Weight loss surgery comes with so many positive changes. It was by far one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am happier, healthier, and feel like I am in control of my life. However, there are some side effects of weight loss surgery that you should be aware of before you commit to the surgery. You have more than likely heard of dumping syndrome. Dumping syndrome occurs when food gets dumped directly from your stomach to your small intestine without being digested. Early dumping can happen 10 to 30 minutes after a meal while late dumping tends to occur 1 to 3 hours after a meal. We are going to focus on late dumping today.
The biggest issue with late dumping syndrome is low blood sugar, also known as reactive hypoglycemia. Some of the symptoms of low blood sugar are dizziness, fatigue, shakiness, weakness, fast heartbeat, sweating and hunger. It can be very uncomfortable and even dangerous to experience this after weight loss surgery. I have had instances where I feel like I am going to pass out when my blood sugar got too low. It can be a scary feeling. So, how does it happen?
Low blood sugar after weight loss surgery can happen after consuming a high sugar meal. It is a result of your body spiking in blood sugar then dropping significantly fast. For example, I once ate a pack of small doughnuts thinking I could do it without anything happening. I felt fine for the first hour after eating it and thought I was in the clear of dumping syndrome. However, this was not what happened. My blood sugar spiked when I ate the doughnuts and then dropped so fast that my body couldn’t keep up. I was extremely shaky and felt weak. My heart was pounding, and I felt like I was going to pass out. I had to consume a little bit of sugar during the episode just to balance my blood sugar back out.
Another instance when I experienced late dumping syndrome was when I was pregnant. I had to take the test to see if I had gestational diabetes. I failed the first test, so I had to go back in for the 3 hour one. The drink that I had to consume was 100 grams of sugar. This experience gave me the worst dumping syndrome that I have ever experienced. My body was so shocked by the amount of sugar that I vomited and had horrible diarrhea almost instantly after consuming the drink. Then, about an hour later, I had late dumping syndrome. My blood sugar dropped significantly, and I felt like I was going to pass out. It was so bad that I almost had to go to the emergency room. I was shaking, sweating, and my heartbeat was going so fast that it caused horrible anxiety. I mention this story not to scare you, but to make you aware. If you are currently pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant after weight loss surgery, make sure you talk to your doctor about alternative tests you can do to check your blood sugar without having to consume the high sugar drink.
Low blood sugar is a very uncomfortable side effect after weight loss surgery, but it is something you can prevent. Try your best to avoid high sugar foods, such as cookies, cake, ice cream, and sweet drinks. I know it can be hard to say no to these foods, but I promise you it is a lot harder to get through dumping syndrome. By following the guidelines of your surgery, you will set yourself up for success and be less likely to experience the effects of low blood sugar. Remember why you had this surgery and do not let unhealthy foods sneak back into your diet. You will regret that decision when you experience reactive hypoglycemia. Stay focused! You got this!