Dumping Syndrome Symptoms

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Dumping Syndrome - Symptoms, Causes, Complications & Treatment


Dumping syndrome is one of the known complications of bariatric surgery especially when gastric bypass is performed. It is therefore important that you know what the dumping syndrome symptom are, so you are not alarmed unnecessarily when you experience them.

The symptoms are not pleasant by any means but when you know what to expect, then you will know how to deal with them. Remember, knowledge is power.

The main cause of dumping syndrome is rapid gastric emptying – which means food actually leaves the stomach into the small intestine too quickly, much quicker than should happen under normal physiological circumstances.

 How many types of dumping syndrome are there?

Well, there are two types:

Early dumping syndrome – this type occurs either when the food is being eaten or soon after the meal is completed.

Late dumping syndrome – in this situation, the dumping occurs between 1 – 3 hours after food is eaten.

Both types can occur inter-changeably in individuals who are at risk, in particular gastric bypass surgery patients.

What causes dumping syndrome and its symptoms?

It is important to note that normal time interval within which food usually leaves the stomach for the small intestine is around about 4 hours.

So when food transits from the stomach to the small intestine (i.e to the duodenum when the alimentary tract is unaltered by surgery or further down the tract as happens in gastric bypass surgery), much sooner than the 4 hours, then the stage is set for gastric dumping syndrome symptoms.

The most likely scenario where gastric dumping syndrome or rapid gastric emptying occurs is when the stomach has been surgically bypassed as opposed to an intact, unaltered alimentary canal.

Apart from Roux en y gastric bypass surgery, the condition can also be seen in people who have had other stomach surgical interventions like partial gastrectomy, vagotomy, gastroenterostomy, fundoplication.

 So, what are the symptoms of dumping syndrome?

When early dumping syndrome occurs, you may experience these symptoms:

Symptoms of late dumping syndrome include:

 What triggers dumping syndrome symptoms?

The usual triggers are meals high in refined sugars like fructose and sucrose. You should note that table sugar is high in sucrose and some fruits may be high in fructose.

If the stomach has difficulty in digesting food high in fat, gastric dumping syndrome may be triggered as well in this scenario.

 What are the risks & complications of dumping syndrome?

 How is dumping syndrome treated?

Sometimes the condition will resolve without any treatment i.e self-limiting as your body adjusts to the surgical gastric bypass. Most affected individuals will cope very well with it.

However, dietary manipulation is the key to preventing dumping syndrome symptoms.

Avoid simple refined sugars in your diet.

You may need to adopt a low carbohydrate diet.

Eat small, frequent meals

Adjust your diet to a high fibre one, because high fibre diet prolongs the time interval for food leaving the stomach to the small intestine.

Those are the regular, simple methods of dealing with gastric dumping syndrome and its related symptoms. If these measures are unsuccessful, then medical intervention may become necessary.

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