Dumping Syndrome, Animation

Dumping Syndrome, Animation


Dumping syndrome is a very common complication
following gastric and esophageal surgeries. Also known as rapid gastric emptying, dumping
syndrome is a condition in which undigested food moves too quickly from the stomach to
the small intestine. In other words, food gets “dumped” into
the intestine before being properly digested. This happens because the valve that separates
the stomach and the small intestine, called the pyloric sphincter, was either removed
or damaged in the surgery. There are 2 forms of the disease, based on
when symptoms occur: early or late. • Early dumping happens between 10 to 30
minutes after a meal. Symptoms arise as the rapid dumping of the
undigested, concentrated food mass triggers the body to move fluid from the bloodstream
into the intestine, in an attempt to dilute the food. The resulting distended intestine produces
bloated feeling, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. This shift of fluid, when excessive, may also
significantly reduce blood volume, causing rapid heart rates, dizziness, lightheadedness
or even fainting. • Late dumping symptoms occur within 1 to
3 hours after eating. At this point, the rapid increase in sugar
absorption triggers the pancreas to produce more insulin, in an attempt to prevent too
high levels of blood glucose. However, it may overreact and produce too
much insulin, causing instead too low blood glucose levels, or hypoglycemia, which may
manifest as weakness, sweating, confusion, and tremors. Increase in gastrointestinal hormones is also
observed and thought to contribute to both early and late symptoms. Symptoms are often more severe after meals
that are high in simple carbohydrates, such as table sugar. Most cases of dumping syndrome can be successfully
managed with diet changes. These include:
– Eating smaller meals throughout the day – Avoiding foods with high simple-sugar content
– Choosing foods that are rich in proteins, fibers and complex carbohydrates
– Delaying liquid intake until at least 30 minutes after a meal
– Adding thickening agents to increase food consistency
If these fail, medications that slow down gastric emptying or inhibit insulin release
may be prescribed. Tube feeding that bypasses the upper digestive
tract, or corrective surgery such as reconstruction of the pyloric sphincter, maybe performed
as a last resort.

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