How to Survive Dumping Syndrome
Dumping syndrome is one of the dreaded side effects after weight loss surgery. It can be scary the first time you go through it because it causes some pretty intense symptoms. The good news is if you follow the guidelines of your surgeon, you more than likely will not experience dumping syndrome. However, if you eat too fast, drink with your meals, or consume too much sugar at one sitting, you might be at a risk of developing dumping syndrome.There are two types of dumping syndrome: early dumping and late dumping. Early dumping can cause you to feel bloated. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, cramping and diarrhea. It generally occurs 10-30 minutes after consuming a meal. On the other hand, late dumping occurs 1-3 hours later. During late dumping syndrome, your body releases large amounts if insulin to absorb sugars entering your small intestine. The result of this happening is low blood sugar. The symptoms include: sweating, flushing, dizziness, lightheadedness, weakness, and rapid heart rate. You can find more information about dumping syndrome here.
When you experience dumping syndrome for the first time, it can be scary because your body feels like it is out of control. I have found that there are certain things that help when I am experiencing a dumping syndrome episode. Here are some things that have worked for me:
- Walk around. When I am experiencing an episode, especially with late dumping, I have horrible anxiety. I have a hard time breathing and staying calm. If I just sit there waiting for it to pass, it can make it worse for me. Getting up and taking a walk sometimes helps calm me.
- Lay down. On the other hand, I have found that during my early dumping episodes, laying down helps me a lot, especially if I am nauseous or having diarrhea. The cramping can be really painful, so laying down helps calm my system. Staying close to a bathroom is smart to do as well.
- Eat protein. Protein is the best thing you can eat after surgery. It keeps your body healthy and balanced. When I am experiencing a late dumping episode, eating a small meal can help tremendously.
- Drink a small glass of juice. If you try eating something high in protein and it doesn’t help, I have found that drinking a small glass of juice can help balance my blood sugar. However, make sure you only take a small sip. It is important that you get your blood sugar under control, and you don’t want to overdo it.
- At the end of the day, you need to remember to breathe. It might feel like you are dying, but it will pass. Try your best to relax and take deep breaths to help the anxiety you feel during an episode.
You have to be careful with the types of food you are eating and how quickly you are eating. Your body is different now and you must avoid high sugar foods if you don’t want to experience dumping syndrome. It can be hard to focus when you are experiencing an episode, but just remember to breathe and stay calm. You will get through it. It is a wakeup call for me anytime I experience dumping syndrome because it makes me reflect on what I need to be doing differently. If you are experiencing dumping syndrome a lot, you might want to work with your surgeon to see if there are things you need to change in your diet. This is unfortunately one of the side effects of bariatric surgery, but in my opinion, there are so many more pros than cons. Stay focused and eat a well-balanced diet and you will be on the road to success without experiencing dumping syndrome.
- Kimberly H.