat slightly bigger meals. It is common and your GP will be able to give
               you a medicine (for example, metoclopramide or domperidone) which you should
               take half an hour before each main meal to improve the movement of food
               through the system. You will not need it forever – just until the body gets used to
               the new arrangements.

               If you have had an oesophagectomy and there are repeated episodes of
               regurgitation or feeling of fullness, discuss this with your Nurse Specialist or
               Surgeon – major nerves are severed during the operation and this may be the
               cause of the problem. Sometimes an antacid is prescribed, occasionally an
               endoscopy is required to stretch the exit of the stomach (pylorus).

               Food sticking
               If food gets stuck, try sipping a warm drink and walking around. If the blockage
               occurs for more than a couple of hours, ring the Nurse Specialist, Surgeon,
               Dietitian or hospital ward for advice. Remember, choose puréed foods for 2 weeks
               and eat slowly.

               Post-surgery scar tissue at the join in the oesophagus may restrict the flow of food
               or cause it to stick and cause problems with swallowing. This can be a worrying
               reminder of the original issue; however, an endoscopy can be performed to
               stretch the join. Some patients need this performed more than once. Please do
               not let this situation go on for too long, consult your Nurse Specialist or Surgeon.

               Acid regurgitation (reflux)
               Sometimes an extremely unpleasant feeling in the stomach may come over you
               for a short while, particularly first thing in the morning or at night. Although there
               may be no acid burning in the throat the trouble appears to be caused by acid in
               an empty stomach.

               Some food in the stomach or gut helps to absorb the acid and there are also
               medicines which can help to prevent its regurgitation (prokinetics) or reduce its
               formation (proton pump inhibitors – PPIs). If you continue to experience reflux,
               please contact a member of your clinical team.

               Extra pillows or raising the bed head by about 10–15 CMS (4–6 inches) with
               blocks of wood or a house brick can be very beneficial and a pillow under the
               knees may prevent slipping down during the night. If you have had an
               oesophagectomy, whether you sleep flat or propped up, may be affected by the
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