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What is a dumping syndrome after gastric surgery?

Updated May 13, 2019
ClinicHunter Ltd
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girl showing her bellyImagine you have just eaten a delicious piece of cake at your birthday party, where a word “no, thanks” was not an option for you and you had no excuses to refuse any food. About half an hour after eating a cake, you start feeling a little disoriented, dizzy and you’re getting panicky. Next, your whole body sweats and your clothes and hair become totally soaked. The drops of sweat are dropping on the floor. You feel so unsteady, frightened and helpless that you do not know what you should do – lie down on the floor, drink some water, start pacing or call a doctor. What could have happened to you? It all sounds like a dumping syndrome, about which you can read below.

What is dumping syndrome after bariatric surgery?

Dumping syndrome is a medical condition which may develop after a weight loss surgery (dumping syndrome after gastric sleeve and bypass is the most common). It also occurs in patients of esophageal surgery. The dumping syndrome is also called a rapid gastric emptying and takes place when the food (especially sugar) goes from the stomach into intestines too fast before it is digested.  The most common symptoms of dumping syndrome after bariatric surgery are abdominal cramps and diarrhea that occurs about 10-30 minutes after eating (however, in other people they can appear even 3 hours after eating). In most cases, you can prevent dumping syndrome by introducing changes to your diet after the weight loss surgery abroad. These changes should include eating smaller portions and limiting or even eliminating food rich in fat and sugar. However, in some more serious cases, the medications or even the surgery could be necessary.

What causes dumping syndrome after weight loss surgery?

The early dumping syndrome after bariatric surgery abroad occurs when a dense mass of solid food gets dumped into the small intestine before it is digested. The intestines “know” that the food is too concentrated and dense, and thus release gut hormones. The body reacts in a way that it shifts the fluid circulating in the bloodstream to the inside of the intestines. As a consequence, the intestines get fuller and expanded. About 30-60 minutes later, diarrhea usually occurs. Also, the intestines release some substances which may affect heart rate and blood pressure and cause lightheadedness and fainting at the end.

The reason for late dumping syndrome is mainly a decrease in a blood sugar level (reactive hypoglycemia). The reactive hypoglycemia is a very low blood sugar taking place between 1 and 3 hours after a large insulin surge. Patients who eat meals rich in sugars or starches are much more likely to have late dumping syndrome. These dangerous sugars can be sucrose (table sugar) as well as fructose. The level of insulin increases significantly and then decreases blood sugar too much.

Early Dumping and Late Dumping

Early dumping syndrome appears between minutes after eating. Its symptoms are frightening, inconvenient and cause discomfort, but they are not life-threatening. The symptoms include:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness and fainting
  • Diarrhea and cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Irregular and rapid heartbeat

Late dumping syndrome takes place 2-3 hours after eating. The main reason for it is the excess insulin produced as a response to a rapid food and fluids move into the small intestines. The high level of insulin lowers the glucose level and causes the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Exhaustion
  • Perspiration
  • Faintness
  • Difficulty to concentrate
  • Shakiness
  • Hunger

Of course, early and late dumping syndrome can be prevented. You should just avoid sugars, fried food and starches, and instead eat 5-6 small meals a day. You should take meals dry (don’t drink while eating, but between the meals). Your carbohydrate intake is significantly restricted, so you should increase the fat and protein intake to fulfill the energy needs, e.g. you ought to eat meat, nuts. eggs, cheeses, potatoes, toast and rice crackers. You also should avoid milk products. However, the most important thing is to monitor your own body as everybody is different and while someone can tolerate certain foods, others cannot. You need to learn which meals are tolerated by your body and make you feel well usually by a trial and error method.

Dumping syndrome diet

If you have symptoms of a dumping syndrome after an affordable gastric bypass (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass) or gastric sleeve in Poland, you do not need to visit your GP, your surgeon or dietician immediately. This problem tends to disappear when you change your diet. Only if the new diet does not work, you should contact the doctor – there might be needed certain medications or even surgery. Below, you can find some dietary tips that can help in maintaining good nutrition and minimizing the symptoms of dumping syndrome:

  • eat 5-6 small meals a day rather than 3 large meals
  • the portions should be as small as an e.g.  ¼ cup of vegetables or 1 ounce of meat
  • avoid food that you do not tolerate and that cause your problems
  • do not drink water or beverages during meals, also avoid drinking half-an-hour before and after eating
  • eat more proteins which are in red meat, fish, pork, chicken and include some healthy fat (e.g. olive oil)
  • avoid sugary food (including fructose, glucose, dextrose, sucrose, corn syrup, and honey)
  • be careful about the lactose (most people tolerate an only ½ cup of milk, yogurt or cheese)
  • thoroughly chew the food before swallowing
  • increase the intake of fiber
  • do not drink alcohol
  • refrain from eating too hot or too cold food
  • do not fry, prepare your meals by baking, cooking, broiling or grilling.

If you made the important step in your life, which is a cheap gastric sleeve abroad or any gastric surgery near me, you have certainly started a new chapter in your life. You need to remember that it is not an easy path and you will struggle with numerous problems and obstacles. One of them could be a dumping syndrome, the symptoms of which can be a real nightmare. Nonetheless, we hope that after reading this article, you will realize that you can overcome it on your own and keep losing weight in a healthy way. The small changes in your lifestyle and diet can make that your mood and health will do well and you will achieve your dream weight soon!

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