Dumping: Does anyone else find they are... - Oesophageal Patie...

Oesophageal Patients Association
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Does anyone else find they are confused and not sure what's happening after dumping?

I often fall into a deep sleep while dumping, and wake to find I'm not sure if I'm really awake or still sleeping. Really confused. It only happens during dumping.

Does it happen to anyone else?

23 Replies

Yep, that's exactly how I feel, and the next day I often feel as if I have a giant hangover. But after waking I seem to take a while for the fog in my head become clear. I an 7.5 years post op and dumping isn't as frequent, mainly due I think to knowing what can trigger them, but it still creeps up on me from time to time and knocks the legs from under me

Otherwise doing OK, hope you are too


Edwina x


"Fog in the head" is exactly the right description! I'm glad you're doing OK , I'm not too bad, but I also suffer from Dystonia, which is very tiring, but could be worse!

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If you take a look at 'related posts' on the right hand side of this page you'll see that it's not uncommon. I've only experienced it on a couple of occasions (thankfully) it, made me feel quite ill.

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Hi patchworker

I can definitely relate to that , on behalf of my husband. He is absolutely shattered after a bout of ‘ dumping, and sleeps and sleeps. He then says that he can’t think straight and it’s like talking to a zombie bless him. He just doesn’t take things in and is very ‘slow’ . I can honestly say I think the dumping syndrome is what gets him down the most, trying to get to grips with the cause is a mind field at times as it changes and once it starts it can keep on most of the day ......so awful for all who suffer.

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What you describe is the effects of "reactive Hypoglycemia". This is where your new plumbing is unable to deal with the "rapid" intake of sugars into the blood stream. Your brain produces a high level of insulin to counter the rapid rise in sugars, which, in turn, causes the blood sugars to crash to a "dangerously" low level. This crash is usually accompanied by:



Feeling Anxious


Flashing Vision - Strobing


And in some cases, unconsciousness (fainting)

It is dangerous and needs to be monitored and controlled. The easy and quick solution is to avoid sugars:




Biscuits etc

This stops the "reactive Hypo" . The other solution (after the hypo and symptoms have started) is to take (carry then with you at all times) 6 Dextrose Tablets at a time or sweet drink etc.

You need to bring your sugar levels up quickly.

Blood testing is something many do (I do) you can get kits on the NHS or buy them privately.

The symptoms you describe, suggest that you are getting close to passing out and indeed may have done so in your sleep (hence why the testing kits are good).

Passing out can happen very quickly after the onset of the first symptoms being noticed. Denial is where we become confused and irritable and (like a drunk) will argue that there is not a problem. Others can see that there is.

Ask away if you have any further questions.



Hello Bruce, As normal it is good to read your educated comments.The symptoms you describe (reactive Hypo) does this come under the description of “late dumping syndrome “ as opposed to “early dumping “ ?How long after eating food does the symptoms you describe become apparent?Could you please differentiate between the two “dumping syndromes “ in your experience.Best regards👍


It is confusing isn't it!

There is a factsheet from the OPA website that may be helpful:


Early dumping is within 30 minutes or so of eating. There is a whole lot of transfer of water into and out of the bowel system (the osmotic effect - a bit like one of those garden hoses that release water all along its length) and this creates fatigue, and sometimes nausea, cramping, diarrhoea and so on.

Late dumping is 2 - 4hours after eating and is associated with raised insulin because the relatively rapid passage of food through the system tricks the body into releasing more insulin than it should, as Bruce has explained so well

I think that if one is eating as advised, 'little and often' the period after eating can be difficult to work out. But if the trouble is dizziness caused by insulin, taking in something sweet does have a rapid beneficial effect - in the short term. In the long term this problem can be helped by eating more as if one were diabetic, I avoiding sugar and processed sweeteners an anything with '-ose' on the end.

I do think that everyone is a bit different from one another, and it is not possible to get it 'right' all the time.



You flatter me with the "educated" comment, but I will take that, says "the boy who will never achieve" ;ˆ)

So here is my reply. This is my 'non medical' response based on my own body and experience along with some research that I carried out and meetings with various medical folks.

It is important to remember and try to understand this:

Our new plumbing, drastically shortens both the digestive tract and process along with the time cycle to digest, absorb & discard food and drink.

This is a key point and explains almost everything that happens next.

Prior to surgery and in most 'normal & fully intact people' The digestive process and time cycle allows for the body & brain to handle sugars, acids, temperature changes etc. This all happens in a predefined cycle that we never have to think about. unless we 'shock' the system by eating something that it is not used to dealing with. Steaming hot curry and several pints of freezing lager can do the trick..

In our new shortened system. Sugars pass thru the stomach (what is left of it) and into the gut long before the gut is ready for or expecting that to happen (Dumping)

Dumping Syndrome is then used by the medics as a 'catch all' to describe a whole host of symptoms and outcomes. "oh you have dumping syndrome" take a tablet or lie down etc.

The reality is, Dumping Syndrome is constructed of several different components, that are triggered by different ingredients. The most common ones are:





Or a combination of the above.

If we look just at sugar. The body needs it to survive and processes it at a given rate. We have shortened that physical rate without shortening the bodies natural reactions.

So when we now eat a bar of chocolate.

1) The sugars go almost straight to the gut.

2) The gut signals the brain that it is overdosing on sugar.

3) The brain says lets dilute the sugar by releasing a mass of insulin.

