Gastroparesis is a condition in which food takes longer than normal, more than 4 hours after eating to be exact, to empty from the stomach to the small intestine. This may lead to uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, nausea/vomiting, feeling full very quickly, belching, and upper abdominal pain.
There are many causes of gastroparesis including diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and certain medications such as some blood pressure pills and antidepressants. Marijuana, which is sometimes prescribed for nausea symptoms, can actually cause extreme vomiting in some patients. Sometimes, this disease is idiopathic meaning there is no identifiable cause.
Several tests exist to identify the presence of gastroparesis, most commonly a solid gastric emptying study or the Smartpill. Both of these evaluate how quickly food leaves your stomach. A solid gastric emptying study is a nuclear medicine test which would be done in a hospital or outpatient testing facility, while the Smartpill can be done easily in our office.
Treatment of gastroparesis can be difficult as there isn’t a cure. There are some dietary changes that can be helpful in improving symptoms. Unfortunately, gastroapresis is a chronic disease and the therapy options available are to hopefully diminish symptoms and improve overall quality of life.
Sound familiar? If you are interested in learning more about gastroparesis, being tested for delayed gastric emptying, or interested in treatment options, please contact us.