Dumping Syndrome: Symptoms, Treatments

Overview

Dumping syndrome is a group of symptoms, such as diarrhea, nausea, or feeling light-headed or tired after a meal, resulting from having a surgery to remove all or part of your stomach or other surgeries involving stomach. Esophageal surgery may lead to dumping syndrome as well. It occurs when a condition called rapid gastric emptying happens, in which food moves too quickly from your stomach to your small bowel.

According to statistics, about 1 in 10 people develop this syndrome after a stomach surgery. And the risk is higher after some types of surgeries than others. For example, people who have a gastric bypass bariatric surgery are more likely to have the syndrome than others.

Dumping syndrome can be divided into two
types:

  • Early dumping syndrome, in which you have symptoms within 30 minutes after a meal. About 75 percent of patients have this type
  • Late dumping syndrome, in which you have symptoms 1 to 3 hours after a meal. About 25 percent of patients have this type.

It is also possible that some people have both of these two types.

Symptoms

Depending on the type, symptoms of dumping
syndrome differ. People with early dumping syndrome may have symptoms such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling uncomfortably full or bloated
  • Nausea
  • Pain and cramping in your abdomen
  • Stomach “growling” or rumbling sounds
  • Feeling light-headed or fainting
  • Feeling tired or needing to lie down
  • Flushing, or reddening of your face, neck, or upper chest
  • Having a fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Sweating

People with late dumping syndrome may have
symptoms caused by low blood pressure. These symptoms involve:

  • Feeling light-headed or fainting
  • Feeling shaky or jittery
  • Feeling tired
  • Having a fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Sweating
  • Weakness

Causes

The main cause of dumping syndrome is
surgery of the stomach or esophagus. Exact types of surgery that may bring
about the syndrome include:

  • Bariatric surgery, which is surgery to help people lose weight, including gastric bypass surgery and gastric sleeve surgery.
  • Esophagectomy, which is surgery to remove part of the esophagus, aiming to treat problems of the esophagus.
  • Fundoplication, which is surgery to sew the top of the stomach around the esophagus, aiming to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease and hiatal hernia.
  • Gastrectomy, which is surgery to remove all or part of the stomach, aiming to treat stomach cancer and peptic ulcers.
  • Vagotomy, which is surgery to cut the vagus nerve in the stomach so that the stomach makes less acid, aiming to treat peptic ulcers.

Besides, you may also develop dumping
syndrome even if you haven’t had a surgery due to the following conditions:

  • Recently developed diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes.
  • Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency.
  • Duodenal ulcers.
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

Diagnosis

To determine whether you have dumping
syndrome, your doctor may use the methods such as:

  • Medical history and evaluation
  • Blood sugar test
  • Gastric emptying test

Treatments

Treatments for dumping syndrome include
lifestyle changes, medicines and surgery.

Lifestyle changes

  • Eat smaller meals.
  • Avoid fluids with meals.
  • Eat more protein and limit high-sugar foods.
  • Increase fiber intake.
  • Check with your doctor about drinking alcohol.

In many cases, people with dumping syndrome
have mild symptoms. These strategies can ease the symptoms. If they don’t
improve your symptoms, medicines and surgery may be taken into consideration.

Medicines

Your doctor may prescribe octreotide (Sandostatin) which can slow the emptying of food into the intestine to help reduce the symptoms. Acarbose (Prandase, Precose) is also an option.

Surgery

If the options above don’t work, your doctor will recommend surgery to correct the syndrome. The type of surgery will depend on the type of surgery that causes your condition. Most of these operations are reconstructive techniques, such as reconstructing the pylorus.

Keyword: dumping syndrome.

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