August is Gastroparesis Awareness Month. You are probably asking what is gastroparesis and thinking because it starts with gastro it must have something to do with the stomach. If that is the case, you are correct. Gastroparesis is a condition in which the stomach does not empty properly into the intestines. There is no evidence of blockage or obstruction, which makes it pretty scary.
Gastroparesis can occur in children or adults, but women and diabetics seem to be most at risk. In most cases, the cause is unknown. The following symptoms may lead your doctor to carry out a number of tests for gastroparesis:
Nausea and/or vomiting
Retching – dry heaves
A feeling of fullness after a normal sized meal
The person may be unable to finish a meal due to satiety -early fullness
These symptoms usually occur during and after a meal.
If your symptoms are mild, they can be controlled with dietary and lifestyle adjustments. Moderate symptoms may be treated with medications to stimulate motility – movement of food into the intestines – and/or reduce nausea and vomiting. If your symptoms are severe and difficult to treat, you may need additional treatments, including surgery, to maintain nutrition or reduce symptoms.
The following tips can help you cope better with gastroparesis:
Work with a qualified dietician or health practitioner to design a dietary plan just for you.
Eat 4 – 6 small meals low in fat and fiber.
Lean meat, eggs and peanut butter are good protein sources.
If you are diabetic, pay special attention to controlling your blood glucose level.
Select foods that are easily chewed and chew well before swallowing.
Avoid coarse fruits and vegetables, fruits with seeds and tough skins or husks that are difficult to digest.
Avoid carbonated beverages, alcohol and cigarettes.
Boost your nutritional intake with caloric drinks, protein shakes or protein bars.
No single treatment helps everyone with gastroparesis. All drugs and medications carry side effects, some of which may be unavoidable. It is important that you work closely with your doctor to help alleviate or reduce your symptoms. And remember, the information in this blog post is not meant to be taken as medical advice. If you suffer from this or any other disease, please consult with your doctor before making a medical decision.
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