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Gastroparesis Awareness Month

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Gastroparesis Awareness Month

Along with the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) Campbell County Health is taking the month of August to focus attention on important health messages about gastroparesis diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life issues. We want to help improve the understanding of this disease to help patients and families manage the condition.

What is Gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis is also called delayed gastric emptying. The term “gastric” refers to the stomach.

Normally, the stomach empties its contents in a controlled manner into the small intestines. In gastroparesis, the muscle contractions (motility) that move food along the digestive tract do not work properly and the stomach empties too slowly.

This disorder is characterized by the presence of certain long-term symptoms together with delayed stomach emptying in the absence of any observable obstruction or blockage. The delayed stomach emptying is confirmed by a test.

As more research has been done, it has become clear that this condition affects many people and can cause a wide range of symptoms with differing severity.

Causes of Gastroparesis

There are a number of things that may contribute to or cause gastroparesis. In the majority of people with gastroparesis, the cause is unknown and is termed “idiopathic.” This is the most common subset of gastroparesis. The term idiopathic simply means that there is no known cause of the disease. An average of 30% to 50% of patients with gastroparesis have a diagnosis of idiopathic gastroparesis. Some people with idiopathic gastroparesis report symptoms following a virus infection (post-infectious or post-viral gastroparesis). Although there are many potential causes of idiopathic Gastroparesis, more research is needed to verify if these are true causes or risk factors for developing GP.

Gastroparesis Symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain – dull to sharp pain in the upper stomach area that occurs inside the belly, often in the stomach or intestines.

  • Nausea – a feeling of sickness felt in the abdomen, stomach, chest, or head with feeling the need to vomit.

  • Vomiting – bringing food back up from the stomach into the mouth.

  • Early satiety – feeling full after only a small amount of food.

  • Reflux – a burning feeling in the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth and stomach.

  • Regurgitation – bringing contents up through the esophagus from the stomach.

  • Losing weight without intentionally trying to.

Gastroparesis Treatments:

The treatment for gastroparesis in an individual depends on the severity of symptoms. Treatments are aimed at managing symptoms long-term.

Treatment approaches may involve one or a combination of:

  • dietary and lifestyle measures,

  • medications, and/or

  • procedures that may include surgery, such as

    • enteral nutrition,

    • parenteral nutrition,

    • gastric electrical stimulation (Enterra), or

    • other surgical procedures

Disease management is not one-size-fits all and care should be individualized. Have you recently been diagnosed with Gastroparesis? Do you have a loved one who needs assistance? Give the Complex and Internal Medicine team at Campbell County Health a call. 307-688-3535.


Article Sources:

International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders


About Gastroparesis

  • Category: Campbell County Medical Group Complex and Internal Medicine