MILWAUKEE, Aug. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Gastroparesis is a chronic medical condition in which symptoms occur and the stomach empties too slowly. It can significantly impair the health and well-being of those affected. Although it is estimated that up to five million people in the United States have gastroparesis, many remain undiagnosed.
A doctor can identify gastroparesis based on symptoms and a test to confirm the slow stomach emptying. The symptoms usually happen during or after eating a meal and typically include:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Dry heaves
- Stomach fullness after a normal sized meal
- Early fullness and inability to finish a meal
Other symptoms such as bloating, stomach pain, and weight loss due to decreased appetite may also occur. Dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, or malnutrition may develop. Hospitalizations sometimes result.
Gastroparesis affects people of all ages, but usually strikes adults. Often the cause is unknown; however, it can also occur as a complication of other diseases, such as long-standing diabetes, surgeries involving the esophagus or upper abdomen, or taking certain medications.
"Various symptoms typical of gastroparesis can also sometimes be seen in other medical conditions," said Nancy Norton, president and founder of the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD). "Your doctor can help sort this out. Once your physician has made a confident diagnosis, you can focus together on developing a treatment plan."
Treatments of gastroparesis are aimed at preventing and managing symptoms and may involve one or a combination of approaches. Dietary and lifestyle measures alone may be enough for milder symptoms. Medications that stimulate stomach emptying or reduce nausea and vomiting may be added if needed. Additional procedures, sometimes including surgery, may be considered in the most severe cases.
During August Gastroparesis Awareness Month, IFFGD encourages individuals, health professionals, and educators to draw attention to the condition in order to help people affected find needed care.
IFFGD is a nonprofit education and research organization. Additional information about gastroparesis and other chronic digestive disorders is available on IFFGD's websites at www.aboutGastroparesis.org or at www.iffgd.org.
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SOURCE International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD)