About Gastroparesis

“With as many as 50% of gastrointestinal complaints traceable to motility disorders, gastroparesis is a substantial and under-recognized problem in clinical practice. Patients whose gastroparesis is untreated often have a substantial impairment of their quality of life…”
Marvin M. Schuster, M.D., Professor of Medicine (Retired), The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore MD; 
Practical Gastroenterology, Oct. 1997

stomach

Gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying, is a medical condition consisting of a paresis (partial paralysis) of the stomach, resulting in food remaining in the stomach for a longer time than normal. Normally, the stomach contracts to move food down into the small intestine for digestion. The vagus nerve controls these contractions. Gastroparesis may occur when the vagus nerve is damaged and the muscles of the stomach and intestines do not work normally. Food then moves slowly or stops moving through the digestive tract.”    Wikipedia        

                 
Here are a few informative  links that explain what this disorder is, symptoms, diagnosing, and treatment options:

http://www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gastroparesis/

http://www.digestivedistress.com/intro

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gastroparesis/DS00612

My personal experience over the years includes the following symptoms and complications:

Severe stomach pain, nausea, early satiety (feeling full after a few bites), digestive tract paralysis or DTP, coughing up food in the middle of the night, fatigue, weight loss, dehydration, bloating, bacteria overgrowth of the small intestine or SIBO, multiple food allergies, and muscle weakness.

Treatment options I have pursued:

Multiple medications, botox to the stomach (yes, that really does exist!) twice, 2 separate feeding tubes, and currently total parental nutrition – feeding through an IV PICC line in my upper arm, otherwise known as TPN.

Dietary modifications – Imagine never being able to indulge in your favorite foods such as pizza, pasta and salads (once my favorites!), fresh fruit and veggies from the market, chips and salsa, a nice, juicy steak, nuts and dried fruit, a slice of cake on your birthday or apple pie on Thanksgiving.  A GP recommended diet is low fiber, low fat, and for me, gluten and dairy free as well.  Absolutely no raw vegetables.  Instead, pureed fruits  and cooked veggies in small amounts minus skins.  No more than 2-3 oz of low fat protein such as white fish, occasionally chicken breasts, and 1 egg.  Even these safe foods can be hit or miss, as each day the stubborn stomach seems to have a different personality.  Unfortunately, “white” refined foods digest the fastest including white rice, white potatoes, white toast, etc.  That said, I still strive for color in my diet, even if it is just a few bites.

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One thought on “About Gastroparesis

  1. Hi there Stephanie,
    Thank you for putting your blog on the internet. I have just found out, after having cameras, echos, scans…the works, that my stomach does not empty properly. I am taking metoclopramide, at the moment, and it helps the pain, but I stopped going to the toilet. The doctor has now given me laxatives, as well as the tablets, but nothing is happening. I have heard about a pace maker, specially for the stomach. Have you heard about it? If so, is that something for us people to have?
    Greetings,
    Janice

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