"How to avoid dumping syndrome"

After weight loss surgery, certain side effects can happen that change your life. It is something to consider when trying to decide if weight loss surgery is right for you. By far, the most dreaded side effect that can happen after bariatric surgery is dumping syndrome. 

Dumping syndrome can affect both gastric sleeve and bypass patients, but it is more common with bypass. With this condition, the stomach empties its contents into the small intestines faster than average. When patients experience dumping syndrome, they can have nausea, abdominal cramping, weakness, dizziness, fast heart rate, cold sweats, and even vomiting. It is a very uncomfortable feeling and something that patients should try to avoid. So, how can you do that? What steps do you need to take to ensure you do not experience it? Let’s explore some of those now.

The most common thing that can trigger dumping syndrome is too much sugar. After weight loss surgery, sugar truly is our enemy and should not be a huge part of your diet after the procedure. When you consume too much sugar, it puts your body into overdrive, and your stomach empties way too quickly. Anytime I have overeaten sugar, I always experience dumping syndrome. When I first had it, I thought I was dying. Your body rejects the sugar, and it feels like it is trying to do anything possible to get it out of your system quickly. There is a reason we have to pay so much attention to sugar after surgery, and this is why. You do not want to overeat it and then give yourself dumping syndrome accidentally. Always make sure you are keeping track of the sugar content in foods. Say goodbye to the days that you could eat an entire ice cream sundae. Trust me. You do not want to do that after surgery.

Instead of focusing on sugar, you need to turn your attention to protein. This needs to be the first thing you are eating at every meal if you want to make sure to avoid dumping syndrome. By increasing the amount of protein in your diet, your chances of developing dumping syndrome go down. It is so important to eat a well-balanced diet after weight loss surgery. We are constantly fighting against the time to get all our nutrition in for the day, so you might even want to try eating 5 smaller meals a day if your surgeon thinks that would be appropriate for you. I would recommend keeping a food journal to help you keep track of the foods you are eating. This will help you if you are experiencing dumping syndrome because it can help you identify things you need to change about your eating patterns.

One thing to remember about weight loss surgery is the importance of never eating and drinking simultaneously. This can also play a role in dumping syndrome. You should always do your best to wait 30 minutes before and after a meal before drinking anything. This can be a hard habit to break, but it will help ensure you do not get too full too fast. Making these small changes will significantly reduce your chances of having an episode with dumping syndrome. 

The good news is that some people never experience dumping syndrome if they pay close attention to what and when they are eating. This is a lifestyle change, and you must take responsibility and follow the guidelines after surgery if you do not want to have any adverse side effects. Hopefully, you will be one of the lucky ones who never has to go through an episode, but if you do experience it, I encourage you to take note of your actions and reflect to see if you need to change things. You might not realize you are doing something to cause dumping syndrome, so make sure you work with your surgeon to prevent it from happening again. 

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