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What is Gastroparesis?

By on July 11, 2012 in Diseases with 0 Comments

 

What is gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis is a disorder that occurs when stomach muscles are not working properly. It is sometimes called “delayed gastric emptying.” Normally, after a person swallows food, the stomach muscles will tighten and tighten. (These movements are called contractions). This crushes food and moves to the small intestine to continue the process of digestion. When you have gastroparesis, the stomach muscles do not contract properly. This may delay or prevent the process of crushing the food and send the small intestine.

What are the symptoms of gastroparesis?

The symptoms of gastroparesis may be mild or severe and may include:

  • Heartburn or stomach pain.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting, especially vomiting of undigested food pieces.
  • Feeling full after eating only a few bites of food.
  • Bloating.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Unintentional weight loss.
  • Levels of blood sugar unstable (in people with diabetes).

These symptoms may suggest a lot of different problems and disorders. This may make it difficult to diagnose gastroparesis.

How is gastroparesis treated?

There is no cure for gastroparesis. The treatment is focused on treating any underlying problem that is causing the gastroparesis and control symptoms. For example, it is possible that your doctor tells you to stop taking any drugs that may affect the digestive system. Do not stop taking any medication without talking to your doctor. It is also possible that your doctor wants to treat any eating disorder, infection or other problems that may be causing gastroparesis.

It is also possible that your doctor may recommend one or more of the following:

Changes in the diet. Since you may not be able to eat normally, is very important to ensure you are getting enough nutrients. You may need to:

  • Eat several smaller meals each day instead of 2 or 3 large meals.
  • Eat softer foods such as vegetables or cooked pasta.
  • Limit the amount of fat (which can slow digestion) and fiber (which can be difficult to digest).
  • Supplement your diet with nutritious drinks or solid food pureed in a blender.

Medications. Take anti-nausea medications are called antiemetics may help with nausea and vomiting. Some other medications such as metoclopramide and erythromycin, can stimulate contractions of the muscles of the stomach. Each of these drugs has some disadvantages, including potentially serious side effects. You and your doctor should consider whether the benefits of taking these drugs outweigh the risks.

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