August brings awareness to Gastroparesis, this is a gastric motility disorder where the functions of the stomach are impaired. Our stomachs are an important part to our digestive system, and having Gastroparesis means that your stomachs muscular contractions are defective. This causes the contents inside the stomach to be emptied too slowly leading to symptoms. Symptoms can range in severity and include: bloating, nausea, vomiting, early satiety, postprandial fullness, and abdominal pain. If you have an extreme case of Gastroparesis the inability to digest foods and liquids can lead to malnutrition, weight loss, and dehydration.
You are more likely to develop Gastroparesis if you have diabetes; or if you’ve had surgery on your esophagus, stomach or small intestine, causing injury to the vagus nerve. Vagus nerve is the nerve that controls the stomach muscles and small intestine. You’re also likely to get Gastroparesis if you have had certain cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy on your chest and near your stomach area.
There are treatments that can help relieve some of the symptoms patients maybe feeling. Statistics say that more than 1.5 Million Americans suffer from severe gastroparesis, and Gastroparesis is more common in Women than men with 80% of gastroparesis sufferers being female. Gastroparesis currently has no cure, and health officials normally recommend dietary changes, medications to minimize symptoms, psychological support and frequent visits with their doctor.
For some cases, your doctor may recommend oral or nasal tube feeding—helping you get the right amount of nutrients and calories. The tube goes from either your mouth or nose, to your esophagus and stomach, to your small intestine. This by passes your stomach delivering food directly where it needs to go. If your doctor feels like you aren’t getting enough nutrients they might recommend a Jejunostomy feeding tube.
Jejunostomy feeding tube is placed into a small part of your intestine which is called the jejunum. Your doctor will create an opening called jejunostomy, in your abdominal wall. The feeding tube by passes your stomach and delivers liquid food directly into your jejunum.
Gastroparesis is a rare condition, but that does not mean people don’t live with it every day. This month we join Tatiana Caberra in her fight with Gastroparesis by bringing awareness. Tatiana met Kids Cures Foundation on a Comfort Build-a-Bag visit at Kaiser Fontata Pediatrics ward, and now she plays Snow White for other children while also battling Gastroparesis. Together we can understand Gastroparesis and even help share Awareness.