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Gastroparesis, Ambulatory Care

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 the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve controls the contracting and relaxing of the stomach and pyloric muscles. These muscles move food through to your small intestines.

Common symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Feeling full sooner than normal or after eating less than usual
  • Abdominal bloating and pain

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Confusion or trouble thinking clearly
  • Faster than usual heartbeat and breathing
  • Unable to be awakened

Treatment for gastroparesis

may include medicine to control your nausea and vomiting. You may also need medicines that help food move through your stomach at a more normal rate. Nutrition support may be given as liquid supplements. You may need to eat soft foods, or a tube feeding may be placed past your stomach into your intestine. You may need to see a dietitian for help with a nutrition plan. Gastric electrical stimulation (GES) may be done when symptoms cannot be controlled by other treatments. GES sends electrical pulses to the nerves in your stomach to help food move through to your intestines. It may also help control nausea and vomiting.

Manage gastroparesis:

Your healthcare provider may suggest any of the following:

  • Chew your food well. Smaller bites of food are easier for your body to digest. You may need to eat several, small, low-fat, low-fiber meals throughout the day.
  • Avoid raw fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These can cause you to have undigested food in your stomach. The undigested food can form into a blockage that can become life-threatening.
  • Drink liquids as directed. 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.

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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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