Gastroparesis | Treatment

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How is gastroparesis treated?

There is no cure for gastroparesis. Treatment will focus on treating any underlying problem that is causing the gastroparesis and controlling your symptoms. For example, your doctor may ask you to stop taking any drugs that can affect the digestive system. Don’t stop any medicine without first talking to your doctor. Your doctor also may want to treat any eating disorders, infections or other issues that could be causing gastroparesis.

Your doctor might also recommend one or more of the following:

Dietary changes. Since you might not be able to eat normally, it’s very important to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients. You may need to:

  • Eat several smaller meals each day instead of 2 or 3 large ones.
  • Eat softer foods, such as vegetables or pasta that are cooked thoroughly.
  • Limit fat (which can slow digestion) and fiber (which can be hard to digest).
  • Supplement your diet with nutrition drinks (such as Ensure or Boost) or solid food that you’ve pureed in a blender.

Medicine. Anti-nausea medicines called antiemetics can help with nausea and vomiting. Some other medicines, such as metoclopramide and erythromycin, can stimulate stomach muscle contractions. Each of these drugs has some drawbacks, including potentially serious side effects. You and your doctor need to discuss whether the benefits of taking these medicines outweigh the risks.

Feeding tube. If your gastroparesis is severe, you may need a feeding tube. This tube will be inserted through your skin into your small intestine. Or, it may be passed into your intestines through your nose or mouth. The tube allows nutrients to be delivered directly to your bloodstream. A feeding tube can also help when gastroparesis causes unstable blood sugar levels in people who have diabetes.

Source

Gastrointestinal Complications of Diabetes by Amer Shakil, MD, Robert J. Church, MD, and Shobha S. Rao, MD (American Family Physician June 15, 2008, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20080615/1697.html)

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 10/09

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