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is a type of nerve damage that slows digestion. High blood sugar levels from diabetes can damage nerves and tissues in your stomach. The damage prevents your stomach from emptying normally. Gastroparesis is also called delayed gastric emptying. Your symptoms may be worse if you drink alcohol or smoke.
Common signs and symptoms:
- Constipation that may be replaced, at times, by diarrhea
- High or low blood sugar levels that you cannot control
- Nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite
- Bloated or early full feeling while you eat
- Sudden cramps, swelling, or pain in your abdomen
Seek care immediately if:
- You are vomiting more severely or for a longer period than usual.
- You urinate less than usual, and your mouth is dry.
- You feel dizzy and weak, or you have fainted.
- You have severe pain in your stomach or abdomen.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your blood sugar level is higher or lower than healthcare providers have told you it should be.
- You continue to have pain and bloating in your abdomen.
- You continue to have nausea and vomiting, or you are not able to eat.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Treatment for diabetic gastroparesis
may include medicines to help your stomach muscles move food and liquids out of your stomach faster. You may also need medicines to stop nausea and vomiting. A feeding tube may need to be placed if your gastroparesis is severe.
Manage your symptoms:
- Walk after you eat. This may help speed digestion.
- Follow the meal plan that your healthcare or dietitian gave you. This meal plan can help decrease your symptoms. The following may also help you manage your symptoms:
- Eat less fat and fiber. High-fat and high-fiber foods may be hard for your stomach to digest. You may need to avoid fruits and vegetables such as oranges and broccoli.
- Eat 4 to 6 small meals a day. Smaller, more frequent meals are easier for your stomach to handle.
- Drink more liquids with your meals. Your healthcare provider may recommend liquid meals, such as soup. Liquid is easier to digest than solid food.
- Ask if you should prepare your food in a blender. Blended foods are easier to digest. Ask for directions on which foods to use and how to blend the food correctly.
- Ask about vitamins you may need and how to add them to your meals.
- Do not smoke. Nicotine can damage blood vessels, slow your digestion, and make it more difficult to manage your diabetes. Do not use e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco in place of cigarettes or to help you quit. They still contain nicotine. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help quitting.
- Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol may slow your digestion more.
- Follow your diabetes treatment plan. You may need to check your blood sugar more often. High blood sugar levels slow digestion and can make your symptoms worse.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.