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Oesophageal Patients Association
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Hypoglycaemia and late dumping

I had an Oesophagectomy several years ago but I am continuing to experience hypoglycaemic episodes some time after a meal and I presume they are related to late dumping. Sometimes thes episodes can be cured with coca cola or sugar but on occasions it has gone into a full blow coma. If this happens, could one recover naturally and what are the potential dangers of going into a coma?

Is anyone else experiencing these symptoms?

5 Replies

I will be interested to read any answers to this, I've often wondered the same thing. I had an esophagectomy five years ago, and I still get late and early dumping. I fall into a deep sleep for about an hour and a half. For a while, before I wake again, J'm aware of people around me, but just can't open my eyes, or move. Is this in fact a coma? Is it dangerous? Or just very inconvenient?


Like you I am now five years down the road, but late dumping seems to happen in groups, I can go for ages and everything is fine then I can have two or three episodes after each other. It is very frightening and after sweating fall into a deep sleep and just cannot move. It appears to be something we have to live and deal with, but I worry if we are going to go out for a meal as this has happened when we have been out so it is now affecting my social life (such that it is). After having many complications after the operations I am still in a lot of pain which no drs can get to the bottom of and give relief, subsequently I have been getting mood swings and feel 'nasty' and sometimes not very nice to be with - has anyone else felt like this?


I too had lots of complications after my op., and spent a month in ICU, plus a month on a ward. That has left me with many problems. Like you, I feel "nasty" at times, especially when people keep complaining about very minor things, like a cold or a bruised knee.

I know I'm being unreasonable, but I want to tell them they don't know what it's like to be really ill, and they don't know what pain is. I try not to say it out loud, but maybe it shows on my face.

I agree about how dumping affects your social life, I once dumped after a meal in a cafe in a big store, and ended up sleeping on a bed that was for sale in a show room, surrounded by customers. It sounds funny, but it didn't seem funny to me at the time.

I suppose we'll just have to keep quiet when we're feeling "nasty".


Late dumping is mostly tied to low blood sugar, and it is widely believed that dumping syndrome causes a spike in blood sugar right after a meal. That in turn leads the body to produce a lot of insulin to lower that blood sugar. This insulin lowers the blood sugar, but lasts longer than the early dumping and leads to low blood sugar.

Your body has ways to regulate the blood sugar properly (except in persons with diabetes). The low blood sugar in late dumping is then met by the body with a surge of glycogen, which releases sugar stored in the liver. Diabetics would be less likely to have late dumping I think because they would either not release a lot of insulin or would be less responsive to the insulin that was released.

I think that a person with late dumping might need a little bit of sugar to help the symptoms of low blood sugar, but I don't think it would progress to a hypoglycemic coma. I think the body would have the ability to reverse the low blood sugar so that it was not a lasting event, even though most people are compromised nutritionally after esophagectomy.

Some of the symptoms mentioned certainly sound like hypoglycemia, and should be treated as such, but I don't think that it would progress into coma unless a person had significant other medical issues.

As to the chronic pain, there are certainly numerous issues post-esophagectomy. Social and mental health issues are not to be neglected. There can be many causes, and a person many times has to figure a lot out on their own. Perhaps you could find someone to talk to, such as a pastor or friend that could just listen to you and maybe try to help deal with some of the issues.

Hope this helps a little. \


Like you I had complications have been six years post op and yes I still feel unwell at times sickness stomach pain where the peg feed went into the small bowel . Fatigue also and kidney stones but listening to other people on this site makes me feel better we all get the same so I don't feel like I am the only person just glad to have got this far and a few more years. Yet I hope .


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