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Dumping Syndrome

Dumping syndrome is common after gastric surgery. It is a group of symptoms that may result from having part of your stomach removed or from other surgery involving the stomach. The symptoms range from mild to severe and often subside with time. Although you may find dumping syndrome alarming at first, it is not life threatening. You can control it by making changes in what and how you eat. By controlling dumping syndrome, you will also be avoiding the foods that tend to make you gain weight.

Causes of Dumping Syndrome

After gastric surgery, it can be more difficult to regulate movement of food, which dumps too quickly into the small intestine. Eating certain foods makes dumping syndrome more likely. For example, refined sugars rapidly absorb water from the body, causing symptoms. Symptoms may also happen after eating dairy products and certain fats or fried foods.

Dumping Syndrome: Symptoms of the Early Phase

An early dumping phase may happen about 30 to 60 minutes after you eat. Symptoms can last about an hour and may include:

  • A feeling of fullness, even after eating just a small amount
  • Abdominal cramping or pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Sweating, flushing, or light-headedness
  • Rapid heartbeat

Dumping Syndrome: Causes of the Early Phase

Symptoms of an early phase happen because food is rapidly "dumping" into the small intestine. This may be due to factors such as these:

  • The small intestine stretches.
  • Water pulled out of the bloodstream moves into the small intestine.
  • Hormones released from the small intestine into the bloodstream affect blood pressure.

Dumping Syndrome: Symptoms of the Late Phase

A late dumping phase may happen about 1 to 3 hours after eating. Symptoms may include:

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