After undergoing hiatal hernia surgery, it is important to follow a proper diet to speed up the healing process and prevent complications. Eating the right foods can also help alleviate symptoms such as heartburn, acid reflux, and difficulty swallowing.
On the other hand, consuming the wrong types of foods can irritate the surgical site and hinder recovery. In this article, we will discuss the foods to eat and avoid after hiatal hernia surgery, as well as provide tips for a healthy post-operative diet.
Foods That Are Safe to Eat After Hiatal Hernia Surgery
After undergoing a surgery for hiatal hernia, it is recommended to consume soft and bland foods that are easy to digest and gentle on the digestive system. Here are some foods to consider adding to your diet after surgery:
- Soft and bland foods: Opt for foods that are easy to chew and swallow, such as cooked cereals, mashed potatoes, and boiled vegetables.
- Lean protein sources: Choose lean sources of protein such as skinless chicken or turkey, fish, eggs, and low-fat dairy products like Greek yogurt.
- Fiber-rich foods: Incorporate fiber-rich foods such as oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain bread, and fresh fruits and vegetables to help regulate digestion and prevent constipation.
- Low-fat dairy products: Choose low-fat dairy products like skim milk, low-fat cheese, and yogurt as a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamin D.
- Fruits and vegetables: Choose soft and cooked fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, avocados, cooked carrots, and well-cooked green beans, as they are easy to digest and rich in vitamins and minerals.
Overall, it is important to focus on eating small, frequent meals throughout the day instead of large meals, which can put a strain on the digestive system. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is also important to keep the body hydrated and aid in digestion.
What to Avoid
Here are some foods you should stay away from till your body has healed completely:
- Spicy and acidic foods: Spices and acidic foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and vinegar can irritate the esophagus and cause heartburn and acid reflux.
- Carbonated beverages: Carbonated beverages like soda and beer can cause bloating and gas, which can put pressure on the surgical site and cause discomfort.
- High-fat and fried foods: High-fat and fried foods are difficult to digest and can cause indigestion, gas, and bloating, leading to discomfort.
- Alcohol: Alcohol can irritate the esophagus and cause heartburn and acid reflux. It can also slow down the healing process by interfering with the body's ability to absorb nutrients.
- Caffeine: Caffeine can cause acid reflux and increase stomach acid production, which can irritate the surgical site.
In short, it is important to avoid foods that are difficult to digest and may cause discomfort or irritation to the esophagus. It is best to slowly reintroduce these foods back into your diet after a few weeks, as tolerated. It is also important to avoid eating too close to bedtime and to wait at least two hours before lying down after a meal to prevent acid reflux and discomfort.
Tips for Eating After Hiatal Hernia Surgery
Here are some practical and effective tips to make eating after hiatal hernia surgery a comfortable and successful experience.
- Eat slowly and chew thoroughly: Eating too quickly or not chewing your food thoroughly can put pressure on the digestive system and cause discomfort.
- Avoid large meals: Eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day can help prevent bloating, gas, and discomfort.
- Drink plenty of water: Drinking water throughout the day can help keep the body hydrated and aid in digestion.
- Wait to lie down after eating: Waiting at least two hours after a meal before lying down can help prevent acid reflux and discomfort.
- Keep a food diary: Keeping track of the foods you eat and how they make you feel can help identify foods that may cause discomfort or irritation to the surgical site.
- Avoid eating before bedtime: Eating too close to bedtime can increase the risk of acid reflux and discomfort, so it is best to avoid eating at least two hours before going to bed.
- Follow your surgeon's guidelines: It is important to follow your surgeon's guidelines regarding diet and activity after surgery to promote healing and prevent complications.
It is essential to listen to your body and pay attention to any discomfort or symptoms after eating. If you experience any discomfort or have questions about your post-operative diet, it is best to consult with your surgeon or a registered dietitian.
At Hernia Innovations, we specialize in hiatal hernia surgery and offer personalized care for our patients. If you are experiencing symptoms of a hiatal hernia or have been diagnosed with one, we are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced surgeons and take the first step towards a healthier, more comfortable life.