Gastroparesis

What Is Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis is a condition that impairs regular spontaneous movement of the stomach muscles, resulting in an inability for the stomach to empty itself of food in a normal fashion.  A normal digestive tract uses the spontaneous stomach muscle movement to push food through the digestive tract.  A person with Gastroparesis cannot do this efficiently, and this can interfere with normal digestion.  While there is no cure for this condition, it is very possible to relieve pain or manage the condition by making dietary changes and using other natural remedies. 

Signs Of Gastroparesis

When the stomach cannot properly empty itself of food, it is very easy to experience digestive discomfort, including vomiting and nausea.  Common signs and symptoms of Gastroparesis include:

  • Feeling full (after only eating a few bites of food)
  • Acid reflux
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss and malnutrition
  • Abdominal pain
  • Changes in blood sugar levels
What Causes Gastroparesis

While Gastroparesis is a common condition in people who have had diabetes for a long time, diabetes is not the cause of Gastroparesis.  Health experts are not always aware of how Gastroparesis develops, but most cases are caused by damage to the vagus nerve, which controls the stomach muscles.  In a healthy, normal person, the vagus nerve contracts the stomach muscles to move food through the digestive tract.  In a person with Gastroparesis, the vagus nerve is damaged and the stomach muscles don't work properly.  This causes food to remain in the stomach.  Possible causes are listed below:

  • Viral infections
  • Diabetes
  • Certain medications (such as antidepressants and narcotics)
  • Gastric surgery (that injures the vagus nerve)
  • Amyloidosis (deposits of protein fibers in tissues and organs)
  • Scleroderma (a connective tissue disorder)
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • Blood sugar levels are commonly affected by the condition, and yoga is an excellent way to help stimulate normal pancreas and liver function.  If your blood sugar levels spike or drop, you can experience Gastroparesis symptoms.  
  • Engage in breathing and abdominal pumping exercises to help control Gastroparesis pain.  Place one hand on your belly and the other hand on your chest.  Focus on your breath, inhaling deeply and slowly through the nose and exhaling through the nose.  During your breaths be sure to engage the diaphragm and expel all the air out. 
  • Avoid high-fat foods if you have Gastroparesis.  According to Arnold Wald, MD, limiting your fat intake to 40 grams per day is a great way to manage symptoms.  Focus on healthy fats from nuts, seeds, nut butters, and certain oils (coconut, olive, avocado, or walnut oils), as opposed to consuming processed animal fats like ribs, chuck roasts, and burgers. 
  • When it comes to eating food, it is integral to listen to your body if you have Gastroparesis.  This will determine how frequently you eat.  Some patients find that they benefit from several small meals throughout the day, while others benefit from consuming one or two meals each day.  The intermittent fasting allows the body time to digest food and it also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. 
  • Pure aloe vera juice is excellent to consume to regulate bowels and digestion.  Because it is a natural laxative, it can help relieve stomach bloating, abdominal pain, or other forms of digestive discomfort.  Consume one cup of fresh aloe vera juice every morning before a bowel movement.  You can make one cup of aloe vera juice by mixing two tablespoons of fresh aloe gel with one cup of water in a blender. 
  • Both acupressure and acupuncture use specific trigger points to help align the body's energy.  Acupressure uses pressure while acupuncture uses needles.  Some studies have found that people who receive either of these therapies experience relief from digestive discomfort or bloating.  Two areas of focus are PC6 (located on the wrist) and ST26 (front of the leg under the kneecap). 
  • It's always important to adjust your diet when dealing with a digestive condition.  Each person will need to determine what foods work for him/her and consulting a dietitian can also be beneficial during this endeavor.  Pay attention to what foods aggravate the system and what foods help you out.  Some people follow a FODMAP diet, but this won't work for everyone.  For fresh fruits and vegetables, it is best to blend them into smoothie form. 
Things you should eat
  • Coconut Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Aloe Vera
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Peaches
  • Wild Rice
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Steel Cut Oats


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