Why don't I like the taste of alcohol after my surgery?
March 5, 2012 3:05 PM   Subscribe

Why do I not like the taste of wine and other alcohol, four months after my orthhopaedic surgery?

I had a periacetabular osteotomy on my left hip about four months ago. They used a cell saver and recycled about 6.5 litres of my blood, and I got two units of donated blood the night of the operation. I was off work recovering for about 8 weeks.

My orthopaedic surgeon is happy with how my bones are healing, and I feel like I'm recovering well - I'm only taking ibuprofen for pain, and I feel so much better than I did a few months ago, but I still can't stomach any alcohol! I don't like the taste of wine any more at all - it feels kind of like being pregnant (I'm not). I guess this isn't the worst thing in the world, but I would be disappointed if I couldn't drink again.

Has anyone ever heard of this?

I see my surgeon again in about three weeks, so I'll ask him as well.
posted by mgrrl to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Has your diet changed at all? Like, maybe eating less or differently because you're moving less? I went on a whole food/low sugar diet a while ago and it changed the way wine tasted to me entirely to the point that I just didn't want it at all. (and yeah, pregnancy was the first thing I thought then too and freaked myself out a bit, but it turned out to just be the diet change).
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 3:29 PM on March 5, 2012

How much ibuprofen are you taking? Ibuprofen and alcohol together aren't good for livers, and it's possible (IANAD, I am purely guessing) that your liver is more taxed than usual and your body is telling you so.
posted by zippy at 3:29 PM on March 5, 2012

I am taking enormous amounts of ibuprofen right now (at a rheumatologist's recommendation) and I am not able to finish even one glass of wine before I just totally go bleagggghhhhhhhhhhhhh on it. (And I am a wine lover!) So it might be your taste buds' way of keeping your liver in balance, as zippy says.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:48 PM on March 5, 2012

Could it also be that because of your recovery, you weren't drinking for an extended period, and so you've lost your taste for alcohol? I find when I take a couple of months off from drinking, wine doesn't taste nearly as good as I remembered when I finally have another glass. But after a fortnight of resuming the steady five-seven drinks a week (a glass with dinner, basically), I seem to re-develop my palate (or is that my tolerance?) for the taste.
posted by artemisia at 4:07 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ibuprofen completely suppresses my appetite to the point I can't really take it. It does this by irritating the hell out of my stomach. Acid (coffee) sweet and spicy food and alcohol are the first things I lose interest in.
posted by fshgrl at 4:24 PM on March 5, 2012

I've known people who have had nearly identical experiences to yours. Believe it or not, symptoms like yours are effects of the general anesthesia, which can continue to affect the body for several months after surgery. This article says that the effects can remain with you as long as a full year (possibly longer) after undergoing heavy sedation.

I had some operations as a small child, and I remember having my sense of taste and smell altered (even though my operations had nothing to do with the organs associated with those senses). It doesn't last forever, and you're certainly not alone in having this happen.
posted by chatelaine at 11:08 AM on March 6, 2012

Thanks for the answers! I'm taking 700-800mg of ibuprofen a day, less than I took pre-surgery, so maybe it was the general anaesthesia or the propofol I was given in ITU. I'll update after I speak to my doctor.
posted by mgrrl at 4:23 PM on March 6, 2012

My doctor said he had never heard of such a thing post-surgery - he said just keep trying with the cocktails! So I am.
posted by mgrrl at 5:56 AM on April 12, 2012

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