August is gastroparesis month, and it’s a great time to learn more about this digestive condition. Many people do not realize how important our ability to break down food is until they experience problems. What do you need to know about Gastroparesis?
What Is Gastroparesis?
Gastroparesis is a weakness in the stomach muscles. This causes poor grinding of the food a person eats. Normally, food is ground into pieces by muscle contractions in the stomach. Ground up particles and liquid are gradually emptied into the small intestine. A metering process ensures that food is mixed with adequate digestive juices.
If the stomach muscles are weakened, then the contractions do not thoroughly grind food particles. Contents are not emptied into the intestine properly.
What Are the Symptoms of Gastroparesis?
Vomiting and nausea are the two main symptoms of gastroparesis. Some patients also experience bloating that may or may not come with abdominal distension. Other symptoms include:
- Feeling full too quickly after eating
- Weight loss due to reduced food intake
- Abdominal pain with no clear cause
- Blood sugar level changes
- Acid reflux
Do I Have Gastroparesis?
The cause of gastroparesis is not always obvious. Some patients develop the condition due to damage in the vagus nerve, which is responsible for controlling the stomach muscles. You could be at a higher risk if you have:
- Connective tissue disease (Scleroderma)
- Esophageal or abdominal surgery
- Nervous system disease
- An infection
If you notice any of the symptoms of Gastroparesis, you should seek medical attention. Talk to a gastroenterologist to get an accurate diagnosis.