"Dumping syndrome" is a short way to describe a group of symptoms. These symptoms can occur in patients who have had part of their stomach removed during stomach surgery. Your doctor will discuss the possible effects with you. This handout will review the symptoms involved in dumping syndrome and what you can do about them. If you have any questions, please ask your doctor or nurse.
There are two phases in the dumping syndrome – early and late.
Early dumping phase
Occurs within 30 to 60 minutes after eating
- feeling full after eating only a small amount
- abdominal pain
Symptoms in early dumping syndrome are due to the rapid filling or “dumping” of food into the small intestine. This causes:
- the small intestine to stretch
- water to pull out of the blood stream into the small intestine
- hormones from the small intestine to be released into the bloodstream
Late dumping phase
One and one half to 3 hours after eating
- heart pounding
- tiredness, weakness
- mental confusion
The symptoms in late dumping syndrome have to do with a rapid rise of blood sugar followed by a rapid fall in blood sugar levels. Eating “sweets” may cause these symptoms.
What Can I Do?
You can alter your eating habits to help avoid or lessen the symptoms of the dumping syndrome. Here are some suggestions that may help.
- Avoid sugar and other sweet foods such as candy, sweet drinks, cakes, cookies, pastries, and sweetened/fruit breads.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Eat small, frequent meals and snacks. For instance: breakfast, midmorning snack, lunch, midafternoon snack, supper, and an evening snack.
- Fiber supplements may be helpful like psyllium (Metamucil® or Konsyl®), methylcellulose (Citrucel®)pectin or guar gum (Benefiber®).
- Use dairy products as you are able.
- Chew food well before you swallow.
- Drink liquids 30 to 45 minutes after meals. Do not take solids and liquids in the same meal.
- Add a protein or a fat along with the fruit or bread/starch. For instance: cheese and crackers, cottage cheese and fruit, potatoes and gravy or butter, etc.
- If you have symptoms during or after meals, it may help if you recline while you eat (instead of sitting straight up) and then lie down after eating.
- If you need to increase calories to gain weight, eat extra servings of meat and fat. To decrease calories, decrease the amount of fat in your diet. Follow your doctor's or dietitian's guidelines on weight control.
Over time, you will find out what works best for you.
If you have any questions once you are home or would like help with your diet, please give us a call.
Nutrition Clinic Room 193
2880 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53705
Nutrition Clinic Room 1296
UW Health West Clinic
451 Junction Road
Madison, WI 53717
Nutrition Clinic Room 2085
UW Health East Clinic
5249 East Terrace Drive
Madison, WI 53718
If you live out of the area, please call 1-800-323-8942.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 03/18/2013
Copyright © 03/18/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4246
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