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Dumping syndrome – symptoms, causes and other complications

This is a condition which can develop after surgery to remove all of part of your stomach or also it can develop after surgery to bypass your stomach which can help you to lose weight. Dumping syndrome is also called rapid gastric emptying. This condition is happening when the food, especially the sugar moves from the stomach into the small bowel too quickly. In the most cases people who are affected by the dumping syndrome are developing signs and symptoms, such as the diarrhea and abdominal cramps, 10 – 30 minutes after eating. There are other people who have symptoms 1 – 3 hours eating [1]. Also there is another group of people who have signs and symptoms of dumping syndrome in both cases – early and late symptoms. This condition can be prevented when you change your diet after your surgery. Some changes are limiting high – sugar foods and eating small meals. If you have more serious case of dumping syndrome, then you will need medications or surgery.

Dumping syndrome symptoms

The signs and symptoms of this condition are generally happening right after eating, especially after a meal rich in fruit sugar (fructose) or table sugar (sucrose). Here are some signs and symptoms of dumping syndrome [1]:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Flushing of the face
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

Also there can be late dumping syndrome signs and symptoms. They are happening 1 -3 hours after eating. They are due to the body releasing large amounts of insulin to absorb the large amounts of sugars entering the small intestine after you have eaten a high – sugar meal. Low blood sugar is result of this. [1] Here are some late signs and symptoms of dumping syndrome that can happen:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Hunger
  • Sweating
  • Shaking

There are some people who have both early and late signs and symptoms of dumping syndrome. Also there are some people who are developing dumping syndrome years after a surgery [2]. If you develop signs and symptoms which might be due to the dumping syndrome, even if you have not had surgery, then visit your doctor. If your symptoms are not controlled by dietary changes, then talk with your doctor about it. If you have noticed that you are losing large amounts of weight due to the dumping syndrome, then talk with your doctor. He or she can refer you to a registered dietitian which can help you to create an eating plan.

Dumping syndrome

Dumping syndrome causes

When someone has dumping syndrome, then gastric juices and foods from your stomach move to your small intestines in an uncontrolled and abnormally fast manner. In the most cases this is related to changes in the stomach that are associated with the surgery [2]. This condition can happen after removal of the esophagus (esophagectomy) or after any stomach operation. One of the most common causes for dumping syndrome is the gastric bypass surgery for weight loss. [2,3]

Risk factors: One factor which can increase your risk of dumping syndrome is a surgery that alters the stomach. In the most cases these surgeries are performed to treat the obesity but they can be part of the treatment for stomach cancer and other conditions. These surgeries are:

  • Esophagectomy: In this surgery all or part of the tube that is between your mouth and your stomach is removed. [4]
  • Gastric bypass surgery: This surgery is used to treat the morbid obesity. In this surgery is created a stomach pouch which is smaller than the stomach and this means that you are not longer able to eat as much as once you did. This pouch is connected to the small intestine in the form of a gastrojejunostomy. [3]
  • Gastrectomy: In this type of operation a portion or all of your stomach is removed.

Complications: Dumping syndrome is a complication of the stomach reduction surgery or stomach bypass. Also there are other complications which are related to this surgery such as

  • Anemia which is a low red blood cell count. It can happen from a poor absorption of vitamins or iron. [5]
  • Weakened bones which are also called osteoporosis. It can happen from poor calcium absorption.
  • Poor nutrient absorption. [6]


[1] Natinoal Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Dumping syndrome. Retrieved from

[2] van Beek AP, Emous M, Laville M, Tack J. Dumping syndrome after esophageal, gastric or bariatric surgery: pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management. Obesity Reviews. 2017;18(1):68-85.

[3] Wiznitzer T, Rozin R, Aviram A. Dumping syndrome after gastric surgery: Comparative study of experimentally produced dumping syndrome after gastroenterostomy with vagotomy and pyloroplasty with vagotomy. Archives of Surgery. 1965;91(3):419-23.

[4] Boshier PR, Huddy JR, Zaninotto G, Hanna GB. Dumping syndrome after esophagectomy: a systematic review of the literature. Diseases of the Esophagus. 2017;30(1):1-9.

[5] Sahebzamani FM, Berarducci A, Murr MM. Malabsorption anemia and iron supplement induced constipation in post-Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) patients. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. 2013;25:634-40.

[6] Keller J, Layer P. The pathophysiology of malabsorption. Viszeralmedizin. 2014;30(3):150–4.

Merlin Joy
Merlin Joy
Holding a doctorate degree, Dr. Merlin Joy AKA Sinatra developed passion for home remedies from her mother, grand father and grandmother. Sinatra loves to read books and hiking. You can contact her through [email protected]


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