Gastroparesis - Describe Your Experience

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What is gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis means weakness of the muscles of the stomach. Gastroparesis results in slow emptying of food from the stomach into the small intestine.

The stomach is a hollow organ composed primarily of muscle. Solid food that has been swallowed is stored in the stomach while it is ground into tiny pieces by the constant churning generated by rhythmic contractions of the stomach's muscles. Since smaller particles are digested better in the small intestine than larger particles, only food that has been ground into small particles is emptied from the stomach. Liquid food does not require grinding.

The ground solid and liquid food is emptied from the stomach into the small intestine slowly in a metered fashion. The metering process allows the emptied food to be well-mixed with the digestive juices of the small intestine, pancreas, and liver (bile) and to be absorbed well from the intestine. The metering process by which solid and liquid foods are emptied from the stomach is a result of a combination of relaxation of the muscle in parts of the stomach designed to accommodate food, and the pressure generated by the muscle in other parts of the stomach that pushes the food into the small intestine. (Thus, the stomach can store and empty food at the same time.) The metering also is controlled by the opening and closing of the pylorus, the muscular opening of the stomach into the small intestine.

When the contractions of the stomach's muscles are weakened, food is not thoroughly ground and does not empty into the intestine normally. Since the muscular actions whereby solid food and liquid food are emptied from the stomach are slightly different, the emptying of solids and liquids follows different time courses, and there may be slow emptying of solid food (most common), solid and liquid food (less common), or liquid food alone (least common).

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Comment from: Suzi, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 20

I've had and endoscopy and stomach emptying test along with sonograms, biliary scan and blood work. Felt like I was having a heart attack! I have a gall bladder stone and I was just diagnosed with gastroparesis. I am on 40 mg of Prilosec and hyoscyamine. I've had hiatal hernia and GERD for 30 years. I just lost 30 lbs in the past two months. I eat very small meals and no more junk food. A friend just turned me on to some natural herbal things. I've started two days ago and it is helping more than the medical tablets. Fifteen minutes before any meal I open a capsule of slippery elm into 4 oz of filtered or spring water and let it set for few minutes. I then chew a tablet called DGL (licorice root) and drink the water with slippery elm. I get it from any good health food store. I have to tell you it is really helping! My friend swears by it and said after three weeks she's off her stomach medications! I"m going to continue!

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Comment from: SVH105, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: April 11

I have just been diagnosed with gastroparesis and I"m a type 2 diabetic. According to the test results it took 90 minutes to empty 22% of the egg into the small intestine leaving 78% still in my stomach. That seems to me that eating six small meals a day I will never empty my stomach. As it is right now I cannot eat breakfast until about 10:00 AM, (usually one scrambled egg) and I"m not ready to eat again until 7:00 PM and that would be a small bowl of soup. I have a call into my endocrinologist I"m just waiting to hear back from him.

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