Gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying) is a disease state caused by partial paralysis of the stomach. The BMCC serves as an integrated gastroparesis treatment and resource center, and we offer a full array of diagnostic and therapeutic options.
Do I Have Gastroparesis?
Gastroparesis is manifested by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, feeling full quickly after starting a meal, severe heartburn, and loss of appetite leading to weight loss. Diagnostic testing such as endoscopy (EGD), cat scans (CT) or a swallow study (UGI) may suggest gastroparesis and eliminate other possible causes for your symptoms. The diagnosis will then be confirmed using a nuclear medicine gastric emptying study.
There is currently no cure, but treatment for gastroparesis can be very effective*.
What Causes Gastroparesis?
The number one cause for gastroparesis is diabetes. Diabetes causes nerve damage to the stomach. Over time, this leads to paralysis and dysfunction. However, gastroparesis can be caused by a variety of other factors as well.
- Anti-reflux surgery is the most common surgical cause
- Vagotomy (used to treat gastric ulcers) can result in gastroparesis due to nerve damage
- Heart transplants
- Lung transplants
- Neurological diseases
- Connective tissue disorders
- Medications (such as narcotics and pain relievers)
- Long-standing pancreatitis
- Malignancies and paraneoplastic syndromes
- Nerve damage
- Stem cell transplants
- Long-standing IV nutritional support without the ability to eat
- Kidney failure
However, often gastroparesis is idiopathic. This means that no clear causation may be apparent even after thorough investigation.
What Are My Treatment Options For Gastroparesis?
Symptoms can often be controlled using a variety of methods. Often these gastroparesis treatment methods are most effective in combination*.
First line therapies:
- Optimizing blood sugar control (if diabetic)
- Dietary changes, such as smaller meals with less fiber
- Medications (pro-kinetics, anti-emetics, and ant-acids)
When first-line non-surgical gastroparesis treatments are unable to successfully control symptoms, surgical interventions may be needed to treat refractory gastroparesis*:
- Gastric Pacemaker: electrical signals are delivered to the stomach to pace it to attempt restoration of normal function. This involves implanting a surgical device to deliver these signals. It can work well for gastroparesis that is caused by nerve injury or damage, such as from diabetes*.
- Gastrectomy: subtotal gastrectomy or sleeve gastrectomy surgery works very well by removing diseased and non-functional stomach tissue*. This procedure is performed laparoscopically and can significantly reduce nausea and vomiting, and improve quality of life*.
- Gastric Bypass: this involves bypassing the defunctionalized portion of the stomach to promote more rapid emptying. Not only can this treat gastroparesis, but the gastric bypass can also cure type 2 diabetes*.
If you think you may have gastroparesis, make an appointment with our expert team today.