What is Gastroparesis?
Gastroparesis is a disorder in which the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. It is the most often a complication of type 1 diabetes. Gastroparesis happens when nerves to the stomach are damaged or is not working anymore. Gastroparesis may be caused by motor dysfunction of stomach muscles or can be associated with other systematic disease such as diabetes mellitus.
In gastroparesis, the muscles in the wall of your stomach work poorly or not at all, preventing your stomach from emptying properly. This can interfere with digestion, cause nausea and vomiting, and play havoc with blood sugar levels and nutrition.
Symptoms of Gastroparesis?
For some people nausea and vomiting are the common symptoms of gastroparesis. Vomiting normally occurs after several hours after you’ve eaten and your stomach is full of undigested food. Sometimes, enzymes and acids can cause vomiting even if you don’t eat.
Some of most common symptoms of Gastroparesis include:
- Full stomach when you eat a small amount of food
- Weight loss
- Abdominal bloating
What Causes of Gastroparesis?
Damage to the vagus nerve is the leading cause of gastroparesis, although the disorder can also result from damage to the stomach muscles themselves. Factors that can damage nerves or muscles in the stomach include the following:
Diabetes – Affecting most people with either type 1 or 2 diabetes, it is the most common cause of gastroparesis. Over the period, high blood glucose levels and their metabolic effects can damage vagus nerve and its normal functioning.
Surgery – Operations involving the esophagus, stomach or the upper part of the small intestine can injure the vagus nerve and lead to gastroparesis.
Other Causes – A numerous of other medical conditions can cause gastroparesis including anorexia and bulimia, other nervous system illness and metabolic disorders.
What happens during Gastroparesis?
When a person has gastroparesis, the stomach is able to receive food from the esophagus but it is not able to release the food content through the small intestine. When this happens, the stomach acid can travel up the esophagus causing a burning sensation in the middle of the chest i.e. heartburn.
As a result of having gastroparesis, the stomach may feel full after small meals. This occurs because the stomach may not have emptied its contents. In most cases, several meals will be collected in the stomach and cause severe bloating.
How is Gastroparesis Diagnosed?
The normal tests for gastroparesis diagnose purpose include:
Gastric emptying studies – The most precise way to diagnose gastroparesis, gastric emptying studies can take various forms. In the most common test, you eat a meal in which a solid food often eggs or oatmeal contains a small amount of radioactive material.
Electrogastrogram – Electrical signals control the muscle contractions in your stomach. An electrogastrogram, the procedure similar to an electrocardiogram (ECG), records the electrical signals in your stomach before and after you eat.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – The imaging technique uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to produce images of your body. It’s used to diagnose a broad range of diseases, including various cancers, but researchers are also studying the use of real-time MRI to help evaluate stomach motility. Unlike other tests for gastroparesis, MRI isn’t invasive and doesn’t expose you to radiation.
Gastroparesis Treatment Options:
Gastroparesis can be treated. The most common treatments include:
- Smaller, more frequent meals
- Low-fiber foods
- Low-fat foods
- Pureed and liquid foods