A Potential Side Effect of Weight Loss Surgery – Dumping Syndrome

I experienced dumping syndrome for the first time this weekend and boy, did I learn my lesson…I need to better watch my sugar intake.

For those that do not know, dumping syndrome, or “rapid gastric emptying,” is extremely common following bariatric surgery (aka weight loss surgery). It occurs when food, especially sugar, moves too fast from the stomach and is “dumped” into the small intestine. When the rapid “dumping” of food occurs, your body responds by adding a large amount of fluid to the small intestine. This fluid is what causes extreme discomfort.

Symptoms of dumping syndrome include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain and cramping
  • diarrhea
  • sweating, flushing, or light-headedness
  • weakness
  • dizziness, fainting, or passing out
  • rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • fatigue or weakness

On Sunday, I experienced all of these symptoms except the diarrhea. It was honestly one of the scariest things I have gone through.

My weekend started off great. I noticed lately that I could eat sugar without much consequence  so I decided to test my limits even more on Saturday and Sunday. I splurged on Skittles, Reeses, Hersheys, Runts, Sour Patch, alcohol and natural sugars like watermelon. I could not help it; I am on my period. I had not had issues before so I said, “What the heck, I’ll be fine.”

Sunday midday, I was watching TV with Chris and I noticed that I started getting really hot and my stomach started cramping. I ignored the pain and heat because I am always hot when I lay next to Chris and I figured the cramping was my period. Ten minutes later, I could not lay down anymore and felt like throwing up. The pain rapidly got worse. I started sweating. I could not stand up because I felt like I was going to faint. Chris had to bring a garbage can to the living room because I could not move. He drenched me in cold water on the couch as I vomited and cried from what seemed like my stomach being stabbed by a million needles. To make matters worse, my lower back started to become inflamed and I could not bend. This went on for an hour with Chris at my side the entire time to make sure I did not hit my head as I fainted. By the end of it, I laid naked on our living room couch, make-up smeared down my face, eyes red, drenched in water with a garbage bag in my hand. I was terrified to move because I felt the pain might come back.

I honestly do not know what I would have done if Chris was not there. I was extremely scared and considered going to the hospital. After the pain subsided, Chris cleaned me up and sat in the bed to the side of me for the next few hours. It has passed.

Today is Monday, and I feel extremely weak and fatigued at work and it’s only 9am. My lower back is also still in pain. I did not think dumping syndrome would occur to me. It is one of those things you read about but never think will happen to you. I have learned my lesson.

For anyone that is considering getting the surgery, please remember that this is not the easy way out as some say.  I am an example to the fact that there are consequences if you do not eat right. This surgery was and is the tool to help me live a healthier life, but I more than ever realize now that only I can be the solution to maintain my lifestyle long-term.

Considering getting the surgery? Have questions? Feel free to message me.

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