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Dumping Syndrome – An Education in What Not to Eat

Upset stomach and pain after eating a high sugar or high fat meal after gastric bypass could be a sign of dumping syndrome

Gastric bypass patients worldwide look at dumping syndrome with some degree of trepidation. And the feeling is justified as dumping syndrome can be very uncomfortable. However, to understand how you can learn from it, let’s discuss what it is and how it affects you.

After a gastric bypass, your stomach is around 15 to 20% of its original size. Not much larger than the size of a golf ball. This, along with the sphincter (valve separating the stomach from the small intestine) being cut away, allows food to pass through the stomach and into the intestine quickly. If you eat high sugar or high-fat foods or drink during a meal, you increase the risk of rapid gastric emptying or dumping syndrome.

After a bypass, food can more easily pass from the stomach into the small intestine largely undigested, and the body works harder to compensate. Part of this compensation releases a flood of insulin which can drop blood sugar and lead to associated symptoms. Many patients with dumping syndrome feel nauseous or begin to vomit, are extremely tired, and have general malaise.

As such, it’s essential that you closely follow your postoperative bariatric diet.

Why Just One Episode of Dumping Syndrome Can Change Your Post-op Diet

An uncomfortable episode of dumping syndrome can put you on track for long-term weight loss and maintenance. Think about it this way. After you’ve had dumping syndrome once or twice, you know exactly what foods cause it. Being that you’ve experienced a very uncomfortable consequence of eating poorly, you’ll know what foods to avoid in the future. Fortunately, very few bariatric-friendly foods cause dumping syndrome.

The Bottom Line

Of course, we do not want you to be miserable in your post-bariatric life. However, conditions like dumping syndrome can open your eyes to eating right. Over time, you may no longer crave the foods that cause dumping syndrome, and as a result, you improve the likelihood of maintaining excellent weight loss years after your surgery.

We will provide you with guidance on dumping syndrome, including managing it and avoiding it in the future. However, if you have any questions about your postoperative diet or any issues you are experiencing after eating, we encourage you to contact our office or bring up the topic at your next follow-up appointment.

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