What Are Foamies? 4 Distinct Things You Should Know Right Now

Patients who have gone through a gastric bypass often struggle to adjust to the new lifestyle. Bariatric surgeries warrant a well-monitored food habit, a good exercise regime, and overall change in life.

If not appropriately maintained, one may have to face several side effects. However, there is one side effect that no one talks about. But every bariatric surgery patient faces it sooner or later. It’s the Foamies. It doesn’t sound so appealing, I know.

Naturally, the question might come up, What are Foamies? Should I be concerned? That’s all the article is about.

What are Foamies?

The Foamies are a blend of mucus and broken-down foods which come up instead of vomit. Gastric bypass patients are usually fitted with a sleeve or pouch. Its primary purpose is to limit the amount of food you eat. It also has a small structure which slows down the food intake.

Now, when bariatric surgery patients eat too fast or don’t chew their food well, there might be problems with the pouch. They might eat something that is not compatible with the pouch or overeat the same thing. All of this might lead to them regurgitating the food in the form of foams.

When you eat too fast or too much, the food tends to block the stoma. As a reaction, the body produces a whole lot of mucus to help pass the food. But instead of being of any help, it produces this slimy foamy concoction that comes up like vomit.

What is foamies or what causes foamies after gastric bypass will be the main focus of this article. So, stay put.

Foamies vs Vomit

Vomiting on its own doesn’t feel good. But, if you get the Foamies, then it’s worse. However, it’s nothing to be scared of. It’s just a very annoying situation. Foamies are quite different from vomiting.

While you vomit, you usually regurgitate the food content along with bile and stomach acid, which might lead to a burning sensation in the mouth and throat. But after gastric bypass surgery, your stomach is no longer connected to your alimentary canal.

Thus the bile and stomach acid don’t come up. If you are regurgitating acid or bile along with Foamies, it might be a dangerous sign. You must immediately call your doctor if you notice something like this.

Bariatric surgery patients can typically have Foamies as they get used to the new food habit. It is usual for them to regurgitate the excess amount of food taken. So, there is nothing to be worried about. However, you should be aware of avoiding such annoying conditions. Let’s get to know how to get rid of the foamies.

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What to Do When You Get the Foamies?

Foamies don’t go away as quickly as vomit. If you ask me ‘how long do foamies last,’ let me tell you that it can persist for hours. Thus, something needs to be done about it. One of the easiest ways to get rid of Foamies is to expel everything in your sleeve or pouch.

It’s not so easy in the beginning and might take some practice. But if you can vomit out or expel the irritating food material from your pouch, then it might provide some relief. You might have trouble vomiting out the food content in your pouch.

In this case, you can try taking something that breaks down protein. You can try eating papaya enzymes which contain papain. This helps break down protein faster. Some home remedies include taking pineapple juice before meals will provide some extent of relief.

If your Foaming tendencies persist longer than normal, then it is best to consult your doctor. They would look into the situation for underlying conditions. They might suggest you medication for a few weeks to resolve your sliming gastric bypass issue.

Other Causes of Foamies

Now you have all the details about ‘what are foamies.’ However, vomiting white foam can also occur in people without a geriatric cause. Some of the other reason for having a foamy vomit is given as follows:

Vomiting on An Empty Stomach

If you are continuously vomiting, you’ll soon be out of food content. If you continue to vomit, your vomit would contain mucus, stomach acid, and swallowed saliva. This makes it appear white and foamy.

Certain Foods

Consumption of ice cream and carbonated drinks, spicy and acidic foods make vomit appear foamy and frothy, so if you want to avoid a foamy mouth after gastric sleeve, cut down the consumption of those foods.

A balanced diet will help you to stop thinking about ‘what are foamies’ for good.

Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Too much consumption of alcohol irritates the stomach lining. This can lead to indigestion, diarrhea, and vomiting. The morning after, you can have a bad hangover with a headache, nausea, and vomiting. The vomit might appear frothy with a tinge of yellow.

