Dumping syndrome

Dumping syndrome

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Dumping syndrome is a condition that can develop after surgery to remove all or part of your stomach or after surgery to bypass your stomach to help you lose weight. The condition can also develop in people who have had esophageal surgery. Also called rapid gastric emptying, dumping syndrome occurs when food, especially sugar, moves from your stomach into your small bowel too quickly.

Most people with dumping syndrome develop signs and symptoms, such as abdominal cramps and diarrhea, 10 to 30 minutes after eating. Other people have symptoms one to three hours after eating, and still others have both early and late symptoms.

Generally, you can help prevent dumping syndrome by changing your diet after surgery. Changes might include eating smaller meals and limiting high-sugar foods. In more-serious cases of dumping syndrome, you may need medications or surgery.

Signs and symptoms of dumping syndrome generally occur right after eating, especially after a meal rich in table sugar (sucrose) or fruit sugar (fructose). Signs and symptoms might include:

Late dumping syndrome starts one to three hours after you eat a high-sugar meal. The signs and symptoms develop that long after you eat because your body releases large amounts of insulin to absorb the sugars entering your small intestine. The result is low blood sugar.

Signs and symptoms of late dumping syndrome can include:

Some people have both early and late signs and symptoms. And dumping syndrome can develop years after surgery.

Contact your doctor if any of the following apply to you.

Your stomach is a muscular sac about the size of a small melon that expands when you eat or drink to hold as much as a gallon of food or liquid. Once your stomach pulverizes the food, strong muscular contractions (peristaltic waves) push the food toward the pyloric valve, which leads to the upper portion of your small intestine (duodenum).

In dumping syndrome, food and gastric juices from your stomach move to your small intestine in an uncontrolled, abnormally fast manner. This is most often related to changes in your stomach associated with surgery.

Dumping syndrome can occur after any stomach surgery or major esophageal surgery, such as removal of the esophagus (esophagectomy).

Before gastric bypass, food (see arrows) enters your stomach and passes into the small intestine. After surgery, the amount of food you can eat is reduced due to the smaller stomach pouch. Food is also redirected so that it bypasses most of your stomach and the first section of your small intestine (duodenum). Food flows directly into the middle section of your small intestine (jejunum), limiting the absorption of calories.

Surgery that alters your stomach can increase your risk of dumping syndrome. These surgeries are most commonly performed to treat obesity, but are also part of treatment for stomach cancer, esophageal cancer and other conditions. These surgeries include:

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Dumping syndrome

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