Hey everyone. School begins next week and I am so not ready. I move in on Sunday.
Today I wanted to raise awareness for one (of many) medical conditions I have. And that is Gastroparesis. This post will talk about what gastroparesis is, symptoms and diagnosis as well as treatment. I'm not going to go into much detail about my diagnosis story because that would take ages to full explain. So let's begin.
What is gastroparesis?
According to Mayo Clinic, gastroparesis is a condition that affects the stomach motility or how fast food leaves your stomach after entry. For a person without gastroparesis (GP for short) it takes 4 hours for food to leave the stomach. For someone with GP it can take days for the stomach to empty. GP is also known as delayed gastric emptying.
The cause of GP is unknown. It is common in diabetics due to high blood sugars affecting the vagus nerve (which causes the stomach muscles to contract and therefore move food out of the stomach) but non-diabetics can also get gastroparesis. If that is the case, it is called idiopathic gastroparesis (which is what I have).
Symptoms & diagnosis.
The symptoms of GP are: Nausea, vomiting (undigested food), feeling full after eating just a few bites, acid reflux, abdominal bloating & pain, changes in blood sugar levels, lack of appetite and unexplained weight loss which leads to malnutrition.
A Gastric Emptying Scan is commonly used to diagnosis GP. During this test you will eat scrambled eggs with a radioactive element in it. Then you will lie on a bed with a x-ray type machine in front of your stomach that will track how long the radioactive eggs stay in your stomach. If it says there for more than 5 hours, you have gastroparesis.
Changes to your diet can greatly improve your quality of life with GP. Some dietary changes could be: eat smaller meals more frequently (grazing), avoid raw fruits and vegetables, try soups, easy to digest or pureed foods (such as smoothies) if liquids are easier for you to swallow, drink at least 1 liter of water a day and take a multivitamin daily to avoid malnutrition.
Medications are also helpful for those with gastroparesis. Some common medications used are: Raglan (metoclopramide) and Remeron (Mirtazapine) which stimulate the stomach muscles as well as anti-nausea medications such as Zofran (ondansetron).
In severe cases a feeding tube may be used. This could be a NG (Nasogastric), NJ (Nasojejunal), G (gastrostomy), J (jejunostomy) tube. Sometimes a GJ tube is used. This particular tube goes into the stomach as well as the jejunum which is the second part of the small intestine.
So that concludes my post about gastroparesis. I hope you all learned something from it. If you did don't forget to give this post a +1 on Google+, share this with all your friends and leave me a comment if you have any questions for me on what living with gastroparesis is like.
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