Bariatric surgery doesn’t come without any side effects. Far from it actually. And one of those side effects is dumping syndrome. In this blogpost we explain the different types of dumping syndrome. And of course, share our best tips to prevent dumping syndrome after bariatric surgery.
What is Dumping Syndrome?
Dumping syndrome happens when high-carbohydrate foods enter the small intestine too quickly. But in reality, you may find yourself ‘dump’ after eating other foods as well.
Maybe you dump when your food is too fat, too hot, too sour or just when your portion was too much to handle at once.
Dumping syndrome is more likely to happen after mixed procedures, like the gastric bypass, because this is a type of bariatric surgery where the pyloric sphincter is no longer present. The pyloric sphincter is the valve that allows food to slowly pass from your stomach into your small intestine. Without this valve, it’s so much easier for food to enter your small intestine too quickly. The result? Early dumping syndrome!
What is early dumping syndrome?
There are 2 types of dumping syndrome: early dumping and late dumping. Early dumping occurs 10-30 minutes after a meal and is characterised by symptoms of nausea, dizziness, weakness, cold sweats, fatigue, cramps and diarrhea.
What is late dumping syndrome?
Late dumping occurs 1-3 hours after eating and is the cause of an exaggerated insulin response – also known as reactive hypoglycaemia. If you had a gastric sleeve, you may also experience dumping syndrome. And this is most likely related to reactive hypoglycaemia.
Is there a way to prevent dumping syndrome after bariatric surgery?
The short answer to this question is: No, you can’t always prevent dumping syndrome from happening. But there are a few things to take into consideration if you want to minimize chances of reoccurring dumping episodes. And here they are:
1. Avoid high-sugar drinks & beverages
Not only do high-sugar drinks have more calories than well….water. They can also play a role in causing you to dump.You see, there are 3 types of solutions: hypertonic, isotonic and hypotonic. Hypertonic liquids are liquids with a higher concentrated level of sugars such as juice, soda and icing.
Drinking high-sugar beverages may lead to dumping syndrome more easily as liquids don’t have a high satiety level and through the process of osmosis create symptoms like diarrhea in the small intestine. High sugar drinks are being deployed much quicker into the small intestine than a high-protein snack for example.
2. Separate your solid food from your liquids
Drinking together with your meals may lead to dumping syndrome more easily.
But why is that exactly?
Adding liquids to solids makes your food more liquid. And this in turn leads to faster gastric emptying. In other words, your food passes through your pouch more quickly. By separating your solid food from your beverages, you allow more time in between the emptying of your stomach (this is also called gastric emptying) and the passage of food in your small intestine.
3. Avoid foods with too many added sugars
It’s not necessary to cut out all sugars from your diet after bariatric surgery, for the rest of your life. However, you do want to be mindful of too many processed foods with added sugars. Not only can they be a pitfall for grazing on slider foods. They can also increase the risk of reoccuring dumping episodes.
To make things even more complicated, sugar isn’t always defined as “sugar” on the food label. There are more than 20 different types of ingredients that fall into the “sugar category”. Here’s a handful of the most common ones:
- High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
- Brown sugar
- Cane sugar
- Invert sugar
- Raw sugar
- Turbinado sugar
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Evaporated cane juice
- Fruit juice concentrate
- Corn syrup
- Agave nectar
- Maple syrup
- Rice syrup
- Barley malt
- Coconut sugar
- Date sugar
4. Eat slow and chew well
2 FINAL The Big Reset EDITED PAPERBACK
Ah! Here’s our golden rule once again. Not only does eating slow and chewing well helps to prevent overeating. It also minimizes the risk of dumping syndrome. One of the golden rules after bariatric surgery is to chew your food well. The quicker you eat, the faster your food enters your small intestine too.
If you’re struggling to eat slow and chew well you may like our blogpost about 4 tips for slower eating after bariatric surgery.
5. Try to tune in to your body’s cues
2 FINAL The Big Reset EDITED PAPERBACK
What causes dumping syndrome for one person, may not cause the same symptoms for somebody else. Lean into your own body’s cues. Once you start to eat more mindfully, you get more acquainted with your new stomach. But this doesn’t mean that the same meals cause you to dump every time. This can be very dependent on the day, on how you feel and what else you may’ve eaten that day. In short: dumping syndrome is far from predictable and can really catch you by surprise!
You made it to the end of this post! But there’s more…
Your Onederland is your go-to community for all things bariatric surgery. From a captivating platform (no fees are charged!) to tons of resources to help you overcome the daily struggles bariatric surgery can bring – you’ve found the right place.
- Papamargaritis D, Koukoulis G, Sioka E, et al. (2012). Dumping symptoms and incidence of hypoglycaemia after provocation test at 6 and 12 months after laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. Obesity Surgery: 10: 1600-1606.
- Tzovaras G, Papmargaritis D, Sioka E, et al. (2012). Symptoms suggestive of dumping syndrome after provocation in patients after laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. Obesity Surgery: 22: 23-28.
- Ukleja, A. (2005). Dumping syndrome: pathophysiology and treatment. Nutrition in Clinical Practice: 20: 517-525.
*Disclaimer: The information on our Instagram page, website, blogposts, e-mails and other (social) media platforms and channels as well as the community challenges we provide have been prepared solely for general educational purposes and should not be construed or relied on, nor is intended to be used or substituted for medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. It should not be used to replace that of your surgeon, your dietitian, your therapist or other qualified medical professional or healthcare provider. Each individual and situation is fact-specific and the appropriate solution in any case may vary; therefore, these materials may not be relevant to your particular situation. While every attempt was made to ensure that these materials were accurate at the time of publication, errors or omissions may be contained therein, for which any liability is disclaimed. Should you have any health care related questions please contact your qualified health care provider as soon as possible. Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking advice because of information you have read or listened to on our websites and social media accounts. Communication on any of our platforms including comments, emails, the community challenges and direct messages does not constitute a therapeutic relationship.