There is no cure for gastroparesis. If you have been diagnosed with it, you may feel overwhelmed. The digestive disorder slows the movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine. This can make you uncomfortable and leave you dealing with pain and bloating. It’s not easy living with gastroparesis, but here are a few tips to help you on your journey.
Take One Day at a Time
When you are first diagnosed with gastroparesis it can be overwhelming. It may feel good in one way to find out what has been going on and why you’ve been feeling so badly. You may need a lot of trial and error to find out what types of foods you can and cannot eat. Keeping a food journal is beneficial for helping you learn which foods you can tolerate and which you should avoid. Each person is different and one person who suffers from gastroparesis may be able to tolerate certain foods while another person will not. In general, try avoiding foods high in fat. You may also want to avoid the skin and peel of fruits and vegetables as they can be hard for the stomach to break down. Go ahead and try fruits you think you might like, but remove the skins. Make sure vegetables are peeled and cooked thoroughly. The mushier veggies are the easier they will be to digest.
Keep Tabs on Your Electrolytes
It can be very difficult to stay hydrated when you have gastroparesis, especially if it causes you to vomit a lot. You can try drinking popular sports drinks but stay away from the ones with added sugar if you have trouble maintaining normal blood sugar levels. Bone broth is a great alternative for helping you stay hydrated and providing lots of nutrients. If you can make your own bone broth, that’s even better. It’s an excellent resource to keep on hand for those times when eating food is difficult, plus it’s loaded with essential vitamins and minerals.
Be Patient When Finding the Right Medications
Your GI specialist will help you by prescribing medications to help you manage symptoms. Don’t get discouraged if the first one doesn’t work. There are a few medications your gastroenterologist has to choose from, but it may take a few tries to find what medication or combination of medications works for you. When you experience a flare-up, you may be tempted to go to the emergency room or urgent care for pain relief medications. Doctors may prescribe narcotics that help relieve your pain temporarily. However, many of these medications can ultimately delay your recovery from the flare-up.
Create Your Own Support System
It can be too easy to feel isolated because of gastroparesis. It’s even more overwhelming to try to go through it all without having a good support system. Some people don’t have a lot of supportive family or friends and that can make you feel even more alone on your gastroparesis journey. Try to connect with a support group if you can. Your local hospital where you receive treatment may provide information on support groups. You can also reach out through social media sites like Facebook to find a related support group. Build yourself a good support system made up of medical professionals, friends, relatives, counselors, and religious or spiritual leaders who believe like you.
Living with Gastroparesis
If you or a loved one is living with gastroparesis, talk to your GI specialist about your concerns. There are alternative treatment options and medications that can help you manage symptoms. Contact us today with your questions.