Dumping & Hypoglycemia. After eating or drinking

Dumping & Hypoglycemia.  After eating or drinking

Friends

How many of us experience 'some or all' of these feelings (listed below), within 2 hours of eating or, drinking sweet stuff:

* Shakiness.

* Dizziness.

* Sweating.

* Hunger.

* Irritability or moodiness.

* Anxiety or nervousness.

* Headache.

* Unconsciousness.

* Having to hold onto things.

* None at all.

Could you please respond by replying with the symptoms (this could be "none at all") that affect you, up to hours after eating or drinking

My reason for asking is simple.

I believe that 'hypoglycemia' (in us) Is a direct result of GI surgery where the digestive track is shortened. This is commonly bundled, by the medical profession as "Dumping Syndrome". It remains untreated, as a separate and potentially fatal condition. As we are are told, we have "Dumping Syndrome". We do have "Dumping Syndrome" but a very large part of that can be successfully treated and managed, giving us back, a great quality of life that maybe we are resigned to not having after eating or drinking.

By getting us to document this I can use that data to try and get the NHS etc to recognise and publicise this among their community to help who come along as well as ourselves who struggle with "dumping".

Please take just two minutes to hit "reply" and state what happens to you. That can be some, or all of the symptoms above, or it may be none at all. You may also answer on behalf of somebody else. Please don't be shy.

Thank you.

Bruce

44 Replies

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  • Hi Bruce's I have a rapid heart beat as well as sweating, dizziness, shaking, anxiety, then l fall asleep or I thought it was just sleep as my husband says he can't wake me so l guess l am unconscious.

    Hope this is helpful

    Edwina

  • Edwina

    Buy a packet of Dextrose. At the onset of rapid heart eat 4 tablets and see if it stops the other bits from happening.

    If you are lapsing into unconsciousness? That is indeed very dangerous for you. You need to understand if if the Dextrose stops this.

  • Hi Bruce, yes I use the Dextrose. As to the falling into a deep sleep my surgeon wasn't at all concerned and said it was my bodies way of healing. It does concern me as I know diabetics can go into a coma. I am 7 years post op by the way. ☺️

  • Hi Bruce I have blurred vision shaking dizziness irritability need to hold on to something I go into a deep sleep for hours ( not sure if I'm unconscious or not ) nauseous

    Margie

  • Hi Bruce

    I am 11 years post op and on rare occasions depending on what I have eaten suffer from shakiness and dizziness but in my case its not always sugar.In fact I have to take something sweet immediately to relieve the symptoms

    Phil

  • Hi Bruce I am 5 years post op, I can relate to some on your list the rapid heart beat the tiredness after eating also the sweating and I have also have a change to my sleeping hours, but like most of us are just glad to be here to tell the tale x

  • Phil

    Taking something sweet to relieve the symptoms is classic "hypoglycemia'. The symptoms are a result of your blood glucose level increasing to rapidly for your new plumbing to cope with. That rapid rise causes the a huge release of insulin that makes your glucose levels drop too low. This drop is when you will start to get the symptoms. By taking sugar/glucose you are re-balancing the sugar levels.

    It is rather 'counter intuitive' how it works and I am trying to think of a good picture that explains things in an easier fashion.

    Let me try again here:

    Prior to our surgery we have a 'normal length of oesophagus, and stomach. Food is held in the oesophagus and stomach for a "normal" length of time as it is digested and the sugars are absorbed into our blood stream and muscles. The brain reacts and controls insulin based on inputs from our plumbing.

    After surgery:

    We have now shortened the physical length of the oesophagus and stomach and therefore the time it takes for sugars to pass through them to the bowel. We have NOT shortened our brains reaction time or it's expectation!!!

    What happens now:

    We something with sugar in it. Our shortened plumbing passes the sugars to the bowel before the brain (and the bowel) are expecting it.

    To combat what the brain see's as an overdose of sugar arriving in the bowel. The brain 'over produces' insulin to try and break down the overdose. The insulin does this extremely well. Too well and very quickly. Our blood sugar level now crash as a reaction to the insulin.

    We see this crash as:

    Sweats & Shakes

    Stumbling etc etc.

