Gullet (oesophagus) cancer

A support group for anyone affected by gullet cancer (also known as oesophageal cancer) to come together, share experiences and ask questions.

Bloating and feeling full.

Helen1624
Posted by

Evening all, as some of you probably know from previous post hubby was diagnosed 25 months ago and surgery 21 months ago he has suddenly had an episode of dumping out of nowhere and now he is starting to feel full and bloated after eating. I am hoping that this is just the after effects of a dumping incident but I am starting to panic it could be something else. He doesn't want to bother the doctor and says he has to get used to his new life (being very stroppy about it) but all the same feelings are coming back to me and I could cry at any moment. Hoping that it passes again and we can get back to new normal, I know if he goes back to hospital they will scan him and don't know if I can cope with scanxiety again. His weight is ok it's just this feeling of fullness and bloating. Please someone give me some comfort. Thanks. Helen xxx

Zappaman
Posted by

Hi Helen, I'm sure you will get more information from others who are further down the road than me. I am only 9 months post surgery and sometimes get dumping syndrome, especially when I have eaten just a little bit more than I should. Even just a forkful or two of rice is enough to set it off, and sometimes no apparent reason at all. Things I have eaten regularly suddenly give me food dumping syndrome for no reason. I feel bloated and as if I am going to pass out, that can last for about an hour then I get the sugar crash and almost pass out, sweating buckets and feeling weak. I was going to suggest cutting portion size a little to see if that helps. Good luck and kind regards Frank.

BrentS
Posted by

Hi Helen

For me two things make dumping and bloating worse

  • Sugar or any easily digested carbohydrate, like white rice.
  • SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth)

All healthy children and adults have bacteria living in the large intestine. I am prone to bacterial in the small intestine, like many people who have had upper GI surgery. Bacteria in the small intestine digest sugar to produce gas (hydrogen) – a lot of gas, and very quickly, which lead to very unpleasant symptoms.

SIBO can be diagnosed by a hydrogen breath test and can be treated with antibiotics if it is causing dramatic symptoms.

Gut bacterial flora is quite topical subject and there is a lot in the popular press about probiotic bacteria and good bacteria. I take do take a widely available probiotic supplement of Lactobacillus Acidophilus (which includes a spectrum of a number of good bacteria). This seems to do the trick for me, presumably by populating the small intestine with bacteria which don’t digest the sugar as quickly.

It might be worth discussing your husband’s symptoms with a doctor or dietician to see if SIBO is worth investigating. Your husband has suffered enough without having to endure life changing dumping. I’m sure it’s affecting your life too!

Good luck.

Counting the days, making every day count.

Brent

Zappaman
Posted by

Great information again Brent, I appreciate your knowledge on the eating problems. Kind regards Frank

oyita
Posted by

Hi Brent,

I have read about your old post while looking for information on bloating. I was wondering, how do you take such supplements? Are you looking for liquid form or can you take capsules?

Regards,

BrentS
Posted by

Hi Oyita

I take Holland and Barrett Acidophilus capsules. There are other brands. 
I still think I have SIBO which can give me bloating with high carb foods.

Antibiotics for SIBO are a short term fix and it always comes back because I have no acid barrier to stop it from returning. 

Any ideas to prevent small intestinal bacterial overgrowth would be welcome!

Counting the days, making every day count.

Brent

oyita
Posted by

Dear Brent,

Thank you for taking the time reply to me so quickly. In general we try to practice home cooked meals and bone broths for intestine health. But perhaps you are already doing that..  Perhaps in your case gluten could be to blame?

I was wondering, after your surgery, are you able to take pills and capsules as they are, or you have to crush them or peal the capsule for example?

My husband had a total gastrectomy and part of esophagus removed, thus they have recommended him to crush his pills but this is not the best thing in the world when you are taking different medicine. And we could not find out about capsules though...so the capsules would go down as they are?? 

best,

Oyita

BrentS
Posted by

Thankfully after a few weeks of sticking to small amounts of soft food I quite quickly became able to eat small solid meals after surgery. Now some years later I can eat pretty much anything and medium sized servings too.

As I understand it the small intestine is used to receiving a partially digested meal from the stomach in essentially liquid form. The stomach releases this a little at a time.

After Ivor Lewis surgery the stomach, which is now a tube in the chest, releases fairly solid undigested food into the small intestine, again just a little at a time. After a while the small intestine gets used to receiving solids, a little at a time. However when a lot is released into the small intestine, say when it’s flushed down with a drink, or when overeating, the gut reacts badly and releases all sorts of hormones and basically goes into shock. This is my understanding of what happens during dumping syndrome.

In the case of gastrectomy there is no slow release of solid food because there is no pyloric sphincter at the top of the small intestine. This makes eating solid food much more difficult to tolerate. It could be that the small intestine will become more tolerant with time.

At least that’s my understanding. 

Counting the days, making every day count.

Brent