Dumping Syndrome

Dumping syndrome will be a common topic of discussion for anyone who has undergone gastric bypass. While not life-threatening, it can be a very uncomfortable side-effect that is a result of consuming too much fat or sugar, especially after gastric bypass surgery. When these foods are consumed, they pass through the stomach and into the intestinal system very quickly – largely undigested. The result is a sugar spike that causes the body to release additional insulin that in turn causes a low sugar (hypoglycemia) reaction shortly afterwards. Drinking water with meals rather than between meals can also cause dumping syndrome as the water flushes the food through the stomach too quickly causing the same problem.

Those who experience dumping syndrome will feel many of the effects of hypoglycemia including nausea, vomiting, sweating, fainting and headache. These symptoms may develop within an hour of eating or even up to 4 hours after a meal.

How do you avoid dumping syndrome? It’s not always possible, but you can help by staying away from high fat and high sugar foods and drinks, which aren’t good for your bariatric diet anyway. Drinking milkshakes regularly for example, which are both high in sugar and fat, would be a prime cause of recurrent dumping syndrome. You can also reduce your chance of dumping syndrome by drinking 45 minutes before or after a meal – not during the meal.

Ultimately, it is best to follow the nutritional plan as directed by your bariatric surgeon or dietician. And remember, while dumping syndrome is not often a major problem, you should always call your physician or dial 911 without hesitation if you believe you are experiencing an emergency.