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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Gastroparesis is a condition that causes food to move more slowly than normal from the stomach to the intestines. Gastroparesis is not caused by blockage. Often, the cause may not be known. It may be caused by damage to a nerve that controls muscles used to move food to your small intestines.
You or someone else should call 911 if:
- Your heart is beating faster and you are breathing faster than usual.
- You cannot be woken up.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You are confused or have trouble thinking clearly.
- You are dizzy or very drowsy.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You are urinating less than usual.
- Your symptoms return or become worse.
- The color of your urine is dark yellow.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Medicines may be given to control your nausea and vomiting. You may also receive medicines that help food move through your stomach at a more normal rate.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
You may need tests to check if treatment is working. You may need to see a dietitian for help with a nutrition plan. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Your healthcare provider may suggest any of the following:
- Change your eating habits. Take small bites of food to make it easier for your body to digest. You may need to eat several small meals low in fiber and fat throughout the day. Ask your dietitian for help with planning your meals.
- Do not eat raw fruits, vegetables, or whole grains. These can cause you to have undigested food in your stomach. The undigested food can form a blockage that can become life-threatening.
- Drink liquids as directed. Liquids will prevent dehydration caused by vomiting. Slowly drink small amounts of liquids at a time. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day, and which liquids are best for you. You may also need to drink an oral rehydration solution (ORS). An ORS has the right amounts of sugar, salt, and minerals in water to replace body fluids.
- Do not lie down for 2 hours after your meals. Walking and sitting after meals help with digestion.
- Control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. High blood sugar levels may make your symptoms worse. Ask your healthcare provider how to control your blood sugar levels.
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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.