If you ask my honest recommendation on how to get food unstuck after gastric bypass, I would say you cut your alcohol during the Friday nights to enjoy the Saturday mornings.

Acid Reflux or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

When stomach acid goes up the esophagus, it is known as acid reflux. It causes a burning sensation on the chest and makes you throw up acid. It will appear foamy and clear. There are a whole lot of remedies available to prevent acid reflux.

You can try this probiotic. It has proven to combat acid reflux efficiently. You can always consult your doctor before making a choice.

Candidiasis

The stomach contains millions of flora and bacteria, which are suitable for digestion. However, yeast infections can always cause diarrhea and vomiting. Vomit might appear white and foamy.

Side Effects of Medications

Drugs like ibuprofen, morphine, aspirin, antibiotics, etc., can induce vomiting as a side effect. Consult your doctor before taking any of these medications if you have a history of frothing after gastric sleeve.

Chronic Coughing

Intense chronic cough due to bronchitis, infection, choking, or allergies can make you throw up. Your vomit might look white and foamy as the body is trying to expel the irritant. It’s usually a mixture of saliva and mucus that you will be throwing up.

Pregnancy

Morning sickness is a presumptive sign of pregnancy. It usually occurs during the first trimester. It happens due to changes in hormonal levels or simply due to the baby pressing against your stomach. As the stomach empties during the night, your vomit might appear frothy.

what are foamies
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I am sure you won’t have any queries about what are foamies. Let’s talk about how to get rid of the foamies.

Avoiding Foamies

Foamies can get very annoying. However, it’s not that hard to avoid this annoying condition. You just need a little bit of practice. Here is what you should do:

  • It is suggested that taking smaller bites and eating in smaller portions helps avoid the Foamies. Try eating on a smaller plate with small bites. This might take you longer to finish your food. But you should always be mindful of your condition.
  • You should chew your food well. Chew your food until it resembles a mushy consistency. If you swallow poorly chewed food, it might block your stoma.
  • Avoid dry foods. Dry fish, chicken, or crackers might be hard to digest. You should rather opt for lightly spiced curries or gravies. Food with a soupy consistency will go a long way.

Prevent Gas Build Up After The Foamies

If you do not flush out your pouch correctly after getting the Foamies, there might be some gas build-up. The remnant food at the bottom of your pouch will ferment. This would produce gases. This would fill up your pouch and create pressure or pain.

The pain might get severe depending on the amount of gas production. To avoid this, you must drink as much water as you can. It would help flush out the remnant food particles in your pouch.

FAQs

How long does Foamies last?

Everyone’s body is different. The Foamies usually last till you have ejected all of the offending food. It can be up to several hours. There have been a few cases that lasted up to 12 hours. As soon as you have got rid of the offending food, the Foamies should stop.

How to stop the Foamies?

Home remedies include taking meat tenderizers, taking grapefruit, pineapple juice, papaya protein, etc. These help in breaking down the food. But if the situation doesn’t resolve, then it is best to consult your doctor.

What are Foamies made of?

Foamies are a mixture of mucus, saliva, and undigested food particles. It usually occurs when there is food stuck in your stoma after gastric bypass surgery.

Final Thoughts

“What are Foamies?” is a question that’ll always haunt you if you are someone who is going to have bariatric surgery. If you are someone who already has a gastric pouch or stoma, then chances are you have already experienced the nasty Foamies.

The Foamies can be a very nasty condition. However, they are easily preventable. Just chew your food right and take your time while eating. Avoid dry foods, and you should be fine. If the situation gets dire, your doctor is always there to help you.

I'm Sabriha Hasan, a 3rd year medical student from Armed Forces Medical College. I chose to study medicine to do something for the greater good and to use my skills and knowledge to provide relief to those who are suffering. Writing is second nature to me. I always try to provide readers with necessary information that would not only quench their thirst for knowledge but also help them in long run.

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