    At it's worst we will become unconscious, as the brain shuts the body down to allow it to try and balance the massive and sudden drop in blood glucose.

    By taking more sugar as the sweats etc begin, we are in effect, re-balancing the system.

    Now. Here is the tricky bit. If when the symptoms start? We rush out and eat too much sugar? we will start the cycle off again.

    Most people say that by taking 4 sweets or 4 Dextrose etc this is a good balance. Eating a box of chocs is good for around 30 minutes then the cycle will start again.

    I hope this helps. It is strange to grasp that sugar stops the issue that sugar has started. But it does. Once we understand it, we can manage and control it. Prescrbeb drugs can also be a massive help in slowing the absorption of sugar to allow the brain to keep pace with the body (Acarbose) being one such drug. It does not stop it but slows and helps it, making it easier to manage.

    Let me know if this is helpful please.

    Regards

    Bruce

  • Hi Bruce

    Sorry could not get back to you earlier but thanks for the reply. It was very informative and I will be able to use this at our support group in Lancaster.

    Regards

    Phil

  • Bruce

    This is the best explanation I have ever heard! It is spot on. Thank you.

    I have a unique cure that is better than dextrose. Eat 2 Tablespoons of Jif peanut butter. I am 11 years post op transhiatel esophagectomy due to end stage achalasia. Per the Cleveland Clinic the only way to stop the cycle dead in its tracks is to quickly eat 2 Tablespoons of Jif peanut butter. !!! If you cannot use Jif brand you can use any brand with exactly the same ingredients. The peanut butter must cotain fully hydrogenated fat from oils. The fat slows down the absorption speed of the sugar while the protein balances the motility (the speed of food going through your digestive system) . Fast motility causes diarrhea so balancing this prevents dumping syndrome from happening and reverses the hypoglycemia immediately!!!

    I have been to the stage of hypoglycemia confusion and slipping into unconsciousness many times especially the first two years post op and a trained family member has to feed me peanut butter off a spoon while screaming swallow now as I am too confused to remember what to do or even how to swallow. The Cleveland Clinic requires 2 family members to be trained to handle this emergency before they release you to go home and they also require you to not be alone for 2 years after surgery you must be supervised 24/7 by one of the 2 trained family members. Because this is a fatal health risk they make the 2 trained members sign a contract. If this is not possible then they make you stay at the Cleveland Clinic for a minimum of one year after surgery.

    Achalasia causes brain damage to parts of the brain that send signals to the digestive system (exactly the same as a stroke but caused by the virus that causes achalasia). Anyone who has had an esophagectomy with gastric pullup will have the dual issues of the shortened digestive system and the issues of the "new substitute esophagus" made from 75% of your stomach being 100% paralyzed.

    If you use only the peanut butter and no glucose or dextrose you can stop all issues. I carry Jif peanut butter single serve portions and a plastic spoon in my purse 100% of the time and every friend and family member is now trained to assist.

    You can prevent either of these by following the 3-2-1 formula. The Cleveland clinic formula is 3 parts protein 2 parts carb and 1 part fat for each 6 ounces of food. A remaining 25% stomach holds 6 ounces of food. Eat 6 ounces of food every 2 hours you are awake.

    I hope this helps!

    Best regards.

  • Great lot of info Bruce if not mind blowing, but a good lot of sense has been said by you so thank you, also do you think that some dairy product affects some of us regarding dumping syndrome !!! Tina

  • I'm 5 1/2 yrs post op, I still get some of the symptoms you mention 'some of the time'. Extreme tiredness after eating as well as dumping syndrome are the two that affect me the most, hunger, sweating (and feeling clammy) affect me occasionally, I've only felt dizzy and faint on two occasions though - thankfully. I find the dumping really perplexing, I can eat the same breakfast each day and some days I'll be fine while other days it can take two or three hours for my stomach to settle. It's so random that I daren't plan anything that involves leaving the house for at least two hours after breakfast, by then I'll know if I'm going to have a problem. After lunch, and after my evening meal I always feel very tired and frequently nod off. What will or will not affect my stomach is too inconsistent to plan for - I think that's the biggest bugbear, for me.

  • Magpuss

    I am truly sorry to hear this. I hope that by getting responses like yours we can maybe improve things for you and us all.

