Dumping Syndrome of Gastric Bypass and Weight Loss

Are you thinking of having weight loss surgery and you've heard about dumping syndrome? What is dumping syndrome? What are the symptoms? What causes it? What's the advantage to dumping?

As a post-op RNY Gastric Bypass Patient myself, I'm asked numerous times about dumping syndrome. Dumping syndrome has been an advantage because it is a deterrent of eating sugary food choices. I've provided some details about dumping syndrome as it relates to RNY Gastric Bypass, and how the function of it can benefit non-RNY weight loss surgery patients and non-weight loss surgery weight loss.

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Under normal physiologic conditions, the stomach and pylorus (the opening of the stomach into the small intestine) control the rate at which the gastric contents leave the stomach. That is, the stomach, pancreas and liver work together to prepare nutrients (or sugar) before they reach the small intestine for absorption. The stomach serves as a reservoir that releases food downstream only at a controlled rate, avoiding sudden large influxes of sugar. The released food is also mixed with stomach acid, bile, and pancreatic juice to control the chemical makeup of the food that goes downstream and avoid the "dumping syndrome."

Early dumping syndrome happens when the lower end of the small intestine (jejunum) fills too rapidly with undigested food from the stomach. Patients can develop abdominal bloating, pain, vomiting, sweating, rapid heart rate, stomach cramps, fatigue, light headedness or diarrhea.

Since with the RNY Gastric Bypass the majority of the stomach is not being used and a new, small pouch that directly connects to the small intestine is created, there may be dumping. Early dumping syndrome is due to the rapid gastric emptying causing bowel distension plus movement of fluid from the blood to the intestine to dilute the intestinal contents. These symptoms usually occur 30 to 60 minutes after eating.

Late dumping is related to the blood sugar level. The small bowel is effective in absorbing sugar. The rapid absorption of even a small amount of sugar can cause the glucose level in the blood to rise quickly. The pancreas responds to this glucose challenge by increasing the insulin output. Unfortunately, the sugar that started the whole cycle was such a small amount that it does not sustain the increase in blood glucose, which tends to fall back down at about the time the insulin surge starts. These factors combine to produce hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which causes the individual to feel weak, sleepy and profoundly fatigued. Essentially, the person crashes from the highs and lows of the blood sugar and absorption factors Restricting simple carbohydrates (fruit juice, rice, pasta, potatoes and other sweet tasting foods) and eating more protein can reduce the symptoms of dumping.

There are some RNY post-ops that do not experience dumping syndrome. Just because you may not experience symptoms of dumping syndrome, the impact of blood sugar rise and crash along with weight regain eventually by eating unhealthy foods. Not all weight loss surgery procedures result in dumping syndrome. However, the foods that cause dumping syndrome aren't good choices in losing weight, whether you have weight loss surgery or not. Simple carbs, sugary, fatty foods aren't healthy choices for anyone wanting to lose and maintain their weight.

Healthy choices benefit us physically. You benefit psychologically by making healthy choices. By exercising your muscle of making healthy food choices, you GAIN physically and psychologically and LOSE weight.

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