What is Bariatric Dumping Syndrome?

Bariatric Dumping Syndrome (BDS) is an occasional side-effect of certain bariatric surgeries. It’s more common with a gastric bypass procedure, but it can occur after other forms, too. It’s the name for the condition when the stomach contents empty too quickly into the small intestine, producing nausea and diarrhea.

Bariatric Dumping – Early Dumping and Late Dumping

There are two different forms, called “Early Dumping” and “Late Dumping”. Early dumping begins soon after a meal or even during, if meal time lasts long enough. Late dumping, by contrast, happens up to several hours afterward. Neither presents a serious health risk, but either can be unpleasant.

Early Dumping Symptoms

Early dumping symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or shortness of breath, along with cramps, bloating palpitations รณ or any combination of these. Late dumping more often brings on feelings of dizziness or fatigue though some of the other symptoms are possible in this type, too.

In both conditions, BDS is more common after a gastric bypass because that method makes more significant changes to the gastrointestinal tract. A bypass which comes in various forms like Roux-en-Y, Duodenal Switch, and others always involves a re-configuration of the normal stomach-intestine system.

Such re-configurations might be as relatively minor as diverting a portion of the normal food path. It re-routes a section of the stomach, producing a smaller one. Or, it may involve clipping and reattaching a section lower down. That makes the route shorter, or more cylindrical than oval. Sometimes it’s as radical as removing a large section of the intestine.

Those methods don’t merely change the shape and size of the gastrointestinal tract. They also alter the speed and efficiency with which food and drink are absorbed. They can reduce the quantity of digestive juices from the stomach and pancreas.

Nature isn’t always gentle after drastic changes to the normal configuration. Patients sometimes add to the risk by failing to strictly follow post-operative guidelines about behavior and diet.

Consuming high-carb foods, for example, does more than upset the nutritional balance. High carbohydrate foods can lead to feeling too full too soon. They also change the balance of carbs to protein and other essential components of a healthy, post-bariatric procedure diet. That’s one major risk factor in causing BDS.

High concentrations of sugar molecules attract a high quantity of fluid. The result is cramping as the fluid stretches the small intestine. That stimulates the release of hormones that contribute to BDS. At the same time, the surrounding nerves respond to produce palpitations. To clear the condition, the body induces vomiting or diarrhea.

Late Dumping Symptoms

In the Late Dumping form, sugar produces fluctuations in the blood glucose level. The pancreas reacts by secreting more insulin than usual to balance the excess blood sugar. Excess insulin triggers hypoglycemic symptoms like dizziness and fatigue.

Patients can lower their chances of BDS, though, very simply.

A bariatric process always brings with it a change to diet. That starts well before the surgery. Obese people tend to grazing (snack between meals). That’s discouraged. They’re encouraged instead to eat smaller meals, consumed more slowly. High-sugar foods are replaced with a “proteins first” style of eating.

A few episodes of Bariatric Dumping Syndrome are a common complication of bariatric surgery. Even so, “common” need not mean inevitable. Strict adherence to the recommended dietary and behavioral guidelines can drive the odds to zero.