After Gastric Bypass Surgery: Understanding Dumping Syndrome
You’ve made it through weight loss surgery . Your waist line is getting smaller. Your future looks bright. Only problem? You tend to get cramping and nausea after eating a large meal. What’s happening? Should you be concerned?
Chances are, you’re experiencing dumping syndrome, a common complication of gastric bypass surgery. Rarely serious, it can nevertheless be a great inconvenience. Fortunately, it’s possible to minimize the discomfort, or even avoid the symptoms altogether.
What Is Dumping Syndrome?
Sometimes called rapid gastric emptying, dumping syndrome occurs when food moves too quickly from the stomach to the small intestine. That can lead to everything from nausea to diarrhea.
There are two different types of dumping syndrome. The condition can manifest as early phase dumping, which occurs within 10 to 30 minutes after eating, or as late dumping syndrome, which comes with a delayed reaction—typically two to three hours after a meal.
What Causes Dumping Syndrome?
Dumping syndrome occurs most frequently in people who have undergone gastric bypass surgery. When you bypass significant portions of the stomach, you alter the digestion process and create a new food passage route . That, in turn, causes food to dump rapidly into the small intestine.
Certain foods also increase the likelihood of developing symptoms. Foods that are high in sugar, for example, are the single worst culprit when it comes to late dumping syndrome. Fatty or fried foods can also cause problems, as can eating large meals or eating too fast.
What Are the Symptoms of Dumping Syndrome?
When nutrients pass too quickly from the stomach to the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract, it can cause a number of uncomfortable symptoms. They can manifest immediately after a meal (early phase dumping) or hours afterwards (late phase dumping).
In either case, the symptoms include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Rapid heart rate
People who experience late dumping after eating sugary meals may also suffer from hypoglycemia, a condition in which the body’s blood sugar level drops too low.
How to Avoid Dumping Syndrome
Dumping syndrome doesn’t have to undermine your quality of life. There a few concrete steps you can take to prevent or minimize its occurrence.
- Eat smaller portions. Eating large meals can upset the digestion process, causing uncomfortable symptoms. Eating many smaller meals throughout the day can help reduce the discomfort.
- Eat slowly. The faster you eat, the more likely you are to suffer from dumping syndrome. Give your body a helping hand by savoring each bite. You might also find that you eat less in the end.
- Don’t drink with meals. Ingesting liquid with your food will cause the stomach to dump the contents too quickly. Instead, drink plenty of liquid in between meals.
- Avoid fatty, sugary foods . Unhealthy foods are the single leading cause of dumping syndrome. Foods high in sugar (sucrose) are particularly harmful.
- Chew thoroughly. Your digestive tract may struggle to process large pieces of food. Chew well and you can minimize the risks.
Where to Go for More Information
Contact 1st Choice Weight Loss if you need more personalized advice or if you’re worried about your symptoms. Maintaining a regular consultation schedule with your weight loss doctor will also help you manage post-surgery complications like dumping syndrome.
Disclaimer: This is only for general information. All patients should consult their doctors prior to following any of the recommendations in any articles, post, or video. Every patient has individual needs and limitations that only their treating physicians can be aware of.