Dumping Syndrome

What is Dumping Syndrome?

Dumping syndrome is actually classified as one of those gastrointestinal diseases. This is also referred to as rapid gastric emptying. From the name itself you can already tell that this involves rapid emptying of partially digested foods because the stomach is not anymore able to hold its contents. This commonly affects those people who have just recently undergone a bariatric procedure which typically involves bypassing the entire stomach. Bariatric surgery is among the popular ways of losing weight.


The symptoms associated with dumping syndrome are immediately experienced after gulping a meal. Among the common symptoms of dumping syndrome are nausea, vomiting and fainting. Dumping syndrome primarily happens when the food you have ingested immediately exits the stomach and goes directly to the small intestine even it is just partially undigested or not at all. Though the symptoms are typically felt right after eating, some people may also experience them about 3 to 4 hours after eating. The severity of the symptoms would also vary among individuals, ranging from mild to severe. If you happen to be suffering from dumping syndrome, you need not fret about it because this condition would just eventually resolve on its own with little or even without any medical interventions. The primary key to solving dumping syndrome is through making some modifications in the diet. You’ll get to know something more about this condition as you further read this article.

Symptoms

There’s actually a mishmash of symptoms that may be present in dumping syndrome. Generally, these symptoms can be classified as either early or late. The likelihood of suffering from dumping syndrome is amplified when one consumes foods that are high in fat and carbohydrate content. This can also be triggered when you ingest foods that are either too hot or too cold. You can suspect that someone is suffering from dumping syndrome when the following symptoms are noted:

Early Symptoms

The early symptoms of dumping syndrome are usually experienced around 30 minutes following a meal and these include the following:

  • Abdominal fullness/bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Palpitations
  • Rapid heart rate (Tachycardia)
  • Sweating

Late Symptoms

The late symptoms of dumping syndrome are more of the results of hypoglycemia. Since your stomach does not anymore digest the foods properly, absorption instead takes place in the small intestines, including the absorption of glucose. When the body can sense that there’s an excess sugar circulating in the bloodstream this would signal to secrete more insulin and as a result a person may usually suffer from hypoglycemia. Among the late symptoms of dumping syndrome are:

  • Anxiety
  • Changes in sensorium (including confusion and trouble concentrating)
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness/Fainting
  • Extreme hunger (due to cellular starvation)
  • Fatigue
  • Palpitations
  • Rapid heart rate (Tachycardia)
  • Sweating
  • Weakness

Overall, the clinical manifestations of dumping syndrome greatly vary between individuals. They also tend to have different levels of tolerance. For example, there are those people who can tolerate sugar intake in the long run.

Causes

Dumping syndrome primarily develops as a result of the changes that take place in the stomach following a surgery. Studies have found that nearly 25 to 50 percent of those who underwent abdominal surgery are likely to develop dumping syndrome. One of the conditions in which dumping syndrome may result is when the pylorus, which is located between the stomach and the small intestine specifically the duodenum, is accidentally damaged or removed during a surgery. An individual is expected to suffer from this condition a few days after the surgery. This may also immediately develop as soon as an individual resumes to a normal diet. The severity of the condition may vary dependably on the degree to which the stomach is bypassed or removed. Though some people effectively cope up with the condition in the long run, there are also those who suffer from dumping syndrome chronically.

Furthermore, you should know that undergoing any of the following surgeries increases one’s risk of developing dumping syndrome:

  • Fundoplication
  • Gastrectomy
  • Gastroenterostomy/Gastrojejunostomy
  • Gastric Bypass Surgery (Roux-en-Y Operation)
  • Vagotomy

Diagnosis

Obtaining the patient’s medical history is also crucial in the diagnosis of dumping syndrome. The following tests may as well be conducted:

Blood sugar test

Since the late symptoms of dumping syndrome can be greatly associated with hypoglycemia, checking the patient’s blood glucose would help determine the presence of the condition.

Gastric emptying test

This test usually involves the use of radioactive media to determine the rate of gastric emptying or the rate in which stomach contents move to the small intestine.

Treatment

For some, the condition would just resolve on its own with minimal or even without any medial interventions. Dumping syndrome can also be effectively managed by just modifying the diet. However, in certain instances in which the condition does not resolve, further treatments may be given by your doctor, including:

Octreotide (Sandostatin)

This is actually an anti-diarrheal medication but this can also be used to manage especially the late symptoms of dumping syndrome. This drug is usually given subcutaneously (under the skin) and patients should be properly instructed of its route of administration.

Acarbose (Precose)

Patients with type-2 diabetes are commonly given this type of medication. However, Acarbose may also be given to patients with dumping syndrome to delay the digestion of carbohydrates thus also slowing gastric emptying.

Surgery

Surgery is the last resort in the management of dumping syndrome and this usually involves reconstruction of the damaged portion of the stomach, especially the intestine.

Prevention

This condition can be prevented simply by not undergoing any type of surgery that alters the structure of the stomach. Diet modification also helps prevent dumping syndrome.

Diet

Treating dumping syndrome is as easy as adhering to the right type of eating habits, including:

  • Instead of consuming three large meals, opt for 6 small meals a day
  • Drink fluids only between meals
  • Avoid foods high in carbohydrate content
  • Chew your food properly
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Include foods high in fiber in your diet
  • Avoid fatty foods
  • Lie down following a meal

Making some changes in your diet does not however guarantee you to be totally free from the symptoms of dumping syndrome.

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