4) The sudden release of so much insulin causes the blood/sugar levels to now crash to an unhealthy level.

During this cycle is when you will notice the symptoms.



Agitation, Anxiety

Feeling wobbly

Eyesight flashing

Wanting to sleep

Passing out or fainting.

To avoid the symptoms, we can either remove the cause - SUGAR - or, we can recognise the symptoms are telling us that our sugar levels are dropping and attempt to balance them by taking fast acting Glucose/Sugars DEXTROSE, COKE (as in the drink).

What confuses most is "why do you take sugar to treat something that is caused by sugar?

It seems counter intuitive? But if you remember that it is "reactive hypoglycemia" Where your body, is "reacting" to the intake of sugar by rapidly attempting (and succeeding) to lower your sugar levels, it starts to make sense.

Now, it is possible to start a chain reaction or a saw tooth reaction. If, when our sugars drop we take "too" much Dextrose? Then the cycle will start again. It is important to recognise what is enough for you. In most adults this appears around 6 to 8 tablets.

As for the "early or late" dumping? I think we need to separate that from the reactive hypoglycemia. If you can master the hypo's? you will (I suspect) find that your dumping patterns change and improve dramatically.

In my own personal experience, I found that by not taking sugar (boring) my "dumping" was dramatically reduced. If I then cut out Lactose it reduced even further (as did my circle of friends).

So it is a balance. But do try not taking sugars and measure your results?

Feel free to ask any questions.

Good luck


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Hi Bruce/ Alan,

Thank you both for your reply,s The subject of “dumping syndrome “ seems to be a minefield! I personally had the I.L.procedure 27 months ago. I have very occasionally experienced Hypoglycemia with a lot of symptoms as you have explained 2 to 3 hours after eating. I have also experienced dumping within 30 minutes of eating on the odd occasion. Fortunately for me Bruce unlike yourself I have never had a sweetooth, so never eat cakes, chocolates etc.My problem seems to be “unforcastable”. What I can eat one day,I can,t the next! When l get the problem it is always around 1.5 hours after eating, I wlll get wind and cramping also I go very tired and I have to go, 30 minutes later I am fine.It is like every now and then my new digestive system decides it needs a “clear out” .One thing I have found out , not every time , but Bisto gravy can cause my problem!

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With regard to the timing.

I think that what is happening is:

15 > 30 minutes is where the food is hitting the stomach.

90 > 120 minutes is where it reaches the bowel.

Some foods do not touch 'GO' and will simply pass straight through. That varies, person to person. I cannot and never could eat eggs (apart from the chocolate variety).

Dumping Syndrome is a Minefield and does stir a variety of responses. It is one of the least pleasant side effects of our surgery. I was told by somebody who knows such things "it gets better with time". I dispute this statement. I think it should say "we get better at managing it with time"

So yes it does improve, but with our help and learning and not just with time.


Thanks Bruce for your thoughts, agree with your remarks “we get better at accepting and managing dumping syndrome”Hope you have a dump free weekend! 😄👍

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Hello Bruce. Could you please tell me what Dextrose tablets are, and how they help the 'dumping' situation?


Dextrose tablets are Concentrated Glucose tablets that are sold in packets (like sweets) and available in most Supermarkets. They will only help with Hypoglycemia when your blood sugar drops too low, leaving you with the symptoms mentioned above. At the onset of the symptoms you take a few Dextrose Tablets (other brands are available) and this should very quickly raise your blood sugar levels to an acceptable level.

Taking them when your sugar levels have not dropped will most likely cause them too drop as your body overreacts to the sudden intake of sugar. The trick is either to get used to spotting the symptoms or to use a blood glucose meter. As said above: If after eating sugars you start to:



Feel anxious

Get flashing vision

Feel faint


Then it is likely that you are having a "reactive hypo"

As always, if in doubt then discuss with your doctor.


Thanks, Bruce. I live in Canada, so suppose that these tablets might be under another name; I will talk to my Pharmacist. You have given me very good information. Although, I have not had the 'big' surgery [yet], with Achalasia [type 1], the Heller Myotomy and 2 dilations now, I do get 'dumping' on occasion.


Your post has been really helpful to me. I understand it more now.

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Your post makes it all worthwhile. Thank you. Xx


Thank you for the detailed information, this is a fantastic explanation!

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Hi having suffered to the point of almost fainting I now carry Dextrose tablets with me. Although I don’t get many episodes now it can happen out of the blue.

Sugar, high fat and some dairy products like yogurt, ice cream cause it for me.

Best wishes


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To add to the symptoms - I get uncontrollable ,sudden jerks .It feels a bit like my body is being switched on and off . Does anyone else get this ?

Plus the strobing/flashing lights .

I wonder why we get the flashing lights - seems neurological ....tho what do I know !

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I get sudden uncontrollable movements all the time, because I have Dystonia. I don't know if I get extra ones when I'm dumping, I wouldn't notice.

I find I can eat sweet things in moderation. What causes dumping for me is hot food. It's difficult because there are so many things that don't taste as nice when they're tepid. And I can't drink hot tea or coffee.



I am not sure if this will help but I have had chronically low blood sugar levels for many years not connected to OC or dumping at all. I have found that the absolute best regulator is bizarrely avocado pear. If I eat a half every day I can almost always regulate my blood sugar levels.

Might just be worth a try.

All the best


That is certainly worth trying. Thank you.


Hi. I am 6 years post surgery. Very fortunate not to have experienced this.

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