By Nancy Owais
GLP-1 medications have become a popular treatment option for combating the obesity epidemic, as they can help patients feel full faster and longer while reducing insulin levels. However, like many medications, GLP-1 drugs can have some side effects, most of which are gastrointestinal-related. Gas and bloating, nausea, and constipation are among the most common side effects reported by patients. It's important to note that not everyone experiences these side effects, and many individuals can tolerate GLP-1 medications without issue. At Trimly, patients start with the lowest dose of medication, so their bodies get adjusted and gradually go up to avoid complications and side effects. However, understanding and managing potential side effects is essential to using GLP-1 medications effectively.
Gas and bloating
While gas and bloating can be uncomfortable, there are some strategies you can use to help alleviate the symptoms.
- Watch your salt intake: Consuming too much salt can cause your body to retain water. Be mindful of your salt intake and limit your consumption of salty foods.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help flush out excess salt and reduce water retention. Aim to drink at least 8 cups of water per day.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals: Larger meals can cause your stomach to expand. Instead, try eating smaller meals throughout the day.
- Avoid carbonated beverages: Carbonated beverages can cause gas in your stomach. Try to limit or avoid carbonated drinks, such as soda or sparkling water.
- Take a walk: Light exercise, such as taking a walk after a meal, can help stimulate digestion and reduce gas and bloating.
- Consider taking probiotics: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help improve digestion and reduce bloating.
- Eat slowly: Eating too quickly can cause you to swallow more air, contributing to gas. Take your time when eating and chew your food thoroughly to help reduce the amount of air you swallow.
- Be mindful of your fiber intake: While fiber is essential for digestive health, too much can cause gas. Be aware of your fiber intake, and try to slowly increase your intake over time to help your body adjust.
Most patients who experience nausea only experience it on the first day of injection or when they go up in dose. Try these tips to avoid nausea altogether.
- Take your nausea medication at the same time as your injection: Most people complain of nausea when increasing the dose of their GLP-1. By taking nausea medication simultaneously with the injection, you may not feel nauseous at all.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids can help reduce nausea. Try to sip on water throughout the day to help you stay hydrated.
- Avoid greasy foods: Greasy foods, like fried food or hamburgers, can trigger nausea. Avoiding foods that trigger nausea will reduce the likelihood of getting nauseous.
Constipation is the most common side effect of GLP-1 medications. It is also easy to combat, and you will lose more weight with these tips.
- Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated is important for keeping stools soft and easy to pass. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Eat a high-fiber diet: Fiber helps add bulk to stools, making them easier to pass. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Aim to eat at least 25-30 grams of fiber per day.
- Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help stimulate bowel movements and prevent constipation. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise 3-5 days per week.
- Take a mild laxative: You can take a laxative or stool softener to alleviate constipation.
GLP-1 medications have been around for years and are great for helping anyone struggling with obesity. Most people have few, if any, side effects with these medications, which are usually resolved as your body adjusts. As a Trimly patient, your medications come with supplements to combat these side effects if they are needed.