Dehydration Before Surgery: How it Affects You and How to Avoid It

Dehydration before surgery

Dehydration Before Surgery: How it Affects You and How to Avoid It

When it comes to staying hydrated, the general population isn’t exactly knocking it out of the park. In fact, according to MedicalDaily.com, 75% of Americans may be chronically dehydrated (someone pass the water!). Though it’s a state three-quarters of us are in at any given time, being dehydrated has far more of an impact on your health than you may realize—and this is especially true when it comes to dehydration before surgery. Today, then, we’re talking all you need to know about how dehydration before surgery affects you and, more importantly, how to avoid it. Read on….and drink up!

What exactly is dehydration?

This may seem like a no brainer, but dehydration is more than just being parched (and feeling like you’d kill for a tall glass of ice water!). It occurs when more water and fluid leaves the body than enters it. Ready for some surprising stats and facts about water consumption and dehydration? We’ve rounded up our favorites below:

  • According to The New York Times, “Water is the single most important substance we consume. You can survive for about two months without food, but you would die in about seven days without water.”
  • Even mild dehydration can affect your ability to think clearly.
  • Dizziness, rapid heart rate, sleepiness, lack of energy, and irritability can all be signs of dehydration.
  • Our thirst mechanism is specifically designed to tell us when our body needs to increase our fluid intake. If you’re thirsty, you’re likely already dehydrated.
  • According to Medical Daily.com “60 percent of our bodies is composed of water, 75 percent in our muscles, 85 percent in our brains…”

How does dehydration before surgery affect me?

Even the smallest amount of dehydration before surgery can have an impact on your body’s ability to go under (and wake up from) anesthesia in the strongest state possible. When you’re getting ready to go under the knife, you’re already anxious (and probably overwhelmed)—add dehydrated cells into the mix, and your body isn’t exactly in an ideal state to take on the stress of surgery. The effects of dehydration before surgery include:

  • Painful IV “Sticks”: Dehydration leads to reduced blood flow. This can often mean it takes multiple, painful IV sticks for a nurse to find a “good” vein (the last thing you want to experience when you’re already stressed and worried before surgery).
  • Post-Op Nausea & Vomiting: Ever woken up from surgery and felt immediately sick to your stomach? You’re not alone: in fact, one in three patients suffers from post-op nausea and vomiting. Dehydration before surgery—combined with the strong anesthesia meds you’re administered on an empty stomach—plays a major part in this. (Psst…learn more about reducing your risk of getting sick after anesthesia here.)
  • An Increased Risk of Surgical Complications: It’s no surprise that entering into surgery in a weakened state can set the stage for surgical complications and a tough recovery. In fact, according to a PubMed.gov medical study, “Preoperative dehydration is associated with increased rates of postoperative ARF, MI, and cardiac arrest.”  

Is it OK to hydrate before surgery?

While you should always follow your doctor’s instructions, more and more modern medical research is pointing to the fact that medical professionals should do away with the “no food or drink after midnight” rule and, instead, allow patients to safely hydrate and nourish up to two hours before surgery. (There are a number of reasons this is the case, and we break them all down here.) The important thing to note is that the “no food or drink after midnight” rule was never evidence-based, while modern instructions to hydrate and nourish before surgery are based on Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (or ERAS®) programs, which consist of evidence-based protocols that are proven to enhance a patient’s recovery and make for an easier, safer surgery all together.  

If my doctor says it’s OK, how do I safely hydrate before surgery?

If you’re ready to kick dehydration before surgery to the curb, start by talking to your doctor about consuming a safe, trusted presurgery drink. Enhanced recovery protocols call for a clear liquid that contains at least 45 grams of complex carbs and no simple sugars like you’d find in sports drinks (more on why sports drinks don’t cut it for hydrating before surgery here). The drink should also have an osmolarity level that allows for timely gastric emptying (in other words, the beverage needs to be formulated to clear from your stomach fast).

ClearFast is the only domestically produced presurgery drink of this kind: it’s rich in maltodextrins and healing properties (zinc & L-citrulline), is clear and colorless, is free of simple sugars and colored dyes (like those found in sports drinks), is designed to clear from your stomach fast (hence the name), and is trusted by luminary hospitals across the US, who regularly use ClearFast as a key part of hydrating patients before surgery.

PRO TIP: If you’re ready to hydrate before surgery with ClearFast, the key is to ensure you follow your doctor’s orders and the ClearFast drinking instructions. You always want to make sure you’ve consumed your last bottle of ClearFast at least two hours before surgery. We recommend chilling ClearFast overnight before drinking for an even tastier treat!

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Overall, though the effects of dehydration before surgery are serious, it’s also relatively easy to avoid with the right, doctor-approved presugery drink. If you’re ready for a stress-free, complication-free surgery (and a fast recovery!), you can order your ClearFast Recovery Drink here. And, as always, don’t hesitate to reach out to the ClearFast team at support@drinkcf.com if you have any questions at all.