The reports by Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2011-12 and 2014-15 show obesity to be a growing health concern. While in 2011-12, 62.8 percent of Australians aged 18 and above were obese, the number jumped to 63.4 percent in 2014-15. The rise in the number of obese people has also seen an increase in the number of people seeking weight loss surgery in Perth. While undergoing bariatric surgery helps patients shed extra weight and live healthy, they need to effect lifestyle changes to maintain their weight loss, and avoid dumping syndrome. Dumping syndrome is not a life threatening condition and can be controlled by altering your eating habits. To assist weight loss surgery patients stay healthy, we give a brief overview of dumping syndrome.
One of the major causes of dumping syndrome is that food and gastric juices are rapidly ‘dumped’ from the stomach to small intestine post-surgery. This mostly happens due to loss of pylorus and hence of the reservoir action of the stomach , continuous release of hormones from small intestine into bloodstream, and movement of water extracted from the bloodstream into the small intestine. Rapid rise and fall in blood sugar levels due to consumption of sweets or other carbohydrates also contributes to the dumping syndrome.
Symptoms of dumping syndrome are divided into two phases, depending on their occurrence.
Patients generally experience signs and symptoms of the early dumping phase right after eating, about 30 to 60 minutes and can last for about an hour. The signs and symptoms may include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rapid heartbeat
Patients experience the late dumping signs and symptoms one to three hours after eating. This is due to the body releasing insulin in large amounts to absorb the sugar deposited in the small intestine. The signs and symptoms may include:
- Loss of concentration
- Feeling hungry
- Rapid heartbeat
Tests and Diagnosis
There are various ways of diagnosing dumping syndrome, including:
- Checking patient’s medical records to establish if they have had stomach surgery. The doctor or surgeon then evaluates any signs and symptoms to proceed with tests and treatment accordingly.
- Conducting a blood sugar test to ascertain the blood sugar levels when symptoms are at their peak so as to confirm the diagnosis.
- Carrying out gastric emptying tests, wherein a radioactive material is added to food to measure how quickly it is ‘dumped’ into the intestine.
Treatment and Drugs
Generally, early dumping syndrome gets resolved in three-four months. If not, the doctor may prescribe medications, and even surgery. Most of the surgeries are reconstructive techniques, such as pylorus reconstruction, intended to reverse gastric bypass surgery.
One of the most important factors that helps patient resolve dumping syndrome is a change in lifestyle. Patients need to watch what and how they eat. They need to give up on all sweet food items, such as candy, cakes, cookies, and pastries, as well as dairy products and alcohol. They need to start consuming sugar replacements, fiber supplements, and complex carbohydrates in small portions at least five to six times in a day. Patients should slice their food into small pieces, chew well before swallowing, and stop eating once they start to feel full.
Schedule an Appointment
Even though dumping syndrome is not life threatening, patients who undergo weight loss surgery need to keep a check on their lifestyle to ensure they remain healthy post surgery and are safe from dumping syndrome. If they experience any symptoms linked to dumping syndrome, they must immediately schedule an appointment with their bariatric surgeon for advice and treatment. If you or someone you know is battling obesity or prospects of a relapse post bariatric surgery, Perth Surgical and Bariatrics is here to help. We are a reputable health care center with expertise in performing weight loss surgeries in Perth, Sydney, and other parts of Australia. Our Clinic has a consistent record of successfully performing complex surgeries, and dispensing expert advice to patients on available bariatric surgical treatments and effective lifestyle changes. If you wish to get in touch with our experts fill out our contact form or give us a call at 08 6558 1901.