August is Gastroparesis Awareness Month

Gastroparesis is a condition in which the stomach doesn’t empty itself of food in the normal way.

Gastroparesis can cause pain, bloating, and malnutrition.
It affects the spontaneous motility of the muscles in the stomach. Gastroparesis is a chronic condition, which means that there is no cure. However, there are ways to manage and control it. Some of the ways in which you may manage this condition are through medications and controlling your blood sugar with diet and exercise.

Symptoms of Gastroparesis include:

  • Heartburn or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting of undigested food
  • Feeling full quickly when eating
  • Abdominal bloating and pain
  • Weight loss or poor appetite
  • Poor blood sugar control
  • Many people have no symptoms.

Complications and Causes

Complications of Gastroparesis include severe dehydration, malnutrition, food staying in the stomach too long and becoming fermented, bacteria growth, obstructions in the stomach that keep food from passing into the small intestine, and unpredictable blood sugar changes.

Other causes of Gastroparesis:

  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Injury to the vagus nerve during gastric surgery
  • Narcotics and some antidepressants
  • High blood pressure and allergy medications
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Amyloidosis
  • Scleroderma

Diagnosing and Treating Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis is diagnosed a number of ways. Your doctor will give you a medical exam and review your symptoms and medical history. He or she may order blood tests and other diagnostic exams. Some of those exams are:

  • Barium x-ray also known as Upper GI or Barium Swallow
  • Radioisotope gastric-emptying scan
  • Gastric manometry
  • Electrogastrography
  • Ultrasound
  • Upper endoscopy

Doctors have found that eating 6 small meals a day rather than 3 large meals will help control this condition. Eating a low fat and low fiber diet is greatly beneficial to managing gastroparesis. Ultimately, it is up to you and your physician to arrive at the best treatment plan for you. If and when your doctor recommends testing, contact the team at Sand Lake Imaging in your area. We will be glad to assist you.