On the daily, I get all kinds of questions about Gastroparesis, so I thought it might be a good idea to gather them all together into a Gastroparesis Frequently Asked Questions blog for you to be able to reference anytime. When necessary, I will update the questions, or add a part 2, 3, etc. on.
So, let’s get started with some of the basics.
1. What exactly is Gastroparesis?
I have discussed this in another blog, that you can read here. However, quickly, it’s a nerve condition that affects the stomach muscles and prevents proper stomach emptying.
2. How do you get tested for Gastroparesis?
It might take a little bit to get the test for GP, because the doctors typically go through a slew of other tests for digestive dysfunction, but if you have ruled out everything and want the test, then advocate for yourself and ask for it. What they do is give you a meal to eat, and then you lay down on a table as a machine watches how you digest and how long. It can take up to 4 hours laying there, depending on what your doctor wants/needs.
3. Is Gastroparesis progressive?
GP can get worse, but that doesn’t mean it will and it doesn’t happen to all of those who get it. Some say no matter what you do to treat it, it could still get worse, but that depends on the treatment.
4. Will it ever go away?
Technically, it will never go away, however, don’t fear. GP can go into remission and stay dormant for the rest of your life, and then it can flare up at any point. It all depends on how far into the condition you are and how hard you are willing to work to turn the corner to getting better.
5. Is Gastroparesis genetic? Can I pass it to my children?
As of right now, it does not look like it’s hereditary. However, there is an exception to this, in regards to autoimmune diseases. The AID that runs in families can lead to GP, therefore, making GP genetic. Note that means you are mostly passing down the autoimmune disease.
6. How bad can Gastroparesis get?
I should preface all of this by saying, you don’t technically die *from* Gastroparesis, but there have been a few who have died because of the side effects from the condition. Gastroparesis, left untreated, can lead to being on a feeding tube, a pacemaker in your stomach, extreme malnutrition, hair loss, etc. You can avoid all of this by treating it properly.
7. What is the treatment for Gastroparesis?
Building on the last question, there are “technical treatments” given by 99% of doctors out there. I have met very few people who have felt better with any of these treatments.
The current treatment includes a type of prokinetic medication to encourage stomach contractions. These medications are Domperidone or Reglan. Reglan is a dangerous medication that can affect the central nervous system. Domperidone is very difficult to get in the US.
If bad enough, it will lead to a feeding tube or a gastric stimulator (pacemaker) in the stomach.
These are some of the main, more basic, questions for now. In a later post or in an update to this one, I will answer more of nitty gritty questions that come in!
If you have any questions you would like answered, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] to get those answered!