Dumping syndrome


Diagnosing dumping syndrome involves a comprehensive approach that includes reviewing one’s medical history, evaluating symptoms, and conducting a series of tests. In cases where an individual has previously undergone stomach surgery, even if it was many years ago, healthcare providers may recognize the condition based on the symptoms alone. Additionally, a self-assessment questionnaire known as the Dumping Symptom Rating Scale may be administered to gauge the severity of symptoms.
In order to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other potential reasons of the symptoms, these tests may be required:

  • Oral glucose tolerance test: This test assesses your blood glucose levels during the most symptomatic period to aid in verifying the diagnosis. In this test, the blood sugar levels are measured both before and after consuming a glucose solution. After consuming the glucose, a rise in hematocrit shows that significant amounts of fluid are entering the intestines from the bloodstream. One to three hours later, a decrease in blood sugar indicates late dumping syndrome.
  • Gastric emptying test: This test observes how quickly food travels through the stomach by including a tiny amount of radioactive substance in the meal and then using a specialized scanner to monitor the meal’s progression through the stomach.
  • Hydrogen breath test: This is a method used to measure the amount of hydrogen in the breath after drinking a glucose solution. If the test shows a positive result for hydrogen, it indicates that the small intestine was too overloaded and did not absorb the glucose effectively.
  • Upper GI series: This procedure assesses how quickly the solution moves through the esophagus, stomach, and upper small intestine. The progression of a contrast solution is tracked through video X-rays.
  • Upper endoscopy: This procedure utilizes a flexible tube with a camera and light to look inside the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum, aiding in the detection of structural problems and potential reasons for the symptoms.


The treatment approach for dumping syndrome is contingent upon the severity of its symptoms. Early dumping syndrome typically resolves spontaneously within three months. In many cases, dietary modifications prove to be effective in effectively managing dumping syndrome. If symptoms persist despite dietary changes, healthcare professionals may suggest medications or surgical interventions as potential treatment options.

  • Dietary recommendations:
    • Opt for frequent, smaller meals throughout the day, aiming for six instead of three. Consume your food slowly and chew it thoroughly.
    • Avoid simple sugars, carbohydrates, and dairy products to prevent rapid fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Choose complex carbohydrates like whole grains.
    • Increase your intake of protein and healthy fats as a substitute for carbohydrates in your diet. Fats slow down the digestive process and provide a more stable source of energy.
    • Add more dietary fiber to your meals to add bulk and slow down the transit time. Fiber helps regulate the absorption of sugar in your digestive system.
    • After eating, recline on your back for 30 minutes. This practice may help slow gastric emptying and maintain stable blood pressure during digestion.
    • Avoid consuming liquids within 30 minutes before or after your meals, as fluids can stimulate digestive motility.
  • Medications: Early and late dumping syndrome symptoms can be reduced with the use of specific drugs, such as octreotide and acarbose. However, drugs can have negative side effects and are not suggested for long-term use. Octreotide is an anti-diarrheal medication, which is injected beneath the skin that might delay the passage of food into the intestines. Acarbose may be prescribed to help control blood sugar levels by slowing down the rate at which the body absorbs carbohydrates. It has been found to be effective in decreasing the occurrence of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in individuals with late dumping syndrome.
  • Surgery: If dumping syndrome develops after surgery and all other therapies have failed, additional surgery may be recommended to address the issue. Depending on your specific circumstances, surgical interventions for managing dumping syndrome may involve procedures such as pyloric reconstruction or reversing gastric bypass surgery.