Gastroparesis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Reviewed By Dr. Deepa Kadam

gastroparesis - livayur
Gastroparesis meaning is a gastrointestinal disorder characterized by delayed stomach emptying, resulting in various distressing symptoms. These could manifest as bloating, nausea, vomiting, postprandial fullness, early satiety, and abdominal pain. [1] To explain what gastroparesis is, the condition disrupts the normal muscular movement of the stomach muscles, impairing its ability to propel food into the small intestine. Gastroparesis can be caused by several factors, with diabetes being the most common. It can also be an outcome of surgeries, neurological conditions, eating disorders, or other underlying medical conditions. [2]

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of gastroparesis is crucial for prompt diagnosis and effective management. Various diagnostic tests, including gastric emptying scintigraphy, antroduodenal manometry, and EGG, aid in identifying the condition. Treatment strategies for gastroparesis include dietary modifications, medications to improve stomach emptying, and surgical interventions in severe cases. [2]

Treatment strategies for gastroparesis encompass dietary modifications, medications to improve stomach emptying, and in severe cases, surgical interventions. [2] Understanding the gastroparesis causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for gastroparesis is vital for individuals and healthcare professionals alike in addressing this complex gastrointestinal disorder. In this article, we will endeavor to comprehend the gastroparesis meaning, gastroparesis symptoms and gastroparesis treatment.

What are the causes of gastroparesis?

Doctors often cannot find the underlying cause of gastroparesis despite conducting several tests. However, some of the most common gastroparesis causes, are:

Diabetes:

The most common gastroparesis causes is diabetes, which can damage nerves, such as the vagus nerve and pacemaker cells, in the wall of the stomach.

Surgery:

Certain abdominal surgeries, such as those involving the stomach or vagus nerve, can lead to gastroparesis.

Neurological conditions:

Disorders that affect the nerves controlling the stomach muscles, such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis, can contribute to gastroparesis.

Medications:

Some medications, like narcotics and certain antidepressants, may interfere with stomach muscle contractions and cause gastroparesis.

Other factors:

In rare cases, viral infections, autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma, or eating disorders can result in gastroparesis. [3]

What are the symptoms of gastroparesis?

There are various gastroparesis symptoms that one should be looking out for:

Nausea and vomiting:

nausea and vomiting - gastroparesis symptoms
These are common gastroparesis symptoms and may occur shortly after eating or even hours later.

Feeling full quickly after starting a meal:

Patients may experience early satiety, feeling full after consuming only a small amount of food.

Abdominal pain:

Some individuals may have abdominal pain ranging from mild pain to severe.

Bloating:

Gastroparesis symptoms can also include bloating in the abdomen due to delayed emptying of food.

Poor appetite:

Since eating can be uncomfortable, individuals with gastroparesis may have a reduced appetite. [3]

How can gastroparesis be diagnosed?

Diagnosing gastroparesis involves a combination of medical history evaluation, physical examination, and various tests, which may include:

Gastric emptying study:

This test involves eating a meal or drinking a liquid containing a small amount of radioactive material and then tracking its movement through the digestive system using imaging techniques.

Antroduodenal manometry:

This involves the production of an integrated peristaltic wave, allowing the progression of gastric contents from the stomach to the duodenum and doctors check if there is any resistance to the gastric emptying.

Upper endoscopy:

A flexible and soft tube fitted with a camera is inserted through the mouth to examine the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.

Electrogastrography:

This test measures the electrical activity of the stomach muscles.

Blood tests:

These tests can help identify underlying causes like diabetes or hormonal imbalances. [2]

What is the treatment of gastroparesis?

Dietary modifications:

One of the main gastroparesis treatment methods is eating smaller, more frequent meals and consuming foods low in fat and fiber to help ease symptoms.

Medications:

gastroparesis treatment - gastroparesis treatment
Prokinetic medications, such as metoclopramide or domperidone, may be prescribed to improve stomach emptying.

Endoscopic treatment:

In some cases, a tube may need to be inserted into the pyloric channel for improved symptoms.

Botulinum toxin injection:

In some cases, injecting Botox into the pylorus smoothens muscle contractility and can offer temporary relief. [4]

Electrical stimulation:

Gastric electrical stimulation involves surgically implanting a medical device that emits electrical impulses. These impulses are made to reach the stomach muscles to help regulate their movement. It is an effective gastroparesis treatment.[2]

Gastroparesis Ayurvedic Cure

Ayurveda holds dosha imbalances responsible for Gastroparesis and advises one not to consume foods like soy meats, soy sauces, and urad dal that throw the doshas out of sync. Also, Ayurveda recommends a three-step cure for Gastroparesis: Panchkarma, Rasayana, and Shodhna.

Ayurvedic medicinal herbs that are highly effective for treating Gastroparesis include Haritaki, Bibhitaki, Behera, Ashwagandha, Amalaki, Pippali, and Giloy.

FAQs

  • What are some of the complications that Gastroparesis can cause?

Gastroparesis can cause multiple health complications, such as malnutrition, severe dehydration, undigested food that hardens and remains in the stomach, unpredictable blood sugar changes, and decreased quality of life.

  • What is the first-line treatment for gastroparesis?

To manage gastroparesis in its initial stages, a patient is usually recommended dietary modification, optimization of glycemic control, and hydration.

  • What deficiency is usually the cause of gastroparesis?

It has been seen that Vitamin B12 deficiency is the primary cause of gastroparesis in patients. [5]

Conclusion

Although gastroparesis is a complex gastrointestinal disorder that cannot be completely cured, several treatment options are available to manage the symptoms effectively. In this article, we have tried to explore the Gastroparesis meaning and manage the underlying cause of gastroparesis, such as optimizing diabetes control or adjusting medication regimens, which is crucial in reducing symptoms. Therefore, individuals with gastroparesis need to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a personalized Gastroparesis treatment plan. In addition, ongoing research and advancements in medical technology continue to expand our understanding of gastroparesis, offering hope for improved treatments and better outcomes for individuals affected by this condition.

Disclaimer: This article is written from a health and wellness perspective and is not medical advice. Kindly seek the help of a certified medical practitioner before initiating any treatment.

References:

  1. Gastroparesis: A turning point in understanding and treatment
  2. Gastroparesis: New insights into an old disease
  3. Symptoms & Causes of Gastroparesis
  4. Botulinum Toxin Injection for Treatment of Gastroparesis
  5. Is vitamin B12 deficiency a risk factor for gastroparesis in patients with type 2 diabetes?