Dumping Syndrome and Gastric Sleeve

Gastric sleeve surgery, known medically as sleeve gastrectomy, is a popular weight loss surgery that has helped countless individuals achieve significant weight loss and improve their quality of life. However, like any surgical procedure, it comes with its set of challenges and potential complications. One such complication is dumping syndrome, a condition that can affect patients following gastric sleeve surgery.

What is Dumping Syndrome?

Dumping syndrome is a condition that can occur after surgery to remove all or part of your stomach or after surgery to bypass your stomach to help you lose weight. This condition causes food to move from your stomach to your small bowel too quickly after you eat. There are two types of dumping syndrome: early and late dumping syndrome, each with its unique set of symptoms and triggers.

Early Dumping Syndrome

Early dumping syndrome occurs within 30 minutes to an hour after eating. It is caused by the rapid movement of food into the small intestine, leading to symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat. Consuming high-sugar foods often triggers it.

Late Dumping Syndrome

Late dumping syndrome happens one to three hours after eating. It is related to the body’s release of insulin in response to sugar entering the small intestine, leading to low blood sugar levels. Symptoms include weakness, sweating, confusion, tremors, and in some cases, fainting.

What are the Causes of Dumping Syndrome after Gastric Sleeve?

The primary cause of dumping syndrome after gastric sleeve surgery is the alteration of the stomach’s structure, which affects how food is processed and absorbed. By removing a portion of the stomach, the surgery changes the natural progression of food, making it easier for undigested or partially digested food to enter the small intestine too quickly.

Managing Dumping Syndrome

While dumping syndrome can be a challenging and uncomfortable condition, there are several ways to manage and mitigate its symptoms:

Dietary Changes

Making dietary changes is the most effective way to manage dumping syndrome. Patients are advised to:

  • Eat smaller but more frequent meals to avoid overwhelming the small intestine.
  • Avoid foods high in sugar and fat since these can exacerbate symptoms.
  • Incorporate more protein and fiber into their diet to slow down digestion and absorption.
  • Drink fluids between meals instead of with meals to help control the speed of digestion.


In some cases, medication may be prescribed to manage symptoms, especially for those experiencing severe symptoms that are not adequately controlled through dietary changes alone.

Revision Surgery

In rare cases, if dumping syndrome is severe and does not respond to dietary changes or medication, additional surgery may be considered to correct the issue.

Consult an Expert 

Are you experiencing symptoms of dumping syndrome after gastric sleeve surgery? Then, it’s essential to consult with a bariatric surgeon and dietician.

Remember, each individual’s experience with dumping syndrome and their response to treatment can vary. Working closely with your healthcare team and making necessary lifestyle adjustments can help you manage your symptoms and maintain your quality of life after gastric sleeve surgery.

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