Dumping Syndrome

What is Dumping Syndrome?

Dumping syndrome is a condition in which food travels too quickly and uncontrolled from the stomach to the intestines. It typically appears within a half hour after eating, a condition called early dumping syndrome. Other times, it may take a couple of hours and is classified as late dumping syndrome. Eating foods with refined sugar makes the occurrence of dumping syndrome more likely, as can ingesting certain fats, fried foods, and dairy products.

Any type of surgery that involves the stomach can cause the condition. Such operations are usually done to treat obesity but are also used in cases of stomach cancer and some other medical issues. After gastric surgery, the digestive system sometimes has difficulty performing its normal tasks. This occasionally causes food to move to the small intestine while it is still undigested, and it is unable to be properly absorbed.

What are the Symptoms of Dumping Syndrome?

Early dumping syndrome is the most common form of this disorder, although some patients may experience symptoms of both early and late types.

Early dumping syndrome symptoms

Late dumping syndrome symptoms

  • Hunger
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Flushing
  • Shakiness
  • Fainting
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Lightheadedness

How is Dumping Syndrome Treated?

Early dumping syndrome usually resolves on its own within a few months. In the meantime, making some adjustments to the patient’s diet can help control it.

The best form of management is to avoid eating foods with high sugar content – or dairy, fatty, or fried foods, if that is what triggers it. Eating slowly, at regular intervals, and keeping meals small can also be beneficial. If symptoms are severe or cannot be managed with dietary changes, a doctor will likely prescribe anti-diarrheal medications. As a last resort, reconstructive surgery may be an option.

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Last Reviewed:
September 20, 2016
Last Updated:
September 06, 2017