I Don’t have Rabies, So Why am I Foaming at the Mouth?

I eat, I foam at the mouth.  I have not been bit by a rabid raccoon, so what the heck is going on with my body?  No, I do not have rabies.  We call it the “foamies.”

Caution before reading further:  This post includes a vivid telling of graphic reality.  Read forward with caution as I just tell it like it is.

When you have the Gastric Bypass surgery, the stomach is cut into two parts, the pouch and the stomach.  The pouch is the small, thumb sized piece from the top of the original stomach, which is at the bottom of the esophagus.  It dumps into a portion of the small intestine and meets up at the “Y” with the other part of the small intestine that brings the bile and stomach juices from the lower part of the original stomach.

When a person has this surgery, their food intake is seriously changed.  The amount of food they can eat is drastically reduced.  Remember, the pouch is the size of your thumb. It is really only about 2 ounces in physical size, but stretches to hold about 4 to 6 ounces of food once it is healed.

Relearning to eat is an interesting process.  They start you out with liquids after surgery for about a week to ten days and then they move you on to pureed foods for a week or more before they let you eat soft foods and then move you along to anything that might be a harder food.  You start with trying to get an ounce of food to go down and then up it until you are able to eat about 4 ounces of protein and 2 ounces of fiber foods (non starchy fruits and vegetables).

Unfortunately, the stomach cannot always handle the new foods that we attempt to eat. The food may be too large, too stringy, too difficult to digest, too much at one time, etc.  So, as we are getting excited that we can finally eat real foods again, we are suddenly filled with this sudden urge to run to the bathroom because our mouth and throat is suddenly filled up with this foamy spittle substance that overwhelms our  mouth and throat.

At two and a half months post surgery, I rarely experience the foamies any more, but the experience is shocking when you do not realize what is going on.  I recall the first time it happened.  I was sitting in my easy chair, relaxing after a long day, having just eaten my dinner, and all of a sudden my mouth was filled with this substance.  My husband looked over at me and asked if I was okay.  I couldn’t talk because this stuff was in my mouth and throat.  I ran to the bathroom, thinking I was going to vomit, and spat it out in the toilet, fully expecting to vomit all of my meal.  The strange thing though, was that none of my meal actually came up.  There was just this foamy substance and nothing else.

After this happened a few times I thought it was only me going through this, but, nope, we all seem to go through it at one time or another.  So, what is it?  Why is it?  When will it stop?

When we eat foods that get stuck in the pouch before moving along through the rest of the system, the body produces a substance that helps lubricate the food.  If we have eaten too quickly, there is no room in the pouch for this substance and since the food is blocking the exit at the bottom of the pouch, this substance (basically a very foamy spittle) has no place to go except back up. You feel like you are vomiting, but the food in your pouch usually remains fairly untouched.

I don’t know if anyone can truly avoid this reality after having weight loss surgery, but one of the best things we can remember is to chew our food extensively, take smaller bites, and eat more slowly.

Oh, and if you have been bitten by a rabid raccoon, just remember that the larger you are, the more shots you will have to get.  Yup, been there done that, except it was a rabid cat, and my ex-husband’s cat at that.  The number of shots is one per 50 pounds of weight, so keep those pounds off and stay away from rabid animals.



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