Do you suffer from upper abdominal pain? Do you vomit undigested food, even hours after you’ve finished a meal? You may be suffering from gastroparesis.
Gastroparesis, also referred to as delayed gastric emptying or lazy/slow stomach, is a condition in which your stomach takes too long to empty its contents. In a normal process of digestion, the stomach will contract, moving food to the small intestine. This process is controlled by the vagus nerve. However, this nerve can become damaged and gastroparesis occurs, causing the stomach and intestines to cease to function correctly. Food becomes stagnant in the digestive tract or moves very slowly through the digestive process.
How Do I Know if I have Gastroparesis or Lazy Stomach?
There are many signs and symptoms associated with delayed gastric emptying. Symptoms include:
- Spasms in the stomach area
- Abdominal pain
- Gastroesophageal reflux
- Loss or lack of appetite
- Abnormal glucose levels
- Bloating of the abdomen
- Weight Loss
- Feeling of fullness after ingesting small amounts of food
- Vomiting, even hours after meals (containing undigested food)
Symptoms will vary depending on the individual and the degree of the condition. The disorder is often difficult to diagnose because many people experience gastroparesis differently. While some experience mild, sporadic symptoms, others may experience intense and more constant signs of the disorder.
If signs and symptoms of gastroparesis occur, eating high-fiber foods, fatty foods, or highly carbonated beverages may exasperate your symptoms. If you suspect you may be suffering from a slow/lazy stomach, call our offices so that we can determine your diagnosis and treat the root cause of the issue.
What causes Gastroparesis?
Gastroparesis is caused by damage to the vagus nerve. This often occurs in individuals suffering from diabetes. High blood sugar levels can contribute to damaged blood vessels which, in turn, affect the nerves in the body.
Other causes of delayed gastric emptying include:
- Metabolism disorders
- Nervous system diseases
- Certain muscle disorders
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Certain medications and narcotics that directly affect the intestines
- Eating disorders
- Viral infections
What Happens if Gastroparesis is not treated?
It is never recommended to leave delayed stomach emptying (or lazy stomach) untreated! If food remains stagnant in the body, bacterial growth can take place. Food that is no longer moving normally through the body can harden as time passes, causing blockages, nausea, or vomiting.
Individuals with diabetes are at particular risk of gastroparesis. As this disorder makes the movement of food through the body unpredictable, blood sugar levels can become unpredictable as well.
How is Gastroparesis treated?
Unfortunately, gastroparesis is often a chronic condition. However, there are treatment options available so that you can continue to live a healthy and comfortable life. The specific treatment you receive will depend on the symptoms of the disorder. It is best to have a full examination by our team in order to assess and determine your full range of symptoms.
Medication is often used to combat the effects of gastroparesis. There are several medications available that our doctor may prescribe based on the combination that will lead to the most effective treatment for your disorder.
One way that you can proactively and consistently reduce the effects of a slow stomach is by a change of diet. Our physicians can work with you to create a diet plan that works best to combat your symptoms. Oftentimes patients will find that eating 6 smaller meals per day is often preferable to 3 large meals. The reduced meal size simplifies the job of the stomach and allows the process to move more consistently. In serious cases, a liquid diet may be recommended.
If small meals and a liquid diet are not successful, a feeding tube may be necessary for your body to receive the nutrients that it needs. Our team will surgically insert the tube which will bypass the stomach. This tube delivers a special liquid, nutrient-rich diet to the intestine, allowing the body to absorb nutrients as intended.
In the most severe cases, a catheter can be placed in a chest vein. This catheter includes an opening outside the skin where a feeding bag is attached. This is often a temporary solution (in lieu of a feeding tube) meant to overcome a particularly severe case of gastroparesis. This solution is only utilized when other methods have failed.
In other cases where traditional medicinal and dietary options are unsuccessful, surgical options may also be explored.
Our team of qualified professionals is here to walk you through each step as we discover the best plan to combat your gastroparesis symptoms.
Gastroparesis Treatment Near Me
Georgia SurgiCare offers quality care for individuals suffering from gastroparesis disorder. Our qualified staff work to assess your symptoms and create a plan of action to give you a normal, healthy, and happy life!
Do you suffer from a slow/lazy stomach? Call us today to learn how Georgia SurgiCare can help!