    I no longer eat a traditional breakfast for the reasons you describe. Everyday I will have a bowl of fresh berries, mainly, Strawberries, Blueberries and a half a banana. I have this with tea and sweetener, no added sugar or milk.

    This works for me with no adverse effects. I also try not to eat after 7:00pm in the evening, finding that if I do, I wake feeling nauseous and sometimes will be sick or have to make myself sick to get rid of that feeling.

    My gastroenterologist told me to cut out Pro-Biotics, which was also a huge improvement as I would have a pot of pro-biotoc yoghurt each morning.

    Good luck.

  • Well at least I'm still here, and I'm very grateful for that. I've sort of got used to the inconvenience caused by dumping, it's just now and again when it interferes with appointments and such like that it's a nuisance. And - fortunately I no longer have the nausea or sickness that you get. I eat earlier in the evening too but I still take a probiotic capsule - had to give up yoghurt. Porridge is my breakfast, with a little added fruit - sometimes that's fine, sometimes not but I persevere regardless🙂

  • Tina

    I think almost anything that we consume can impact + or - on Dumping Syndrome.

    In the same way, that our new plumbing causes Hypo's with Sugar, it is most likely to encounter problems with food. What I noticed, is the Food Dumping, appears to improve over time, presumably as our body learns to cope with it's new plumbing.

    This is most evident in the early days, weeks & months after surgery, where most of us, will suffer from an endless round of Dumping in the form of Diarrhea. This improves over time to the point where it is almost non-existent (in some not all).

    Whereas the Sugar Dumping or Hypo's seem to stay constant.

    In my early days, I seemed unable to cope with coffee, which would go straight through me. Now I can drink it with little or no side effects, although decaffeinated has been shown with me, to cause no side effects.

    It is all a matter of trial and error with food (not sugar). What we can't tolerate today maybe we can in the future. So it maybe worth the risk in revisiting some foods.

    Cheers

    Bruce

  • Bruce

    I am now coming up to 8 years at Christmas and like yourself get most of these symptoms from time to time with no logic as to when they may occur. I still also get episodes of diarrhoea normally I know these are going to occur. my wife notices the moods and I sometimes feel so rough I just either sleep in the chair or go to bed. I think it quite likely I am getting these sugar reactions as I do eat quite a lot of chocolate etc I think the time has come to buy myself a blood sugar tester and investigate further I will let you know the results.

  • Ray

    Accu-Check Mobile is a relatively cheap meter and has an automated painless finger pricker. You can get the actual blood testing cassettes on the NHS !!! That is a big plus as they are very expensive.

    I would say that in the early stages you want test several times a day/evening, to build up a picture. It has a PC link and some good graphic software that dies this for you. You maybe surprised at what you start to notice in the patterns of highs & lows.

    So. I ate a tin of a well known Tomato soup (I could not manage the other 56 tins). Before eating the soup my blood was at a healthy 4.8. 45 minutes after eating only the soup. My blood was at an unhealthy 15.2. at 90 minutes the inevitable crash dropping to 2.6 by which time I was in a full blown Hypo. Lesson learned for me. Tinned soup contains a massive amount of sugars, but we don't consider that as a sweet.

  • Another good tip here. If you know any long term diabetics? Ask them what contains sugar or what foods they avoid? That is a very good indicator of what we should try and avoid.

  • I get most of those symptoms- mostly shakiness dizziness sweating feeling spaced out until I eat something -I have also passed out a couple of times after eating - it's 8 years since my op.

  • Hi. Just checked with hubby and his list is:

    Shakiness

    Dizziness

    Sweating

    Irritability and moodiness

    Anxiety and nervousness

    Unconsciousness

    Having to hold onto things

  • I can hear somebody shouting FULL HOUSE BINGO here ;^)

    Thank you for checking.

  • Nearly. He said he doesn't want the headaches but would love to feel hungry at some point in the day! 😏☺️

  • Hi Bruce,

    I am seven years post-op and generally eat and drink anything without suffering any of the symptoms you mention. There is one exception, this is when I play a round of golf followed by a meal and a pint, within a short space of time I find myself suffering from extremely painful muscle cramps in my hands legs, in fact anywhere. This is followed by the dizziness etc. and the need to eat or drink something sweet. This does not occur following a meal and a pint in a restuarant without a game of golf being involved.

