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What is Dumping Syndrome?

What is Dumping Syndrome?

What is Dumping Syndrome?

If you’ve had weight loss surgery, you may have heard the term ‘dumping syndrome’.

In this blog, we’ll firstly explain what dumping syndrome is and the symptoms that can be experienced. Later, we’ll reveal some strategies which can help to prevent it.

What is Dumping Syndrome?

Dumping syndrome is a common side effect that can happen after bariatric surgery.

It is more commonly seen after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, however a small number of sleeve gastrectomy patients may also experience ‘dumping’.

There are 2 types of ‘dumping’ that can occur – Early Dumping Syndrome and Late Dumping Syndrome. We explain each of these below.


Early vs Late Dumping Syndrome

1. Early Dumping

Early dumping happens within 1 hour after eating, due to the dense mass of foods getting ‘dumped’ directly from your stomach to your small intestines. This is also known as rapid gastric emptying. This triggers your body to release gut hormones which shifts fluid from the bloodstream into the intestines. 

As a result, the intestines become full and bloated and may lead to a range of unpleasant symptoms.

Early Dumping Syndrome Symptoms

  • Diarrhoea,
  • Sweating,
  • Abdominal pain / cramping,
  • Nausea, vomiting,
  • Facial flushing,
  • Heart palpitations,
  • Dizziness, and
  • Feeling very full after a small meal.

Early dumping is more common than late dumping. 

2. Late Dumping

Late dumping occurs 1-3 hours after eating foods that are high in starches and sugars, e.g. fructose and sucrose. This causes the body to release large amounts of insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas, that helps move sugars from the food we eat into the cells to be stored and used as energy), resulting in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). 

Late Dumping Syndrome Symptoms

Symptoms of late dumping include:

  • Heart palpitations,
  • Sweating,
  • Hunger,
  • Confusion,
  • Fatigue,
  • Tremors, and
  • Fainting. 

Prevent Dumping Syndrome: Recommended Strategies

  1. Divide your daily calories into small meals and snacks
  2. Separate fluids from your food intake, i.e. stop drinking 10-15 minutes before eating, and for at least 30 minutes after you have finished your meal
  3. Avoid consuming foods and drinks high in sugar
  4. If diarrhoea and vomiting is present, sip on electrolyte drinks such as Hydralyte or Powerade no sugar to replace lost electrolytes
  5. Lie down for 30 minutes after a meal to help reduce severity of symptoms
  6. Replace simple carbohydrates (products made with high amounts of white flour and sugar) with complex carbohydrates such as whole grains.
  7. If symptoms are severe, contact us on 3871 2277 or email dietitian@dradib.com.au or your GP for further advice.
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