Dumping Syndrome

Dumping Syndrome

What is it?

This syndrome is a complication of gastric bypass surgery or after you have had a surgery that removes part of your stomach.   Sometimes with these procedures, the opening between the stomach and small intestine, the pylorus, has been removed.  When present, the pylorus can regulate how fast things empty from the stomach. With this syndrome, undigested food from your stomach can move very quickly in an uncontrolled fashion to the small intestine. Once present in the small intestine, hormones are released that are thought to cause symptoms which may include:

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Shaking, sweating, light-headedness
  • Flushing
  • Fast heart rate
  • Diarrhea

The symptoms typically follow eating foods that are high in sugar or after eating too fast.

How is it treated?

Avoid foods that cause significant problems. 

Sometimes specific dietary changes are beneficial such as:

  • Eat smaller meals.
  • Avoiding drinking fluids with meals and for a half hour before and after meal time. Rather drink liquids between meals.
  • Eat foods low in carbohydrates and sugar.
  • Increase fiber in your diet.
  • Chew food well and lie down after eating.

Some think this effect is actually positive because it may develop an aversion to eating foods high in sugar and carbohydrates and the condition is rarely severe enough to cause significant nutritional problems.

If dietary changes alone do not help your symptoms, certain medications may be prescribed such as acarbose (delays the digestion of carbohydrates) or octreotide (slows the emptying of food into the small intestine). Sometimes surgery is required.

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