Symptoms of dumping syndrome are most common during a meal or within 15 to 30 minutes following a meal. They include:

Gastrointestinal

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling of fullness

Cardiovascular

  • Flushing
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Heart palpitations, rapid heart rate

Signs and symptoms also can develop later, usually one to three hours after eating. This is due to the dumping of large amount of sugars into the small intestine (hyperglycemia). In response, the body releases large amounts of insulin to absorb the sugars, leading to low levels of sugar in the body (hypoglycemia). Symptoms of late dumping can include:

  • Sweating
  • Hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Confusion
  • Heart palpitations, rapid heart rate
  • Fainting

A study of more than 1,100 people who had their stomachs surgically removed found that about two-thirds experienced early symptoms and about a third experienced late symptoms of dumping syndrome. Some people experience both early and late signs and symptoms.

No matter when problems develop, however, they may be worse following a high-sugar meal, especially one that's rich in table sugar (sucrose) or fruit sugar (fructose).

When to see a doctor

Contact your doctor if any of the following apply to you.

  • You develop signs and symptoms that might be due to dumping syndrome, even if you haven't had surgery.
  • Your symptoms are not controlled by dietary changes.
  • You are losing large amounts of weight due to dumping syndrome. Your doctor may refer you to a registered dietitian to help you create the most appropriate eating plan.
Feb. 23, 2013

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