Understanding the Effects of Dumping Syndrome

Following bariatric surgery, some patients will experience a side effect called dumping syndrome. Prior to your procedure in Tijuana, Mexico, a practitioner within our network of skilled doctors will discuss the syndrome, its causes and effects, and how it can be prevented and treated. Occurring shortly after the ingestion of a meal, the syndrome can cause a wide range of symptoms. These result from undigested food being dumped directly from the stomach into the small intestine or are due to a decrease in blood sugar level.  Some of the effects can be painful, but with proper care and education, patients can drastically reduce symptoms and experience a successful recovery.

Types of Dumping Syndrome

The majority of patients suffering from dumping syndrome can improve their condition by simply making changes in their eating habits and diet.

Dumping syndrome is a common occurrence that can affect at least three in every 20 people who undergo a gastric bypass procedure. However, symptoms can vary dramatically because some patients will suffer from early dumping syndrome while others will experience late dumping. Both types will affect the patient following the consumption of a meal, and will occur due to one of two reasons.

Early Dumping

The early dumping phase is caused by a dense mass of food that is deposited earlier in the digestive period directly into the small intestine. The more common of the two types, early dumping, usually occurs within 15-30 minutes following the ingestion of a meal. Because it is dumped so early in the digestion stage, the intestines will recognize the concentration of food and begin to release gut hormones. As a defense, fluids that naturally circulate throughout the bloodstream will begin to fill the intestines, making them fuller and bloated, causing diarrhea. The intestines may also release substances that can cause a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure.

Late Dumping

The symptoms of late dumping typically affect the patient 90 minutes to three hours after the consumption of a meal. The initial, rapid rise and surge of insulin and blood sugar can quickly lead to a very rapid decrease in blood sugar. Although early dumping is more common, one in four patients experiencing dumping syndrome will experience the symptoms of late dumping.

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Common Symptoms of Dumping Syndrome

Depending on whether a patient experiences early or late dumping syndrome, symptoms will vary. Some of the more common effects may include:

Early Dumping  

  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Increased Heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Diarrhea

Late Dumping

  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Confusion
  • Aggression
  • Tremors
  • Fainting
  • Heart Palpitations

Treatment Options

The majority of patients suffering from dumping syndrome can improve their condition by simply making changes in their eating habits and diet. Eating smaller amounts of food at once, delaying liquid intake following meals, and eating a more well-rounded diet rich in proteins, fibrous foods, and complex carbohydrates can help improve symptoms over time. In some rare cases, patients may require an additional surgical procedure.

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Contact Us to Learn More

If you have questions regarding some of the side effects that can occur following bariatric surgery, the team coordinating with the Tijuana Bariatric Center is here to help. Please contact us using our online form or call 1 800 970-0577 to set up a consultation.

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