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Gastroparesis Guide

Christine Jeffries

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Gatroparesis: What Have You Learned Since The Diagnosis?

By Allie Hoeland
 
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Allie describes what she has learned about gastroparesis since her diagnosis and shares how she is affected by this disease and a number of causes.

Allie:
Gastroparesis and dysmotility is a stomach paralysis for gastroparesis and dysmotility is paralysis in the rest of the system. So what typically happens is, you can go into a doctor and how they diagnose it is they feed you an egg sandwich and take x-rays every few hours to see how far it moves through your body.

So a gastroparesis patient can have food stay in their stomach ten times as long as a normal person, which if food stays in there acid comes in and your stomach is completely filled with acid all the time, which is incredibly painful and can make you vomit. So that’s the main symptom that usually comes from it.

I myself have had a host of symptoms that started it with the bloating is one of the worst for me. I have had to get an entirely new wardrobe of things that hide my belly and I have a lot of the nausea.

A lot of people with the disease get so bad that they have to have a feeding tube inserted into their body because they can’t even contemplate digesting any food.

I have also tried a lot of all-liquid diets, which then in turn make you very fatigued and exhausted and you aren’t getting the nutrients you need. So it’s a huge balance of trying to figure out what’s the best way to go about it, but most of the people have an entire slew of symptoms that are incredibly debilitating.

The main symptom that I suffer from is pain, which is an incredibly new symptom for gastroparesis. Doctors are just now starting to write articles about pain being a main problem for the disease because before everyone always thought it just wasn’t related. I get severe pains in my upper abdomen that I have to lay down because I cannot handle it and pain medication is terrible on your stomach and the rest of your system. So, there really isn’t a lot to do to try to help it.

The only device out there that can help, other than medication, is you can have a gastric electric stimulator put in, which is basically a pacemaker put into your stomach that can try and help with symptoms but it’s proven for nausea and vomiting, but not for pain yet. So there’s really nothing out there to help that symptom.

Gastroparesis is caused by a number of things. Mine specifically is idiopathic which means that the doctors have no idea where it came from. Other people have it after they have a stomach surgery of some sort and there can be a tear or something that can cause this to happen.

It’s a nerve and muscle problem, which is typically caused by the surgery, as I mentioned, or it can be caused by going and getting gastroenteritis in another country or in another city when you are on vacation and it basically just stays forever, and one in four diabetics also has gastroparesis. So it is the secondary symptom of diabetes.

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