If you do not feel hungry and there is always a feeling of fullness, or if you feel bloated after eating then you may be affected by gastroparesis. This article provides information about the various symptoms, causes, and treatment options available for this condition.
Gastroparesis is a condition in which the stomach is not emptied in a normal fashion. “Gastro” means “stomach and “paresis” means “weakness”. In this condition the stomach is paralyzed, and it fails to function properly. The muscles of the stomach become slow and weak, therefore it takes long to empty its contents. This condition is not very unusual and it can cause many abdominal disorders. Since, it is so common, not much attention is given to this condition; however, treatment is necessary as it might turn up to become a severe problem.
Often the symptoms are vague and it is difficult to diagnose this condition. Most of the symptoms are related to the fullness of the stomach that occurs due to the food not going to the small intestine. There are various symptoms of gastroparesis, some of them are:
- Feeling of nausea
- Pain in the upper abdomen
- Feeling of fullness
- Feeling of heartburn
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Bloating of the stomach
- Abdominal spasms
- Fluctuation in the glucose level
The symptoms resemble other disorders, but if these symptoms continue for a long time, it is better to consult a physician.
The most common cause of this condition is diabetes. High sugar level in the blood causes chemical changes in the nerves and damages the blood vessels of the body. Since this condition delays the process of digestion, the food remains undigested in the system and leads to the rise in the blood sugar levels. It can also be caused due to stomach surgery or viral infection. There are medications that can cause this condition too, like anticholinergics and narcotics that lead to the slow contractions of the intestinal muscles. It is also caused by muscle disorders such as amyloidosis or scleroderma, and also due to nervous diseases like abdominal migraine or Parkinson’s disease. Most of the time the cause of this disease is unknown and cannot be discovered even after medical tests.
The treatment of this condition varies depending on the age, health, and tolerance to a certain medicine by the patient. The past medical reports are also checked and taken into consideration. Here are some methods of treatment:
- Medication like botulinum toxin, which is supposed to treat this condition is directly injected into the pyloric sphincter. However, before going for this treatment, it is always better to check the simpler methods like prescribing liquid meals and avoiding high fiber and fatty foods, which are difficult to digest.
- Surgery also is an option when the other methods fail to have any considerable effect. In this treatment, a tube is inserted in the intestine. This tube carries liquid nutrition to the small intestine, so that the body can absorb the nutrition directly.
- The method of parenteral nutrition is also adopted at times in which the nutrients are directly put into the bloodstream of the patients and the digestive system is not involved in the process at all.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.