Rapid Gastric Emptying


Rapid gastric emptying, also called dumping syndrome, occurs when undigested food empties too quickly into the small intestine.


Rapid gastric emptying is a result of stomach surgery such as surgery for gastric or abdominal ulcers, anti reflux surgery or gastric bypass. The condition is also seen in people with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, a rare disorder involving extreme peptic ulcer disease and gastrin-secreting tumors in the pancreas.


Early rapid gastric emptying begins either during or right after a meal. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, dizziness, and fatigue. Late rapid gastric emptying occurs 1 to 3 hours after eating. Symptoms include hypoglycemia, also called low blood sugar; weakness; sweating; and dizziness. Experiencing both forms of gastric emptying is not uncommon.

How is rapid gastric emptying diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose rapid gastric emptying primarily on the basis of symptoms in people who have had gastric surgery. Tests may be needed to exclude other conditions that have similar symptoms, such as irritable bowel syndrome.


Treatment includes changes in eating habits and medication. People who have rapid gastric emptying should eat several small meals a day that are low in carbohydrates and drink liquids between meals—not with them. People with severe rapid gastric emptying will likely need to take prescribed medicine to slow their digestion. In the most serious cases, doctors may recommend surgery.


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