embla logo whiteIcon open
Where are you located?

Embla is the leading international weight loss clinic. Please select the country you are located in.

Wegovy side effects: practical tips for managing 11 common side effects

Struggling with Wegovy side effects? Our practical tips can help you manage common issues and stay on track with your weight loss goals.

Azeem Yussouf
Azeem Yussouf
Medical doctor
clock
5
Wegovy side effects: practical tips for managing 11 common side effects

Like all medicines, Wegovy can cause side effects. Although not everyone will experience them, these side effects can sometimes hinder your weight loss progress. To address this, the Embla clinical team, including doctors and nurses, routinely reviews the side effects reported by our members during their weight loss journey.

Our primary goal is to ensure the weight management process is both effective and safe by closely monitoring individual responses to the medication. This close monitoring is crucial as side effects can cause discomfort and may discourage continued treatment.

It's important to note that the highest dose isn't always necessary to suppress your appetite effectively. The EMBRACE III study demonstrated that Embla members achieved a 15.3% weight loss using 60.7% less semaglutide (Wegovy) over 40 weeks, compared to the original clinical trial's 12.4% weight loss over 68 weeks with the maximum dose of 2.4 mg.

In this article, we'll explore practical tips for managing 11 common side effects of Wegovy, helping you to stay on track with your weight loss goals.

What are the side effects of Wegovy? 

Wegovy helps with weight loss by suppressing appetite and slowing digestion. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels by increasing insulin production. Besides weight loss, Wegovy can reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular deaths by 20%.

However, Wegovy's effects on digestion can cause side effects like nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting. These usually get better over time. More serious side effects, such as gallstones or pancreatitis, are linked to rapid weight loss and pancreas overstimulation.

Severe side effects, like high fever, severe abdominal pain, and vomiting, require immediate medical attention. While pancreatitis is rare, it's important to recognize and respond to its early signs. At Embla, our clinical team ensures safe and effective treatment for our medical weight loss program members.

Tips for managing the most common Wegovy side effects

Common side effects like mild GI symptoms, fatigue, and headaches usually occur at the beginning of treatment or after dose increases. Their duration and severity depend on your lifestyle and overall health. Some dietary and lifestyle changes can help reduce these symptoms. Embla nurses continuously monitor members' responses to find the best ways to improve medication tolerance.

Managing nausea, burping, and acid reflux

Delayed gastric emptying caused by Wegovy can lead to feelings of fullness, heaviness, and sickness. When the esophageal sphincter (the muscle separating the food pipe from the stomach) doesn’t work properly, stomach acid and food can flow back up to your throat, making you burp, feel sick, or even vomit.

Tips:

  • Eat smaller portions more often to prevent food from sitting too long in the stomach.
  • Chew your food thoroughly.
  • Drink enough fluids (decaffeinated beverages) but avoid large amounts during meals to prevent bloating.
  • Avoid fried, fatty, and spicy foods, tomatoes, citrus fruits, peppermint, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and carbonated beverages.
  • Stay upright after eating and avoid lying down for two hours post-meal.
  • Ginger can help reduce nausea.
  • For acid reflux, over-the-counter remedies like Gaviscon or Rennie can provide quick relief.

Managing constipation

Reduced gastrointestinal motility caused by Wegovy can lead to constipation. When stool remains in the large intestine too long, extra water is absorbed, making stools drier and harder to pass.

Tips:

  • Increase fiber intake with fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
  • Eat fruits high in sorbitol (e.g., apricots, apples, pears) to soften stools.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Increase physical activity to improve gut motility.
  • Over-the-counter remedies like Fybogel or Senna can be used for short-term relief.

Managing iarrhea and abdominal discomfort

The mechanism of Wegovy-associated diarrhea is not fully understood, but it’s likely related to food not being fully digested, causing a ‘dumping’ effect as food attracts extra water and passes through the digestive tract quickly.

Tips:

  • Stay hydrated, aiming for 6-8 glasses of fluid per day.
  • Use oral rehydration solutions if dehydrated.
  • Avoid high-fiber, fatty, sugary, and dairy foods, as well as caffeinated beverages.
  • Eat easily digestible foods like white rice, toast, boiled potatoes, bananas, and boiled/baked chicken.
  • Gradually reintroduce high-fiber foods.
  • Over-the-counter remedies like Imodium can be used for short-term relief.

Managing headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and heart palpitations

These symptoms may be signs of dehydration or low blood sugar. Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, and dizziness, while low blood sugar can occur if your meals are low in carbohydrates or if you skip meals.

Tips:

  • Stay hydrated with at least 6-8 glasses of fluid per day.
  • Don’t skip meals; balance them with carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber.
  • Ensure good quality sleep (7+ hours).
  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake.

Managing gas and bloating

Reduced gastrointestinal motility can cause ingested food to pass through the digestive tract slower than usual, leading to gas and bloating.

