Gastric bypass surgery is an excellent way for obese patients to lose a significant amount of weight in a short period of time. It’s a safe procedure that’s been performed tens of thousands of times.
Despite its safety, one common side effect that people experience after getting gastric bypass is dumping syndrome. In this article, you’re going to learn what dumping syndrome is, what causes it, and how to prevent dumping syndrome after gastric bypass.
What Is Dumping Syndrome?
Dumping syndrome is a phenomenon where undigested food ends up in the small intestine quickly after being consumed.
Dumping syndrome usually begins around 30-60 minutes after a meal is consumed. It continues 1-3 hours after the meal has been consumed. This condition can be serious and may require immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of dumping syndrome include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Abdominal pain or cramps
- Fullness even after eating very little
- Loss of concentration
- Lightheadedness or fainting
If you’re experiencing late-phase symptoms, it’s highly recommended to seek medical attention immediately (911) as these symptoms are caused by a reaction to the surge in insulin levels (reactive hypoglycemia, “hypo-” meaning low, “glyc-” referring to glucose, and “-emia” meaning presence in blood) which can be dangerous or even fatal.
What Causes Dumping Syndrome After Gastric Bypass?
After getting the gastric bypass, the patient’s newly created stomach pouch can only hold about 20% of the food it used to. This causes gut movement to be difficult to regulate. The food doesn’t get the chance to digest thoroughly before it’s dumped into the small intestine. The intestine ends up becoming stretched and bloated due to fluids moving from the bloodstream to the small intestine.
Learn more about recovering from gastric bypass surgery!
How To Avoid Dumping Syndrome After Gastric Bypass
Avoid eating certain foods.
Foods that are high in fat and high in sugar are more likely to cause dumping.
Avoid the following foods to reduce the likelihood of dumping syndrome:
- Sweet drinks
- Sugary baked goods
- Deep-fried foods
Eat smaller portions.
Eating too much at one time can cause food to move from your stomach to the intestine too early. To reduce the likelihood of this happening, shrink your portion sizes and eat frequently. Also, include protein with every meal.
Don’t drink with your meal; drink between meals instead.
Having a drink with your meal can cause your stomach to dump the undigested food into your intestine. Don’t have a drink with a meal and instead opt to hydrate between meals at frequent intervals.