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NikiMo's picture
Posts: 347
Joined: Jul 2011

Hi board,

My husband had an esophajectomy last September so he is 1 year past surgery now. In the beggining he had some difficulty with food and lost about twenty pounds. He didn't really have problems with dumping because he stayed away from dairy and sugars. He would have cramping but never complained of diarhea. Over the last 4 days he is having problems every time he eats. He has reduced his sugar intake and is steering clear of dairy, but he keeps having problems. Sorry to be graphic, but I am getting a little worried and just wanted to know if any of the other survivors on here have problems with this from time to time? He is making an appointment to see his primary care physician. He is most upset that he lost 3-4 pounds which took him so long to gain over the past twelve months.

Thanks for your feedback.


paul61's picture
Posts: 1260
Joined: Apr 2010


I am almost three years post surgery and I still have an unexplained dumping episode occasionally. I use the term "unexplained" because there are certain foods that I know will cause issues and occasionally I try them just to see if I can eat them after some time but items high in sugar content still cause "predictable" dumping episodes.

Occasionally however, I have issues after I have eaten food that I normally eat with no problems. However, I very seldom have dumping that lasts for a number of days.

I would begin to suspect a stomach virus or mild food poisoning if it lasts for a number of days. Have you tried Imodium? That was helpful for me when I was having issues during chemotherapy.

The other item I found that I did not suspect is there is a sugar substitute called "sorbital" that also causes issues for me, so I have to watch items that are "diet" foods because they often contain sorbital.

Best Regards,

Paul Adams
Grand Blanc, Michigan

DX 10/22/2009 T2N1M0 Stage IIB
12/03/2009 Ivor Lewis
2/8 through 6/14/2010 Adjuvant Chemo Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU
Two year survivor

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

NikiMo's picture
Posts: 347
Joined: Jul 2011


We just couldn't get our heads around what could be going on. Jeff was feeling so much stronger and was steadily gaining weight with the help of his trainer and then this hit and he was knocked back. Of course my mind went to the worse possible place - the r word. It just didn't seem right to have dumping after every meal. So we took out sugar and dairy and it was still happening. He then went on a very bland diet, boiled chicken, toast, bananas, that sort and still had issues. He called his doc and they said to keep up with the bland diet one more day. So he did that and today he is feeling better no problems, but guess what I think the true culprit was?? Trident gum!!!! I noticed Jeff was chewing gum more often (and after his meals), which he hadn't done before, I really didn't think anything of it. But, you mentioned sorbitol and I know that is used in sugarless gum. I called him immediately and told him to stop chewing the gum. He did that yesterday afternoon and today no problems so far. Thank you so much for giving your time to this board and giving back to people that are still learning the new normal. You literally could have been a life saver this time, I am SURE that the docs would not have thought of gum as the problem!

Niki :)

Posts: 46
Joined: Aug 2012

Sorbitol could very well be the culprit. Several years ago I was having symptoms similar to dumping syndrome. This was way before my cancer. I tried everything but within 30 minutes of eating I was having diarrhea and cramps no matter what I ate. My ex-wife who is an RN took at look at the new toothpaste I had started using, some kind of Colgate I think. I remember it tasted really good so I was using it liberally. She noticed it had Sorbitol in it and suggested I stop using the toothpaste. When I did my problems stopped almost immediately.

Posts: 46
Joined: Aug 2012

I am 14 months post surgery and experience "dumping syndrome" occaisonally. Sometimes I know it is going to happen because I will have a malted milk but other times it just happens. I tend to think it might be that I am empty and the food just goes on down or something. At any rate my episodes are usually over quickly. If he has episodes that linger there may be something else causing such as food poisioning, flu or something like that.

sandy1943's picture
Posts: 883
Joined: Jun 2010

Niki, Almost five years and still have some problems. Always in the morning and other times it is unpredictable. I agree with Paul. There could be someting else going on. Glad he has a doctors appointment.

mardigras's picture
Posts: 210
Joined: Sep 2011

Hi Niki,
I'm sorry that your husband is losing a bit of weight. The dumping will cause that
so don't automatically jump to the worst conclusions. Of course you must get it
checked out.
Rob takes imodium daily and finds it really difficult to gain weight, but he is
recovering from his surgery well and hopefully one day we will get the dumping under
control and we can start living a normal life where we can go out without having to
stay in the vicinity of a loo.
He is also not very good at meals, little & often. He still eats too much at one sitting
and acuses me of nagging if I say anything. Anyway, he's doing ok and we seem to have the weight under control now.
I hope things settle down.
Hugs and prayers

Cora11's picture
Posts: 177
Joined: Sep 2011

My husband had a very rough time with dumping and it is getting better. Avoiding simple sugars and refined carbs has definitely helped and the single best 2 things that helped are adding pectin to every meal. Grapefruit pectin has worked the best and he bought it on line at Vitacost. THe pectin binds the food and helps it slow down. He also makes sure that at least 3 hours goes by between drinking and eating. Everyone is so different but those two things along with the diet have helped. His diet is pretty constant too. Breakfast is oatmeal with berries and yogurt mixed in ( and even turkey bacon now and then ;), snacks a lot on nuts- pistachios, almonds cashews, and then fish like grilled salmon a few times a week with sautéed veggies - greens usually. And then a carb at dinner might be whole grain rice or pasta in small amounts. Might snack at night on oatmeal again, or whole grain toast with cashew or a nut butter. And lunch is usually some type of sandwich on whole grain bread with veggies as a side. If he has fruit he mixes it with yogurt. Plain greek yogurt doesn't bother him but other dairy stuff does. When he went for an endoscopy recently for a dilatation he had to be NPO over night and during the scope there was still food in his stomach from 12 hours earlier. So... sometimes I think the food just sits there for hours and then you drink something and boom... everything dumps.
Hope this helps. I would strongly encourage the pectin it was a huge help and he uses it at every meal


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