    Does anyone else suffer from severe cramp at all, or have an explanation?

    I no longer play golf where the game includes a meal afterwoods because I know what will happen to me.

    Graham

  • Graham

    I am also a very keen golfer and now back playing once a week, but without the dinner or the pint.

    It would be very interesting to know what your blood glucose looks like before during and after the golf, meal etc.

    But it may also be prudent for you to speak to a doctor. Your cramps could be unrelated to hypoglycemia or dumping.

    I could only guess that the physical stress of the golf is causing the cramps? When I play, I take care to drink a lot of water and also to eat a banana on each 9 holes. If I miss either of these then I start to get the hypo's.

    I did play with my surgeon who told me that my swing had gotten way to big and suggested that I try and cut it down. That has helped me with the mild cramps that I used to get when playing and has also improved my game. Having no gut in the way has meant having to re-learn my swing, which is better but still not natural.

    I get a very severe cramp on occasions in the morning when putting on my socks. I do this standing and raise one leg onto the bed. Without warning I will get a terrible cramp across my middle that will last for about 2 to 3 minutes. Somebody else on here reported the same issue.

  • The simple solution for me is I avoid the golf games that include an obligatory meal,which is not a big inconvenience.

  • The simple solution for me is I avoid the golf games that include an obligatory meal, which is not a big inconvenience.

  • Graham

    I have to say I am never a fan of the ceremony that sometimes goes with Golf. The whole getting in the shower then into suit and tie to sit down and eat and drink listening to people talking about how they really, really are of 28 and dot how the managed to accumulate 48 points (Oh Really) just never did it for me.

    I play every week with my Father in Law and love it.

  • Hi. I have experienced all of these symptoms and with the help of a nurse friend and monitoring just realized it is hypoglycemia. I'm amazed that no doctor had ever mentioned this possibility even with me reporting these exact symptoms. I have visited a new primary recently who is running several tests but I feel like I'm wasting my time with all of the extra tests and they aren't taking my thoughts on it having to do with post esophagectomy seriously. I'm 5 years out.

  • Kat

    Your experience mirrored mine. The GP's just bundle it up as "dumping syndrome" and send you home again. Fine, until I broke my spine in two places during a collapse where I lapsed into a full blown coma. Even in the Hospital I was told "Oh you have Dumping Syndrome".

    My Surgeon is rather more helpful and told me it was "Reactive Hypoglycemia" as opposed to "diabetic hypoglycemia". The Reactor or trigger being sugar.

    It troubles me to read on here so many people who say they are having these attacks but getting no help. I am convinced that we can help ourselves by recognising"

    a) the trigger

    b) the symptoms

    c) the remedial action to take

    I bought a Freestye Libre blood glucose (Wearable) testing kit. A fantastic use of technology. It gives you a 24 hour early warning of when your glucose is rising or falling. Over time it "trends" the data and then we see the story of how we are reacting to what we eat or drink.

    Too many folks are thinking well if just avoid eating an obvious treat then I will be fine.....WRONG....

    I ate one half of cheese scone an a well known high street supermarket chain's cafe, and my blood absolutely rocketed followed by the inevitable collapse. Now that is one half of a Cheese Scone, hardly something I would associate with a sugary treat or a threat to life and limb.

    But the stats do not lie.

    So I went back, bought another scone and took it home and had my chemist pal analyse it. It contained a mountain of sugar. Roughly 3 tablespoons of sugar in one scone...BOOM!!!!

    But the great thing is I never got ill as I had the wearable meter that warned me my blood was climbing rapidly. A few Dextrose tablets and..........Nothing, lovely, no sweats, no shakes, no flashing vision, and falling over or hanging onto lamp posts.

    Brilliant technology that we can use to give us a quality of life that we may take for granted is gone from us.

    I am selfish about this now. When I survived Cancer I just wanted to be alive, full stop. I had survived, I was alive, so what right have I to complain about feeling bad? People would tell me every single day. Hey you are alive Bruce, WOW you must feel great? errrr no I think I am going to pass out..... Yeah but at least you are alive.

