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Dumping syndrome is a common medical condition in which the stomach begins to empty its contents into the 1st part of the small intestine at a speed which is faster than usual. This phenomenon of dumping is also known as rapid gastric emptying.
What is Gastric Bypass Dumping Syndrome?
People who are suffering from this suffer from symptoms like nausea and abdominal cramping. These symptoms crop up when the small intestine is unable to absorb nutrients from the food that has not been digested in the proper manner in the stomach. A person is more likely to suffer from it if you have undergone any specific gastric surgery like gastric bypass surgery. This condition can also develop in people who have undergone esophageal surgery. The majority of the people with this problem experience symptoms like abdominal cramps within 30 min of eating. However, many people have late symptoms too.
What causes dumping syndrome?
The primary cause of the dumping syndrome is attributed to the phenomenon by which the food rushes from the stomach to the 1st part of the small intestine i.e., duodenum.
The digestive tract produces and releases hormones that control the working of the digestive system. When the food moves very quickly from the stomach to the duodenum, the gastrointestinal tract tends to release more hormones than what is typically required. The fluid also runs from the blood to the small intestine during this time. Medical experts strongly believe that the movement of the liquid and the excess hormones into the small intestine causes the symptoms of what is known as early dumping syndrome.
The medical opinion is that excess hormones force the pancreas into creating a large amount of insulin. Excess insulin can lead to a low level of blood glucose at least 1 to 3 hours after the meal, thereby causing the symptoms of late dumping syndrome.
What is the difference between the Early Phase and the Late Phase?
There are 2 phases pf dumping syndrome –
- The early dumping syndrome – the symptoms begin as early as 10 min after eating
- The late dumping syndrome – the symptoms occur at least 2 hours post meals.
At least 75% of the people experience early dumping syndrome and the remaining face late dumping syndrome. However, there are a handful of people who experience both the phases.
The early syndrome is characterized by the sudden onset of a large amount of food in the stomach. This large amount of food causes a swift movement of fluid in the intestine, which causes bloating and a certain degree of discomfort. On the other hand, the late variety occurs when the body releases a large amount of insulin. A high level of insulin in the blood leads to a low blood glucose level.
What are the symptoms of dumping syndrome?
The symptoms of the dumping syndrome will depend on the kind that you may have. As stated earlier, the early variety occurs within 30 min of finishing the meal. The main symptoms are vomiting, abdominal cramping, nausea, and feeling bloated.
The symptoms of the late variety, however, occur 2 to 3 hours after the meal. The main symptoms are dizziness, cold sweats, low blood sugar, and overall weakness.
How can you treat dumping syndrome?
The early dumping syndrome usually resolves on its own within a span of 2 to 3 months. In the meantime, you can adopt changes to your diet to ease the symptoms, and the doctor, too, will recommend medications and/or surgery as per the doctor’s choice.
People who have severe symptoms but are not getting any relief from diet changes can consult doctors. The doctor will prescribe an anti-diarrheal drug (given by injection) that will slow the emptying of the food into the small intestine. Nausea and vomiting are said to be the possible side effects.
Doctors may also suggest surgical procedures to treat people afflicted with dumping syndrome that is not responding well to conservative approaches. The majority of these operations are reconstructive surgeries or an attempt to reverse the gastric bypass surgery.
Many patients use supplements like pectin and blond psyllium to thicken the digestive contents and thereby slow down its progress to the small intestine. If you are thinking of trying out a supplement, then you must consult your doctor first and learn all about the potential side effects and/or the possible interactions with the medicines that you are already taking. Many people have experienced adverse effects after starting on alternative medicines, so the discretion of the doctor is highly recommended in this case.
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