What is it?

Gastroparesis is an impairment in gastric motility without any anatomical obstruction. In most cases it is not known what causes gastroparesis. Common causes include diabetes, viral infection (a more common cause in children), neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, and immune diseases such as scleroderma, as well as diseases such as chronic kidney failure, thyroid dysfunction, pituitary gland damage and certain types of cancer. Gastroparesis can be a part of a broader motility problem of the entire gastrointestinal tract, a condition known as Chronic Intestinal Pseudoobstruction - CIP. In this disease there is an impairment in the motility of the intestine along its entire length which causes a bowel obstruction-like appearance, although in practice there is no anatomical obstruction. Gastroparesis can disturb normal digestion, cause nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. It can also trigger problems with blood sugar levels and nutrition

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Delayed Gastric Emptying
- Diabetic gastroparesis

Signs & symptoms

Gastroperesis symtpoms may include abdoming pain and bloating, vomiting, nausea, early satiety, reflux, lack of appettite, weight loss, malnutrition and imbalance in blood sugar levels.

Diagnosis

There are a few diagnostic tests that can help diagnose gastroparesis and rule out conditions that may cause similar symptoms. Tests may include gastric emptying tests such as breath tests or a scintigraphy where the patient eats a light meal that is marked by radioactive material that later is read by a scanner and indicates the rate at which food leaves the stomach. An endoscopy of the upper gasto intestinal tract can be performed in order to visualize it and can rule out other conditions.

Treatment

First, it is important to address the underlying problem. It is also recommended to make lifestyle changes such as a menu of small and frequent meals, low in dietary fiber and fat. There are medications that can increase the activity of stomach contraction like the antibiotics erythromycin and motilium. Rarely, a surgical solution is required and may include inserting a jejunostomy. Patients whose entire bowel movement is impaired sometimes need to be fed intravenously. Gastric electrical stimulation which is implanted beneath the skin andhelps control the chronic nausea and vomiting associated with gastroparesis* by stimulating the smooth muscles of the lower stomach

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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