Dumping Syndrome Diet & Treatment Options in Pinellas County, FL
What Is Dumping Syndrome?
Dumping syndrome, also known as rapid gastric emptying, is a complication that can arise following surgery of the esophagus or stomach, such as bariatric surgery for weight loss. The condition is characterized by foods, particularly sugar, passing too quickly from the stomach to the initial portion of the small intestine (duodenum). Symptoms such as cramping and diarrhea can occur anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours after eating.
Fortunately, the discomfort caused by dumping syndrome can be alleviated through dietary changes, such as eating smaller meals and limiting the intake of foods that are high in sugar. Medications or even surgery may be required for more serious cases of dumping syndrome.
To schedule a consultation with a healthcare practitioner in Pinellas County who can recommend a dumping syndrome diet and other effective treatment options, call (813) 536-3212 or contact Erin Bolton online.
What Causes Dumping Syndrome?
Dumping syndrome is caused by complications related to the storage of food in the stomach and empting of food particles into the small intestines. This most often occurs due to alterations in your stomach from gastric surgery. Gastric surgery, such as gastric bypass surgery, reduces the size of the stomach, leading to modifications in digestion. As a result, dietary nutrients pass too quickly into the small intestine. Nerve damage caused by esophageal surgery can also cause dumping syndrome.
There are two types of dumping syndrome:
- Early dumping syndrome: Approximately 75% of individuals have early dumping syndrome, which occurs 10-30 minutes after eating. Early dumping syndrome occurs due to the rapid movement of fluid into the small intestines following a large amount of food in the stomach.
- Late dumping syndrome: Late dumping syndrome accounts for approximately 25% of people with this condition and occurs 1-3 hours after eating. Late dumping syndrome is caused by the rapid movement of sugar into the small intestines. The pancreas responds by releasing the hormone insulin to help lower those levels, triggering hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in the process.
Dumping Syndrome Symptoms
Early dumping syndrome is characterized by gastrointestinal and vasomotor (constriction and dilation of blood vessels) symptoms, including:
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Feeling bloated after meals
- Flushing of the face
- Irregular heartbeat
Late dumping syndrome symptoms are the result of hypoglycemia, as your body attempts to absorb the large quantities of sugar entering the small intestine. These symptoms include:
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
Some people may exhibit symptoms of both early and late dumping syndromes.
Diagnosing Dumping Syndrome
A diagnosis of dumping syndrome is made primarily by its symptoms. Tests can also be ordered to help diagnose dumping syndrome and rule out other conditions that may present with similar symptoms, including:
- Modified glucose tolerance test: A glucose solution is consumed, and blood sugar measurements are taken at 30-minute intervals for up to 180 minutes. This test examines how well insulin works with tissues to absorb glucose.
- Gastric emptying scintigraphy: A bland meal is consumed along with a small amount of radioactive material; a camera scan is used to help measure the rate of gastric emptying.
- Upper GI endoscopy: An endoscope is used by a gastroenterologist to examine the upper GI tract.
- Upper GI series: Barium, which is a chalky liquid, is consumed and X-rays are used to examine the small intestine. Barium coats the small intestine and helps reveal blockages and complications of gastric surgery.
Dumping Syndrome Treatment
Treatment for dumping syndrome includes changes in dietary patterns or medication. In severe cases, surgery may be required.
Dumping Syndrome Diet
Dietary changes can go a long way in improving mild to moderate dumping syndrome symptoms, including:
- Eating 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day
- Increasing the intake of protein and fiber
- Delaying the intake of liquids for at least 30 minutes following meals
- Avoiding simple sugars found in foods such as candy, desserts, sodas, and juices
- Increasing the thickness of food to help slow its passage through the digestive system—plant extracts such as pectin and guar gum are available as both foods and supplements
Dumping Syndrome Medication
Medications such as octreotide acetate (Sandostatin) can be prescribed to help treat symptoms of dumping syndrome. This medication works by slowing the rate of gastric emptying and prevents hypoglycemia by decreasing the release of insulin. It is administered through subcutaneous—under the skin—injections 2-4 times per day. Longer-acting medications are also available.
Dumping Syndrome Surgery
Surgery to treat dumping syndrome may be required for individuals that do not respond to dietary changes or medications. Surgery may include reversing gastric bypass or correcting the opening of the stomach to the small intestine.
Restore Digestive Wellness Today!
Dumping syndrome can significantly impact one's health and quality of life. Hormonal and digestive impairments that accompany dumping syndrome can lead to long-term health complications. In addition, nutrient deficiencies can occur, such as iron and calcium deficiency, that can lead to anemia or osteoporosis.
If you are experiencing dumping syndrome, a healthcare provider in Pinellas County can provide more information regarding dietary changes, prescription medications and additional treatment options. Call (813) 536-3212 or contact Erin Bolton online.
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