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Living With Gastroparesis

Updated on October 12, 2011

First of all, what is gastroparesis?

Well, I'm no doctor but from my research and from what my doctors have told me, it means that a person has a paralyzed stomach. Most of the time, this is a paralyzed nerve that can cause someone to have delayed emptying of the stomach. This can cause all sorts of problems from nausea, bloating, vomiting, and weight loss. There are more problems it can cause, but these are a few. Sometimes diabetes, surgery, or certain medications can cause gastroparesis, but other times there is no known reason why this has happened.

My Story

To say the very least, my gastroparesis has been a rough thing to go through. I am 20 years old and I found out about my gastroparesis when I was 18. I had problems all through middle and high school with nausea, vomiting, bloating, upset stomach, always being sluggish and feeling horrible especially in the mornings. Needless to say, I had problems with attendance at school and keeping my grades up because when you feel so bad how can you focus on things of that sort? Well, that was my mind frame. I had been to doctors but none of them really knew what was going on. Luckily I had a job working part-time after school for a doctor so he understood I had problems and eventually he thought I should have some tests done.

I agreed to have doctor's visits and eventually I was told I should probably have an upper endoscopy. After not eating after midnight the night before for my prep, they found food in my stomach almost 12 hours after I had it! I then had more tests run and it was determined I had gastroparesis.

At that time, the only medicine that was on the market (that I'm aware) had too many risky side affects so I was forced to change my diet or continue having problems. I took classes on how to change my diet by having liquids, liquids and a few solid foods, solid foods, gluten free and eating small meals or portions. I tried all of these. Gluten free did help the bloating, but nothing else. Liquids only made me want food more. Eating SIX small meals a day was kind of worthless to me because I can't stand to eat breakfast with the way I felt and even lunch sometimes for that matter. So I felt nothing would help.

What Has Helped Me

As of today, I still suffer from gastroparesis since there is no known cure. I also recently found out suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and acute arthritis in some areas of my body. I was told in the past I have Acid Reflux too.

So you can tell me and my body don't get along too well some days. Honestly, I have found no magical cure or way to get rid of all my symptoms. Some things I have found to help me with all of these problems are just simple little things.

  • I've tried my hardest to reduce my stress and look on the positive side of things. It's better said than done, but it really has helped take off some of the "edge".
  • I eat small meals when I can. I still enjoy the things I always have, but I just take them in smaller sizes. I've also tried to reduce how much bread I eat since I always feel a bit "blah" afterwards.
  • If you must eat breakfast, try something very small. I know a lot of people feel horrible in the mornings with this. I shouldn't avoid breakfast, but if I don't I regret my choice all day.
  • Exercise when you can. This helps me feel more energized.
  • Do not eat a few hours before bedtime. This is the worst thing for me when I eat an hour or two before. I can't sleep and I'm up all night. Some days with my job, I just can't avoid eating late, but I try my best.
  • Try gluten free foods. There are a lot of them available now in just your normal grocery store. They help me with the bloating and gas.
  • Ask your doctor about diet changes. A liquid diet may help you so much!
  • Try eating softer foods. This helps me also.

I hope some of these have helped you. I still deal with gastroparesis, but it is not nearly as bad as it once was. Remember to always consult your doctor before changing your diet.

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