Dumping syndrome is a term that refers to a group of symptoms developing after surgical procedures which include removal of parts of the stomach or the entire organ. This complication may also develop after surgical bypassing the stomach in individuals who undergo certain weight loss procedures.
All the symptoms of dumping syndrome are closely associated with rapid transport (dumping) of the undigested contents from the stomach into the small intestine. This subsequently induces nausea, abdominal cramps and several more problems.
Dumping Syndrome Clinical Characteristics
Symptoms of dumping syndrome, which range from mild to rather severe ones, develop soon after eating, most commonly 1-3 hours after a meal.
Symptoms that usually occur soon after a meal (within 15-30 minutes) are nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain/cramps, diarrhea, belching and bloating. One may additionally complain about dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue and palpitations.
Symptoms that occur after an hour or more are fatigue, weakness, shakiness, sweating, dizziness, anxiety, nervousness, palpitations and mental confusion. Sometimes patients even lose their consciousness.
Low blood sugar is another characteristic of dumping syndrome. It is a consequence of too much insulin in the blood and inadequate absorption of food, to be more precise carbohydrates.
Dumping Syndrome Treatment
Many times dumping syndrome may improve on its own without additional medical treatment. A simple dietary corrections and modified eating habits help patients avoid problems related to the condition. However, if symptoms repeat or they are severe in nature, a person may need medications or even undergoes surgery.
Medications prescribed to people suffering from duping syndrome slow the passage of food, hence prevent symptoms from occurring. Some of them are acarbose and octreotide. Unfortunately, not all patients respond to medicamentous treatment.
Cases resistant to conservative treatment require surgical corrections. There are several surgical procedures used in patients with dumping syndrome. Most of them are reconstructive.
Dumping Syndrome Prevention
There is no way to prevent dumping syndrome. As it has already been mentioned this condition affects people in whom the size of the stomach is reduced or the organ is completely removed. So, the only way to prevent dumping syndrome would be not to undergo the surgery in the first place.
However, even if the syndrome develops, it can be in majority of patients brought under control with specific dietary changes and after adopting new eating habits.
To sum up, patients who are planning to undergo surgeries that carry risk for dumping syndrome should be familiar with this fact and also take into consideration other potential complications as well as benefits the very surgery offers.