Gastroparesis is a disorder in which the muscles in the stomach and the intestine do not work normally, causing food to move slowly or to stop moving through the digestive tract. This can prevent your stomach from properly emptying after you eat.
One of the most common causes of gastroparesis is diabetes, though it may also be caused by stomach surgery, viral infections, certain medications, or metabolic disorders.
Symptoms of gastroparesis, which range in severity, include heartburn, pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, bloating, gastroesophageal reflux, or lack of appetite.
How serious is gastroparesis?
Gastroparesis can interfere with your quality of life and lead to dehydration and malnutrition from vomiting. It can also cause unpredictable changes in blood sugar and worsen diabetes. If undigested food stays in your stomach, it may form into a bezoar, which is a hardened mass of food. If you have a bezoar, you may experience nausea and vomiting. The situation can also be life-threatening if the bezoar stops food from making its way to your small intestine.
How is gastroparesis treated?
Oftentimes, gastroparesis can be managed by changes to the diet. A doctor may refer you to a nutritionist to help you make dietary changes or to get diabetes under better control if this is the cause of the condition. A doctor may also prescribe medications to stimulate the stomach muscles or to alleviate nausea and vomiting. In some cases, you may need a feeding tube, often temporarily, until symptoms are under control.
Can a doctor cure gastroparesis?
There is no cure for gastroparesis, but you can alleviate the symptoms by changing your eating habits and taking medications.
- “I have type 2 diabetes, and I experienced rapid changes in my blood sugar levels, along with a lack of appetite and weight loss.”
- “I started to feel full after eating just a few bites of food, and I was vomiting undigested food a few hours after eating.”
- “I had unexplained abdominal pain, as well as nausea and vomiting.”