Monday, April 1, 2013

Gastric Bypass: What is Dumping Syndrome?

Post-gastric bypass, you noticed that sometime after eating certain foods, you get sweaty and tired.  Could mean you ate too much sugar.  Dumping syndrome is defined by the Mayo Clinic as:

...a group of symptoms that are most likely to develop if you've had surgery to remove all or part of your stomach, or if your stomach has been surgically bypassed to help lose weight. Also called rapid gastric emptying, dumping syndrome occurs when the undigested contents of your stomach move too rapidly into your small bowel. Common symptoms include abdominal cramps, nausea and diarrhea.

I have been in the same support group for about ten years.  I started about a year before surgery and am now nine years post-op.  I've noticed in the past four years or so that post-ops don't seem to experience dumping syndrome as severely as patients from my time.  I believe this is due to surgeons choosing to bypass the intestine at a different spot. 

For me, dumping syndrome is caused by eating too much sugar/carbs and/or drinking alcohol (God forbid I try all of those at once, I might literally blow up).  It seems like there may be other causes, but this has just been my personal experience.  For me, the process goes like this:  I eat or drink whatever it is that I'm not supposed to...and within 15 minutes, there's a little sweat on my brow.  If I continue to do what I'm not supposed to, I will sweat more and start getting very tired.  Usually, it's a lot of yawning, but I can fight it off.  Nine years ago, I would have been drenched in sweat and would have been forced to lie down and sleep it off.  In worst-case scenarios, I could be in the bathroom within a few minutes of eating said bad item(s).  Sometimes, it just has to come up. 

I always felt a little grateful that I got dumping syndrome somewhat easily.  I felt like it kind of kept me honest, since sugar is my downfall.  Even though I can definitely eat a lot more sugar now than I could nine years ago, I do feel like dumping has helped me keep 100 pounds off.  I can go on and on about how disappointed I am at being up 65 pounds but the truth is, I'm still 100 pounds lower than my highest weight.  That's a pretty big success in my book. 

Have you ever experienced dumping syndrome?  Did your surgeon explain it and did you realize what was happening?  How do you "make it better?"

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