Gastroparesis is a chronic (continual) stomach disorder affecting your ability to digest and empty out food. Normally, your stomach muscles contract to push food out. But when you have gastroparesis, your stomach muscles are weakened and not able to contract properly. If food is in your stomach for too long, it can cause bacteria overgrowth, blockage, bloating, and nausea. If left untreated, gastroparesis can cause life-threatening health issues.
Although symptoms may vary, typical signs and symptoms of gastroparesis include:
- A feeling of fullness after eating just a few bitesAbdominal bloatingAbdominal painChanges in blood sugar levelsConstipationHeartburn or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)Lack of appetiteNauseaVomitingWeight loss and malnutrition
A blood test can check your blood counts and measure your chemical and electrolyte (mineral) levels.
Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Series
This checks your esophagus, stomach, and the first part of your small intestine. You will swallow a metallic fluid called barium to make your organs visible on X-ray.
Upper Endoscopy or EGD (Esophagogastroduodenoscopy)
In this test, your GI doctor looks at the lining or inside of your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine using a thin, lighted tube that has a camera on one end (endoscope). We place the tube into your esophagus through your mouth.
Radioisotope Gastric Emptying Scan
This test measures how quickly food leaves your stomach. You will eat food containing a mildly radioactive substance, or radioisotope, that will show up on a scan. The amount of radiation is very small. It is not harmful, but it lets the radiologist see the food in your stomach during the scan.
This test checks the muscle movement in your stomach and small intestine. A thin tube is passed down your throat into your stomach. This procedure helps show how your stomach is working and if your digestion is slower than normal.
Scintigraphic Gastric Accommodation
This test measures your stomach contents before and after a meal. It also checks how well your stomach relaxes after you eat food.
Barium Beefsteak Meal
During this test, you eat a meal containing barium, allowing the radiologist to watch the stomach as it digests the meal. The amount of time it takes for the barium meal to be digested and leave the stomach gives the GI doctor an idea of how well the stomach is working and helps to detect emptying problems that may not show up on the liquid barium X-ray.
Endoscopy or Ultrasound
Occasionally, we may also perform an endoscopy or ultrasound to rule out other digestive conditions.
Your GI doctor may prescribe oral (by mouth) medications to help control the symptoms of your gastroparesis.
You may need to eat six, smaller meals a day rather than three larger meals. You may need to eat a few liquid meals each day. You should avoid fatty and high-fiber foods, as these can slow your digestion.
In this procedure, your GI doctor inserts a feeding tube through the skin of your abdomen into your small intestine, allowing nutrients to enter directly into your small intestine instead of your stomach.
Gastric Neurotransmitter Surgery
In this procedure, your GI doctor puts a device in your body that may help control any upset stomach or vomiting.
Gastric peroral endoscopy myotomy (G-POEM)
G-POEM is a minimally invasive procedure for opening the pylorus. Sylvester is one of the few centers in Florida offering the G-POEM procedure, which facilitates the emptying of the stomach contents and so alleviates symptoms.
Also known as intravenous (IV) feeding, this allows nutrients to go directly into your veins, instead of eating and having food first pass through your digestive system.
Why Choose UHealth?
A motility lab for accurate diagnosis of GI conditions. The only facility of its kind in South Florida, our motility lab enables our GI specialists to provide accurate diagnoses of GI conditions more quickly and efficiently. We offer a variety of leading-edge services, such as hydrogen breath testing, anal-rectal manometry, and bio-feedback.
A broad array of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Regardless of your age, condition, or whether you need long- or short-term digestive treatments, you will receive the most accurate diagnosis and most effective treatment to keep your stomach, digestive system, and organs healthy.
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