Gastroparesis

The literal translation of gastroparesis is "stomach paralysis." It is a condition in which the motility of the stomach is either abnormal or absent and results in delayed stomach emptying.


Symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Bloating

  • Getting full quickly

  • Heartburn

  • Upper abdominal pain

Diagnosis: 

  • Gastric emptying study: A nuclear medicine test in which you ingest some type of food (usually an egg sandwich) which contains a radioactive tracer to monitor how long it takes for food to leave your stomach. A delay in emptying indicates gastroparesis.

  • Gastroduodenal manometry: This test uses a specialized tube to measure the contractions of you stomach and upper portion of your small intestine, the duodenum. Usually the test will run in a fasted state and then while you are eating to monitor stomach contractions.

  • Upper endoscopy: This is when a small tube with a pin-point camera at the end is advanced down your throat and into your stomach. While this cannot diagnose gastroparesis, it can help rule out other possible causes of upper abdominal pain and other symptoms you may be having, such as a gastric ulcer.

  • SmartPill®: This is a capsule that can measure temperature, pH, and pressure changes as it travels through your digestive tract. It can monitor the rate at which things are moving through your system.


Treatment:

  • Diet modification: Working with a nutritionist is important for individual's with gastroparesis.

  • Medications: The purpose of medication is to help increase stomach emptying, however, the medications that do exist often have unwanted side effect profiles. Speak with your team about options.

  • Surgical options- Gastric pacemaker: Uses electrical stimulation to enhance gastrointestinal contractile activity. The pacemaker is surgically implanted under the skin and is connected to electrodes placed on the stomach wall.