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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See what others are saying

Comment from: Rose, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 22

I have been diagnosed in 2013 with gastroparesis. When I landed in the emergency room, I went in weighing 97 lb. I take about 30 prescriptions a day, I have had the Botox injection, all kinds of medications, and even the Medtronic Enterra stimulator all in 2013. I gained 30 lb. due to the medicines that I have been taking. Well, here we are in 2016 and I still struggle with gastroparesis. My illness is in control of my life. I cannot go out of the house, my home is my safe haven. I do not know when I will have an overwhelming nausea that literally makes me faint, or vomiting. I have gone 8 days without any bowel movement; that is also called a blockage, bezoar is the medical word if I am not mistaken. I am not allowed to drive due to my medical condition. The diarrhea that I get without warning! All of this is from my gastroparesis. I surely need a good support group. I would love to talk to a person that knows exactly what I am feeling and my concerns.

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Comment from: Mikes wife, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 16

I was diagnosed with gastroparesis in March of 2016. I am taking Domperidone and while it helps with digestion and bowel movements, it isn't helping much with belly pain. I've lost 40 lb so far, but want to figure out how to stop the pain. Antacids don't do much and I've read that if you take too many they can cause more problems. I see my gastrointestinal specialist at the end of the month, but would be interested in knowing how others deal with it.

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