    Well now I think. You know what. I actually want to enjoy being alive. I know my surgeon wanted that for me. I want to enjoy every second of every day and stick two fingers up at those who say "well you survived"

    Note to self. Must calm down when typing

  • Hi Bruce

    I had surgery 18 months ago and i have experienced all of the above at times. It isn't always easy to pinpoint the triggers although the following can do it.

    An increase in activity.

    The wrong combination of foods. I now look at what's on my plate and roughly estimate how much sugar fat and protein there is!

    Food going through the system quickly!

    The following are helpful.

    Protein small amounts with food including snacks.

    Eating enough on a busy day

    Carrying snacks with me. I usually get warning signs and have about 10 to 20 minutes to take preventative action.

    Filling the freezer with home made snacks and easy to prepare meals. I bulk cook so this is quite easy!

    I find nuts and fruit a really good snack. it's easy to balance the fat sugar protein. My GP suggested I tried the Deliciously Ella energy balls. These are brilliant and easy to make plus they freeze!

    Relying on eating out is a bit harder but not impossible

  • Hi Bruce all apart from unconsciousness. I do get blurred vision.

    Debbie

  • Alan usually wants to go and lie down on the settee for 30 minutes to 1 hour after eating.

    He experiences:

    * Shakiness.

    * Dizziness.

    * Sweating.

    * Irritability

    * Anxiety

    * Headache

    Tiredness

    After an hour he is fine. He doesn't drink with his meal and he does eat tea plate quantities. He is also careful not to have anything too sugary, which is easy as he's not a dessert fan.

  • Hi from Australia

    I have had all of the above at one or more times (6 years post op). What is the most disappointing thing is I had a hypo and collapsed when I was still in hospital after the surgery (still being fed by stomach tube and nothing else). They had no idea what it was and the stroke team was called. I had not had a stoke so I was just put back in bed. Eventually my body stopped sweating (bed was wet through) and I came to. As for dumping - never mentioned - they have no idea.

    The problem here in Australia is they do not do a lot of this surgery as most people are too far gone for surgery by the time it takes to get to hospital. My GP has been the most helpful along with this site which makes life manageable. I also get hypos if I spend too much time in the sun - and we get a lot here in Australia.

    Ann - Queensland

  • Ann

    Thank you. My sympathies here. I know the bed wet feeling and it's not nice for me or my wife. Sweat literally pours out of me like water.

  • Could someone please confirm what Dumping Syndrome is? I get pains in my lower abdomen after I have eaten for about 30 minutes and was told by 1 person that this is Dumping Syndrome. From sometime ago I was led to believe that Dumping Syndrome were bowel movements. Help please? I still get the pains after nearly 4 years post op. Which one is it please. Thanks in anticipation.

  • Hi

    I believe that it is a collective term, used to describe almost any discomfort, brought on by eating or, drinking.

    It can be segmented into:

    Early dumping. Usually within 15 minutes of eating or drinking.

    Late dumping. Usually within 90 minutes of eating or drinking.

    It is common in people who have had GI surgery, due to the digestive tract being shortened not allowing food or drink to be handled in the normal digestive manner as it passes through your innards.

    Hope that helps.

    Bruce

  • Thank you - I just wanted confirming that it was not bowel movements and is the pain in in my lower abdomen.

    Thanks again.

  • I'm not a doctor and would always advocate 'if in doubt' you go and speak to your GP. But in my experience "dumping Syndrome" is a collective used to group all sorts of aches & pains suffered by people who have had GI surgery. This may include, discomfort as you describe.

    Diarrhea is often referred to as Dumping Syndrome, where in fact you may just have a bout of Diarrhea as a result of something you ate. Whereas Dumping Syndrome would be persistent diarrhea "after" eating/drinking that is ruled out as being caused by any bug.

    In my case my "Severe Reactive Hypoglycemia" was called "Dumping Syndrome" as (as above) many who have had GI surgery will have Reactive Hypoglycemia as a result of the surgery. I would prefer to call it Hypoglycemia as that can be treated/managed on it's own.

