Stomach issues are no joke. Abdominal pain, acid reflux, nausea, and vomiting can shut down any plans and leave you stuck at home, wondering where it all went wrong. August is Gastroparesis Awareness Month, and so it is an important subject to discuss since, oftentimes, people don’t realize their stomach issues are due to gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is a condition that prevents the stomach from emptying properly and can interfere with normal digestion and cause nutrition issues. If you have chronic stomach issues, the time to act is now.
Symptoms of Gastroparesis
Gastroparesis means “stomach paralysis.” Ordinarily, the stomach muscles (motility) are responsible for breaking up ingested food and pushing it into the small intestine where it can be further digested and nutrients can be absorbed. In gastroparesis, the movement of the stomach muscles is slowed or stopped altogether.
Not everyone with gastroparesis has symptoms. Those that do may experience:
- Early fullness while eating meals
- Abdominal pain
Causes and Risk Factors of Gastroparesis
Many different things can cause gastroparesis. Infections, hypothyroidism, autoimmune conditions, neuromuscular diseases, psychological conditions, and surgery of the upper intestinal tract are some of the risk factors that can cause gastroparesis. Trauma or surgery to the vagus nerve, which controls the stomach’s smooth muscles, can affect the emptying of the stomach. Damage to the vagus nerve also occurs in diseases like diabetes, which is the most common cause of gastroparesis.
Specific medications like narcotics and some antidepressants have side effects similar to those of gastroparesis. Once the person stops taking the medication, symptoms typically subside.
Treatment and Improving Options Through Research
Diet changes are the first steps in reducing gastroparesis symptoms after all other causes are ruled out. Foods that take longer to digest, such as those high in fat and ones that are fibrous like raw veggies, should be drastically reduced or eliminated. Prescription options available to treat gastroparesis include metoclopramide, domperidone, erythromycin, and cisapride. However, in many cases, their uses are limited by undesirable side effects or effectiveness limitations.
There’s still a lot of work to do when it comes to effective treatments for gastroparesis. Potential new options are being evaluated through clinical research studies that offer promise to treat this condition adequately. Therapies under investigation include surgery, serotonin receptor agonists, and gastric stimulation.
Infinite Clinical Trials is seeking participants to enroll in a study for individuals with gastroparesis due to diabetes. To learn more about enrolling opportunities, call (678) 430-3232, or visit our website.