Definition & Facts for Dumping Syndrome

In this section:

What is dumping syndrome?

Dumping syndrome is a group of symptoms, such as diarrhea, nausea, or feeling light-headed or tired after a meal, that are caused by rapid gastric emptying. Rapid gastric emptying is a condition in which food moves too quickly from your stomach to your duodenum.

Are there different forms of dumping syndrome?

Dumping syndrome has two forms

  • early dumping syndrome, in which you have symptoms within 30 minutes after eating a meal
  • late dumping syndrome, in which you have symptoms 1 to 3 hours after eating a meal

Early and late dumping syndromes have different symptoms.

Who is more likely to have dumping syndrome?

Dumping syndrome most often occurs in people who’ve had surgery of the stomach or esophagus.

How common is dumping syndrome?

About 1 in 10 people who have stomach surgery develop dumping syndrome.1 Dumping syndrome is more common after some types of surgery than others.

For example, dumping syndrome is more common after gastric bypass surgery than after other types of weight-loss surgery, also called metabolic and bariatric surgery. Dumping syndrome is also more common after a gastrectomy that removes the entire stomach than after a gastrectomy that removes only part of the stomach.

Early dumping syndrome is more common than late dumping syndrome. Some people have both forms. Among people with dumping syndrome, about 1 in 4 have late dumping syndrome alone.2

What are the complications of dumping syndrome?

Some people with severe dumping syndrome may avoid eating to prevent symptoms. This can lead to weight loss and malnutrition.

Man refusing a plate of food.Avoiding eating to prevent symptoms can lead to weight loss and malnutrition.


Last Reviewed January 2019
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This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.