    In my experience most GP's (99% that I saw) read the notes to where it said Cancer and GI surgery, then immediately diagnosed "dumping syndrome" without checking if anything else was actually going on. As a result my hypoglycemia went untreated, until in desperation I started my own research. It was like a light bulb moment when I started read about Hypoglycemia and how people with GI surgery will usually experience it (in one form or another). After being hospitalised having broken my spine as a result of a collapse (hypo) my GP still insisted on referring to Dumping Syndrome and dismissing my pleas for help.

    When eventually I was referred (at my insistence ) to a gastroenterologist, he immediately told me I was "classic Hypoglycemia" and started to treat me for that!!

    It was literally "life changing" Overnight I was able to return to work and commute without fear of falling over. I could start to drive again, go for walks with my wife and daughters. Once he treated the hypo's the dreadful cramps also stopped, with the cause now being proven to be sugar intake. All this after nearly two years of "Dumping Syndrome" treatment that made not one jot of difference to my symptoms.

    I hope that this makes sense?

    Bruce

  • Alll of above except hunger and unconciousness, I am 18 months post IL. Now taking low fat low sugar, softish! diet. Not 100% but better, seems to have no rhyme or reason when and why it comes on, though cake is a definite. As well as sweating I feel hot, I know theres little differance but often feeling hot comes before sweating.

  • Hi,

    My husband has a blood monitor which has been invaluable over the last 3 years. he has become very good at recognizing the start of a low sugar episode. Although he has had many (probably all) of the signs mentioned on earlier posts, the most reliable sign for him is that his nose starts to run and sometimes his tongue tingles. I have a real job to stop him overcompensating - he seems famished afterwards and would eat several bowls of cereal and anything else he can lay his hands on.

    Although it can be a bit unpredictable and difficult to establish what has kicked it off, moving too quickly after eating is a definite factor - we always allow plenty of time post-meal before planning to go out. In the early days he could become very unreasonable whilst hypoglycaemic and could be difficult to control. Thankfully we live and learn , and tips and feedback on this site have been very reassuring and useful.

    We attended a "Gutsy" meeting yesterday and it was uplifting to meet so many people who have survived and thrived (in a modified way!) after surgery. The dietician emphasised that there is no one size fits all approach - trial and error. She also mentioned that there is much more emphasis on micro minerals and getting levels of magnesium etc. checked, so we will be visiting our GP soon (well, when there is an appointment).

    Good health and best wishes to you all.

    Elaine.

  • I get all of the above, apart from unconsciousness, to some degree fairly frequently. It actually seems to be happening more frequently as time goes yet I ate more sweet food before. I am 7 months post op and this is really bothering me now.....

  • Ellie

    I’m sorry to read this. You are still in the relatively early stages of recovery. A point where many things are constantly changing. But..... it does get easier as you learn your own coping strategy. Try keeping a close eye on your sugar/sweet intake. Most people report that sugars are the biggest trigger. It does take some discipline but with monitoring you will find a balance.

    Keep asking in here if in any doubt.

    Good luck.

    Bruce

  • I see you have had oesophageal stretches; how do the doctors decide you need this procedure? I really don't like the sound of it, but eating is becoming increasingly problematic so I'm wondering if this might be the answer.. .

  • Also should I be using something like Stevia in place of sugar?

  • Ellie

    Let me me very careful here ;^). I am not a doctor so, I can only pass on my experience and knowledge. You should (as always) seek proper medical advice).

    The dilations/stretches are perfectly normal after surgery like ours. Everything starts to heal and close up. By stretching the throat and the lower stomach we allow food to travel without the risk of any blockage. The procedure is is painless and quick. I personally always opt for 'maximum' sedation. That ensures that I miss the entire procedure and wake up refreshed and unaware of any poking about. The relief is instant, like taking a cork out of a bottle. I always feel great and that lasts for several weeks, until things start to close up again. The period between stretches increases with each one.

    Who calls it? I would say that this is up to you and your medical teams. Only you can say how you are feeling. If you are struggling to swallow or filling up quickly and suffering discomfort when eating? Then the time maybe right.

    Regards using Stevia? I use artificial sweeteners and find them a great help. Simple/Obvious Sugars are to be avoided as they will most likely trigger a hypo event (in some form). Also as a general rule it does no harm to avoid these sugars.

    Good luck.

    Bruce

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