It's impossible for any form of surgery to be entirely risk-free. Weight loss surgery that modifies the stomach's size and/or configuration is fairly routine, but there's always a small risk of complications, some of which may not become evident until after the healing process. One such complication is known as dumping syndrome. While the name might sound concerning, it's not usually a major concern. But what is dumping syndrome, and how does it relate to weight loss surgery?

Restricting the Stomach

Numerous types of weight loss surgery involve restricting the stomach. For example, stomach stapling (vertical banded gastroplasty) is achieved by sealing off the majority of the stomach, leaving a small pouch that then becomes your stomach. Alternatively, a sleeve gastrectomy surgically removes some of the stomach in order to decrease the stomach's overall capacity. There are also gastric bands, which are made of silicone, and narrows the entryway for nutrients to pass into the stomach, making you feel fuller while still consuming less food. How can any of these procedures lead to dumping syndrome?

Dumping Syndrome

Dumping syndrome occurs when your newly-modified stomach literally dumps its contents too quickly. Instead of the standard absorption rate, food quickly passes out of the stomach and into your small intestine. It's not necessarily serious, although it can lead to some discomfort. It should certainly be treated as failure to receive proper medical care can aggravate your symptoms. These symptoms can include abdominal distress and bloating, often accompanied by vomiting or general nausea (or even diarrhea). You may also experience non-specific symptoms, such as fatigue and lightheadedness. 

A Few Changes

The good news is that dumping syndrome can generally be managed without too much difficulty. It's rare that surgical intervention will be recommended. For most affected people, it's all about making a few changes. So as not to overwhelm your stomach, you can find relief by eating smaller meals throughout the day instead of three standard meals. The contents of these meals is also important, and some ingredients are more likely to trigger your dumping syndrome. You may find it useful to reduce your consumption of some additives (such as refined sugar), while increasing your consumption of foods and drinks higher in protein and fiber. As part of your treatment, your doctor can help you to formulate a diet plan. You may also be prescribed medication.

The development of dumping syndrome does not mean that your weight loss surgery has failed, however, you will need to make a few small lifestyle changes to ensure that any symptoms can be kept to a minimum. Contact a doctor for more information regarding the results of weight loss surgery.