Tips:

  • Avoid high-FODMAP foods and foods you are intolerant of.
  • Eat smaller, frequent meals.
  • Drink or chew food slowly.
  • Peppermint oil or tea can help relieve stomach cramps and bloating.
  • Avoid carbonated beverages and alcohol.

Contact your healthcare professional if symptoms persist or worsen. At Embla, our medical weight loss program members receive continuous support from our clinical team of doctors and nurses

Conclusion

Dealing with Wegovy side effects can be tough, but with the right tips, you can manage them and keep up your weight loss progress. Remember to stay in touch with your healthcare team, who are there to help you. At Embla, we're committed to supporting you every step of the way, making sure your weight loss journey is both safe and effective.

References:

Wilding JPH, Batterham RL, Calanna S, Davies M, Van Gaal LF, Lingvay I, et al. Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults with Overweight or Obesity. New England Journal of Medicine. 2021 Mar 18;384(11):989–1002.

Nadkarni P, Chepurny OG, Holz GG. Regulation of Glucose Homeostasis by GLP-1. Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2014;121:23–65.

American College of Cardiology [Internet]. [cited 2023 Aug 21]. SELECT: Semaglutide Reduces Risk of MACE in Adults With Overweight or Obesity. Available from: https://www.acc.org/Latest-in-Cardiology/Clinical-Trials/2023/11/09/15/04/select#:~:text=Prior%20studies%20of%20lifestyle%20and,to%20this%20increased%2Drisk%20populatio

Sheahan KH, Wahlberg EA, Gilbert MP. An overview of GLP-1 agonists and recent cardiovascular outcomes trials. Postgrad Med J. 2020 Mar;96(1133):156–61.

nhs.uk [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2024 Mar 13]. Gallstones. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gallstones/prevention/

Saluja AK, Lerch MM, Phillips PA, Dudeja V. Why Does Pancreatic Overstimulation Cause Pancreatitis? Annual Review of Physiology. 2007;69(1):249–69.

nhs.uk [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2024 Mar 14]. Acute pancreatitis. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/acute-pancreatitis/

nhs.uk [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2024 Mar 15]. Indigestion. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/indigestion/

nhs.uk [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2024 Mar 15]. Feeling sick (nausea). Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/feeling-sick-nausea/

nhs.uk [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2024 Mar 15]. Heartburn and acid reflux. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heartburn-and-acid-reflux/

Ernst E, Pittler MH. Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. British Journal of Anaesthesia. 2000 Mar;84(3):367–71.

Constipation symptoms and treatments [Internet]. NHS inform. [cited 2024 Mar 15]. Available from: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/stomach-liver-and-gastrointestinal-tract/constipation/

University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2024 Mar 15]. Coping with Diarrhoea. Available from: https://www.uhsussex.nhs.uk/resources/coping-with-diarrhoea/

St. Mark’s solution. [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2024 Mar 15]. Available from: https://www.imperial.nhs.uk/~/media/website/patient-information-leaflets/gastroenterology/st-marks-solution.pdf

BDA. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diet [Internet]. [cited 2024 Mar 15]. Available from: https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/irritable-bowel-syndrome-diet.html

nhs.uk [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2024 Mar 15]. Headaches. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/headaches/

nhs.uk [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2024 Mar 15]. Dehydration. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dehydration/

Hydration [Internet]. NHS inform. [cited 2024 Mar 15]. Available from: https://www.nhsinform.scot/campaigns/hydration/

Pross N, Demazières A, Girard N, Barnouin R, Santoro F, Chevillotte E, et al. Influence of progressive fluid restriction on mood and physiological markers of dehydration in women. Br J Nutr. 2013 Jan 28;109(2):313–21.

nhs.uk [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2024 Mar 15]. Sleep problems - Every Mind Matters. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/mental-health-issues/sleep/

O’Callaghan F, Muurlink O, Reid N. Effects of caffeine on sleep quality and daytime functioning. Risk Manag Healthc Policy. 2018 Dec 7;11:263–71.

Heart palpitations [Internet]. NHS inform. [cited 2024 Mar 15]. Available from: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/heart-and-blood-vessels/conditions/heart-palpitations/

Mutuyemungu E, Singh M, Liu S, Rose DJ. Intestinal gas production by the gut microbiota: A review. Journal of Functional Foods. 2023 Jan 1;100:105367.

nhs.uk [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2024 Mar 14]. Farting (flatulence). Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/flatulence/

nhs.uk [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2024 Mar 15]. Peppermint oil: a medicine to treat to treat stomach cramps and bloating. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/peppermint-oil/

In this article
Azeem Yussouf
Azeem Yussouf
Medical doctor
clock
5
newsletter

Get tips for a healthier life

Zero spam, just concrete advice to live healthier.

Related

View all

A weight loss journey that doesn’t just promise results, it delivers.

See if you're eligible
Embla weight loss effectiveness graph