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Life after an oesophagectomy or gastrectomy

                  position of the join between the remainder of the oeosophagus and the smaller
                  stomach. The higher the join is, the less reflux may be experienced.

                  If you feel reflux is about to happen, drink some water to dilute the effect and
                  encourage it to go downwards. It should become less frequent in time, but there
                  may always be a possibility of it occurring. You may also find a reduction in reflux
                  by avoiding eating for at least 2 hours before going to bed.

                  Increased burping is not unusual. In the early days, this can cause
                  embarrassment, but with some practice this can be controlled. It also happens
                  when wind gets trapped in the stomach area which can be painful and worrying,
                  however it does improve fairly quickly.

                  Loose Stools
                  Patients may suffer from loose stools, particularly in the first few months after the
                  operation. It may be accompanied by colicky pain.

                  This problem does ease over time (maybe also with the help of medicine
                  prescribed by your GP), but it often happens for no apparent reason, that is to say
                  that it cannot be related to any food that has been taken. It will not harm to keep a
                  food diary, but also to reduce the amount of intake of high fibre foods, i.e. less
                  fruit, green vegetables, pulses (beans and lentils), high fibre cereals and
                  wholemeal bread. If you are having loose stools, pale in colour and difficult to
                  flush, sometimes accompanied by an increase in wind, please contact the
                  Dietitian as you may not be absorbing all of the fat from your food.

                  Speed of recovery
                  Your GP will be informed when you are leaving hospital. It is possible that the
                  district nurse will also be informed, if you need specific care, e.g. if a wound needs

                  Recovery from a major operation involving digestive organs is not fast. It can take
                  months for the digestive system to adapt after surgery although some patients
                  recover quicker than others. It will be some months before you are at your peak
                  again and you will have good and off days along the way. Try not to be impatient.

                  Initially you will feel very tired, possibly exhausted at times and plenty of rest is
                  needed. Sometimes the tiredness may come on very quickly; don't feel you have
                  to fight it. An afternoon nap in bed is helpful for the first 5–6 weeks to prevent you
                  getting overtired, or you may find you need to go to bed for several hours during
                  the day and still need to go to bed early in the evening. Take some gentle
                  exercise as soon as you can – walking to start with for just a little further each day
                  – it will help stimulate the appetite. It will also stimulate your breathing, helping the
                  chest to expand and restore its suppleness, and helps to build up strength and

                  Lifestyle after surgery
                  Your aim after getting over your operation may be to become fitter than you were
                  before. Muscles, bones and organs have all been affected in the chest, abdomen

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