GUEST POST:Today we wanted to discuss dumping syndrome. As basic as that may sound, we’ve realized that while it may sound familiar to some people, what dumping syndrome is, which surgery it happens with, why it happens, and how to manage it, is often misunderstood.
What do I do if I’m in the middle of a dumping syndrome reaction?
If you’re experiencing early dumping syndrome, there is little that can be done to treat this. You’ll have to wait it out and be more careful next time.
If you’re experiencing late dumping syndrome (i.e. hypoglycemic reaction, or low blood sugar reaction) you can take the following steps:
Test your blood sugar if you have a glucometer (a meter that tests your blood sugar). If your blood sugar is less than four (4.0 mmol/L) move on to step two. If you don’t have a glucometer to test your blood sugar, but you’re feeling symptoms of low blood sugar (i.e. weakness, sweating, shakiness, reduced concentration, and dizziness), you should also move on to step two.
Quickly have one of the following:
1⁄2 cup of juice (not diet juice);
1 tablespoon of honey;
1 tablespoon of maple syrup;
3-4 dextrose tablets (you can find these in any pharmacy).
Sit down and relax for 15 minutes. If you have a glucometer test your blood sugar once more after 15 minutes to be sure your level is now above four (4.0 mmol/L). If you don’t have a glucometer and the symptoms have not reduced, or if your blood sugar is still less than four, repeat step two again.
Now that your blood sugar is no longer low, you’ll need to keep your blood sugar level stable. If your next meal or snack is more than one hour away, immediately have one portion of protein (e.g. 30 g cheese, 1⁄4 cup nuts, or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter).
You may be worried about step two, which is advising you to have some sugar. If eating sugar caused this problem in the first place, why would we advise you to have MORE sugar? Because when your blood sugar is low, the only way to bring it up quickly is to have sugar. The amount of sugar that is recommended to treat your low bloodsugar, is likely a lesser amount than what caused your dumping syndrome. The sugar will increase your blood sugar and the protein will keep it there. If you miss the protein snack, within the hour, you risk having another episode of dumping syndrome.
Treating an episode is a necessary step, however this isn’t a trick or a solution that should encourage you to eat more sweets. If you’ve experienced dumping syndrome, the best treatment is to avoid sweets altogether or limit your intake to one to two bites rather than indulging.
NOTE: If you’re driving and you start to feel the symptoms mentioned above, pull your car over immediately. It’s dangerous to drive while experiencing a low blood sugar reaction.