The digestive system plays a pivotal role in breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating waste, ensuring the body’s energy and nutrient requirements are met. Gastroparesis is when the stomach’s ability to empty properly is impaired, causing symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and bloating. It disrupts digestion, impacting nutrient absorption and overall health, underscoring the importance of a functional digestive system for well-being.
The condition can be identified by symptoms such as stomach aches, heartburn, acid reflux, and other similar stomach problems. Individuals of any age group can face a stomach disorder. People with a sedentary or unhealthy lifestyle are more prone to getting affected by it. Following a healthy diet and staying at bay from unrequited elements help lower the disease risk.
Causes of Gastroparesis
- Diabetes– Diabetes can greatly deteriorate an individual if not treated properly. The health problem also interferes with the digestion process. High blood sugar tightens the stomach muscles, leading to a slowed digestion procedure. The stomach pushes the food into the small intestine at a languid pace. Diabetic people often face digestive problems. Keeping track of blood sugar is not just helpful in eliminating diabetes but is also beneficial for a patient’s overall health.
- Post-Surgical- Surgery involving the stomach or vagus nerve can lead to nerve damage, disrupting stomach function.
- Viral Infection– Viral infection is also one of the causes of stomach disorders. The disease can disrupt the digestion procedure and obstruct the food from passing from the stomach to the small digestive system. Infections such as norovirus and rotavirus play a significant role in indigestion. Maintaining hygiene while eating food and avoiding places with negligent hygiene is advised. Watery stools, cramps, and pain in the abdomen are some signs indicating a viral infection in the stomach.
- Neurological Disorders- Conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and others affecting the nervous system can impact stomach muscles.
- Hypothyroidism– The medical condition involves the release of hormones by the thyroid gland in less than the required amount. One of the symptoms of the disease is slowing different processes of the body. Hypothyroidism is also a contributing factor to the stomach disorder. The condition leads to improper digestion resulting in stomach pain, fatigue, breathlessness, or heavy breathing.
- Autoimmune Disorders- Conditions such as scleroderma and lupus can affect various body systems, including the digestive tract.
Symptoms of Gastroparesis
Mentioned below are some of the gastroparesis symptoms that help to identify the disease to begin the treatment:
Indigestion– One common and identifiable symptom of the stomach disorder is indigestion. It happens due to low digestive acid in the stomach leading to storing food in the stomach for a longer time.
The small intestine shoots the undigested/unprocessed food back to the stomach. The affected patient feels aching heartburn and a feeling of whole morsels of food in the esophagus. In such situations, it is advised to consult for professional medical help.
- Bloated Stomach– The stomach disorder leads to improper digestion and food remaining in the stomach for longer. The food starts rotting in the gut leading to multiple health issues. The stomach muscles cannot contract for food digestion, leading to a bloated stomach and making the affected feel full most of the time.
- Stomach Pain– Another symptom of the disease is stomach pain. It happens due to rotting and excess storage of food in the stomach. The stomach muscles cannot contract and push the food into the small intestine for further digestion. An individual affected by a stomach disorder feels stomach pain. If the symptom is not cured at the right time, the pain may feel striking with time.
- Constipation– Constipation is considered one of the final stages of stomach disorder. It happens when the stomach emptying process slows down and affects the bowels harshly. The affected individual has difficulty passing stools and may feel constipated for a few days.
- Nausea and Vomiting– Feeling nauseated and vomiting, especially after eating, are common symptoms.
- Heartburn– Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms can worsen as stomach contents remain in the stomach longer.
- Fluctuating Blood Sugar– In diabetic patients, inconsistent stomach emptying can lead to erratic blood sugar levels.
Treatment for Gastroparesis
Mentioned below are some of the gastroparesis treatment options that help to lower the damaging symptoms:
- Medications– the stomach disorder damages multiple functions and processes of the affected individual. Drugs to heal the impaired processes are subscribed by the doctor. Medications such as different types of prokinetics, antiemetics, proton pumps, pain relievers, and medicines for diabetes can also be suggested by doctors. The drugs help to control blood sugar and acid reflux and also to lower pain caused due to stomach disorders.
- Planned Diet– A diet to manage the stomach disorder helps manage the damaging symptoms. The proper diet suggested by a nutritionist helps eliminate the disease. Lowering fiber and fat intake is advised for a more straightforward digestion process.
- Nutritional Support– In severe cases, tube feeding or parenteral nutrition might be necessary to ensure adequate nourishment.
- Blood Sugar Management– Diabetic patients need careful monitoring and adjustments of insulin and other medications.
- Botulinum Toxin– Injections of botulinum toxin into the pyloric sphincter may help relax it and improve emptying.
- Surgery– In extreme cases, surgical options such as pyloroplasty or gastric bypass might be considered.
When to Consult a Doctor
You can also get in touch with the expert Gastroenterology doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.
Gastroparesis is a stomach disorder defining paralysis of the stomach. The affected individual cannot digest food properly, leading to multiple other stomach problems. The condition can be resolved with the help of medications, proper diet, and surgery if required.
Q. What is Gastroparesis?
A. It is the paralysis of the stomach leading to indigestion and stomach pain. The condition worsens if not treated at the right time.
Q. What are the symptoms of Gastroparesis?
A. The symptoms of the stomach disorder are stomach pain, indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux, and other similar problems.
Q. How is Gastroparesis diagnosed?
A. Gastroparesis is diagnosed through various methods, including gastric emptying scans, endoscopy, manometry, and blood tests, which help assess stomach function, rule out other conditions, and guide treatment.
Q. How is Gastroparesis treated?
A. Gastroparesis is treated through dietary modifications, medications to stimulate stomach contractions, nutritional support, lifestyle changes, and, in severe cases, surgical interventions to enhance stomach emptying and alleviate symptoms.