Gastroparesis is a medical term for the condition marked by the remaining of the food in the gastrointestinal tract for a longer period of time than it is normal. In healthy people, the vagus nerve has the role to control the movement of the stomach muscles, which move the ingested food through the small intestine with constant contractions. When this nerve is damaged, gastroparesis occurs. The stomach muscles, as well as intestines, cannot function properly and the ingested food either moves slowly or stops moving. Thus, the absorption of the nutrients and defecation of undigested food is impaired. Furthermore, the blood sugar increases.
Causes of gastroparesis
Gastroparesis can be caused by several factors. Depending on the cause, it can be transient or chronic. As already mentioned above, the main cause of this condition in the majority of cases is the malfunctioning of the vagus nerve. This nerve does not only participate in the digestion process, but it also controls the heart rate.
Furthermore, gastroparesis may be induced by excessive eating, bulimia and anorexia nervosa. It is also considered that this condition may be caused by certain treatments of caner, as well as by certain medicines. Diabetes, as well as Parkinson's disease and fibromyalgia, are some of the medical condition that may lead to the occurrence of gastroparesis. Moreover, the abdominal surgery and acute viral infection may also be potential causes for the incidence of this gastrointestinal disorder. Gastroparesis can also be idiopathic and here the cause cannot be established even after several diagnostic tests.
Treatment of gastroparesis
People who suffer from this condition may experience nausea and vomiting, as well as heartburn and stomach cramping. In addition to these symptoms, bloating and distension of the abdominal muscles may appear. Furthermore, loss of the weight and constant fatigue may also occur. Gastroparesis may also cause gastroesophageal reflux and hyperglycemia or high blood sugar in some people.
When the symptoms of this condition are noticed, it is important to visit a doctor in order to avoid certain complications that may arise from the untreated gastroparesis, such as hyperglycemia and malnutrition, for example. First of all, the people with this condition should make some changes in their diet. They should avoid fatty foods, as well as foods high in fiber. The doctors usually prescribe certain medications, such as Erythromycin, Metoclopramide, Cisapride and Domperidone and for diabetic people they prescribe insulin dosage. In severe cases, gastric neurostimulator implants are necessary in order to treat gastroparesis.