What is Gastroparesis?
Gastroparesis is a condition that greatly reduces, or in some cases eliminates, the ability of the stomach to properly digest food and move it through the digestive tract. When functioning normally, the muscles of the stomach frequently contract to crush food and push it to the next stage of digestion. With gastroparesis however, the stomach is not able to produce contractions strong enough to move food along into the small bowel.
What Causes Gastroparesis?
Gastroparesis is caused when nerve signals to the stomach are disrupted. This disruption can be caused by numerous conditions including diabetes, autoimmune conditions, cancers and cancer treatments, or when the nerve controlling stomach contractions, the vagus nerve, is damaged through surgery.
What are the Symptoms of Gastroparesis?
The most common symptom of gastroparesis is feeling full shortly after starting a meal. Other symptoms include bloating, vomiting, nausea, heartburn, and weight loss or malnutrition.The most common symptom of gastroparesis is feeling full shortly after starting a meal. Other symptoms include bloating, vomiting, nausea, heartburn, and weight loss or malnutrition.
What is the Treatment for Gastroparesis?
Diet is an important part of treating gastroparesis. Modifying dietary habits can ensure you receive the necessary calories and nutrients to stay healthy while also avoiding unnecessary stress to the digestive system. For example, eating smaller meals more frequently and reducing the amount of hard to digest foods like fatty and fibrous foods will help ease digestion and avoid complications resulting from gastroparesis.
Beyond diet, there are medications available to assist the stomach with digestion. These medications include erythromycin and metoclopramide, which can cause the stomach to contract and force food along the digestive tract.
In cases where a modified diet is not providing adequate nutrition, a feeding tube may become necessary. In severe cases, surgery may be considered to bypass the lower part of the stomach to assist it in emptying its contents.
For individuals with gastroparesis caused by an underlying condition such as diabetes, treatment begins with managing that condition before looking at dietary changes or medications.
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Read more about Gastroparesis
Gastroparesis can be literally translated to mean “stomach paralysis”. Symptoms of gastroparesis include bloating, nausea, and early fullness particularly with the ingestion of fatty meals and high-fiber foods such as raw fruits and vegetables.
Prevention & Treatment
Upper Endoscopy (EGD)
A procedure that uses a thin scope with a light and camera to view the upper digestive system. Learn more about this procedure and schedule an appointment with a Gastro Health physician at a convenient location.Learn More