Also called rapid gastric emptying, dumping syndrome is a group of symptoms that are most likely to develop in individuals who have had surgery to modify or remove all or part of the stomach. Dumping syndrome occurs when the undigested contents of the stomach move too quickly into the small intestine causing nausea, cramping, diarrhea and faintness. The more stomach removed or bypassed, the more likely that the condition will be severe. Most individuals with dumping syndrome experience symptoms soon after a meal; however, in some, symptoms may occur one to three hours after eating (late dumping). Treatment options for dumping syndrome require dieting, taking medications and surgery if necessary.
Symptoms of dumping syndrome can include:
- Sickness and vomiting
- Rapid heart rate
Symptoms of late dumping can include:
- Rapid heart rate
Dumping syndrome is most often caused by changes in the stomach associated with surgery such as when an individual decides to remove all or part of the stomach in an effort to help metabolism or help weight loss. Once the opening between the stomach and small intestine have been removed, stomach material dumps quickly into the small intestine and cause a release of food and gastric juices in an uncontrolled, abnormally fast manner.
Factors associated with the risk of developing dumping syndrome include the following:
- Gastrectomy: Surgery performed in which a portion or all of the stomach is removed.
- Gastroenterostomy: Surgery performed in which the stomach is connected directly to the small intestine.
- Vagotomy: Surgery performed in which the fibers of the vagus nerve to the stomach are cut in order to lower the levels of acid produced by the stomach.
- Fundoplication: Surgery performed in which the upper portion of the stomach is wrapped around the lower esophagus to apply pressure that reduces the reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus.
- Gastric bypass surgery: Surgery performed in which the stomach is divided into a small upper pouch and a much larger lower remnant pouch and then the small intestine is rearranged in order to connect to both pouches.
- Esophagectomy: Surgery performed in which all or part of the tube between the mouth and the stomach is removed.
- Cyclic Vomiting syndrome
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
Complications arising from dumping syndrome can include the following:
- Severe weight loss
- Not getting enough nutrition
- Fear of eating due to severe symptoms
- Avoidance of outdoor physical activity in order to remain close to a bathroom in case of an emergency