What is Dumping Syndrome and what are the Symptoms

10 August 2018

What is dumping syndrome?

Dumping syndrome is a set of symptoms that can develop after gastric (stomach) surgery due to rapid delivery of nutrients to the small bowel. It can happen after many gastric operations such as fundoplication, sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass or SADI/SIPS procedure. The incidence varies based on type of operation and how accurately the symptoms are looked into.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can appear either within minutes of a meal (early dumping) or a few hours later (late dumping). The symptoms vary for both early (usually within 20 minutes of a meal) and late dumping (1 to 4 hours after a meal).

Early dumping is mainly manifest by symptoms of blushing, abdominal pain/cramping, nausea, palpitation, need to lie down and diarrhea. Late dumping syndrome is mainly manifest with sweating, restlessness, irritability, tremors, feeling sleepy, tiredness and sometimes unconsciousness.

When do you get dumping syndrome?

Dumping syndrome usually occurs when one consumes food or drinks that are high in sugar especially refined sugar, fatty food and fried food.

How do you prevent it?

Avoiding food that brings it on is the primary step. By keeping a food diary and of symptoms in a detailed manner one can usually get an idea what type of food brings it on. Eating a protein-based diet is a good way to prevent it.  Never eat food that is rich in sugar or fats alone.  Chew your food thoroughly and eat slowly. Avoid eating and drinking at the same time. Give yourself at least 20 min either way. Avoid alcohol.

How do you treat dumping syndrome?

It is best to discuss with your surgeon or your dietitian as there are various treatment options depending on what exactly is causing it. This ranges from simple diet modifications to different types of medication. Most of the times these measures are effective. Occasionally reversal of surgery such as gastric bypass maybe required.

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