Dumping Syndrome: An Important Side-Effect to Bariatric Surgery
If you are one of the thousands of people who is done with using bariatric supplies and has decided to undergo bariatric surgery as a way to lose weight, there are many things you should prepare for in your new life. Bariatric surgery is major abdominal surgery involving removing, rerouting, or banding off part of the digestive track, depending on what kind of surgery you get. Your surgeon will discuss all of this with you and a nutritionist should explain your new dietary restrictions. A common phenomenon after having obesity surgery is a syndrome called Dumping Syndrome (DS). I will explain DS here, not in order to scare you off your decision, but to better prepare you for questioning your doctor.
Dumping Syndrome is also known as rapid gastric emptying and it occurs after eating in someone who has had bariatric surgery. The digestive system moves some of the undigested food into the small intestine more quickly than before the surgery, causing the small intestine to pull water from the body in order to break it down. Normally, digestion occurs mostly in the stomach, and the food is broken down into a more liquidly mush so the nutrients can be extracted by the intestines instead of the intestines using its energy to break the food down. This allows for proper absorption of nutrients and an easier pass of the food.
When DS occurs, the system has to work so hard to break down the food in the intestines that bloating, nausea, dizziness, gas, and abdominal cramping can all occur. As we all know, gas and stomach cramps can be incredibly uncomfortable, if not embarrassing. The small intestines are working so hard, being stretched, and requiring much more blood supply than normal when DS occurs. The symptoms are made worse when the meal is high in fat, carbs, sugar, spices, or is extreme in temperature hot or cold.
According to this article, 80% of bariatric surgery patients may experience Dumping Syndrome. So how does one avoid it?
Eating foods in smaller quantities as decided by your doctor and nutritionist will help the most. Eating foods in combinations of protein and carbohydrates or fat and protein together will help with digestion as well. Avoid overly acidic, spicy, hot or cold foods, as well as foods high in sugar, dairy, and unnecessary fat. Mainly though, eat smaller portions more frequently and take your bariatric vitamins. If there is less food for the stomach to pass, the symptoms of Dumping Syndrome will be less severe.
How do you handle Dumping Syndrome in your daily life?