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Gastroparesis - Topic Overview

How is it treated?

You can make changes to your lifestyle to help relieve your symptoms of gastroparesis. Here are some things to try:

  • Change your eating habits:
    • It's best to eat several small meals instead of two or three large meals. You may want to replace some solid meals with liquids (such as soup).
    • After you eat, wait 2 to 3 hours before you lie down.
    • Eat meals that are low in fiber and fat.
    • Relax before you start eating, and then eat slowly.
  • If you have diabetes, it's a good idea to:
    • Carry a quick-sugar food that is absorbed in your mouth instead of your stomach (such as glucose tabs, gels, or hard candy) in case you need to treat low blood sugar.
    • Find out if being active speeds up your digestion or slows it down. Having gastroparesis can cause unpredictable changes in blood sugar. The more you know about how your body responds, the better you'll be able to control your diabetes.

If you need help making changes to your diet, ask your doctor or a dietitian for help.

There are also medicines that can help with gastroparesis, including:

  • Medicine to help with nausea and vomiting (antiemetics), such as prochlorperazine, trimethobenzamide (Tigan), or promethazine.
  • Medicine to help the stomach empty more quickly (motility agents), such as metoclopramide (for example, Reglan), domperidone (available in Mexico, Europe, and Canada), or erythromycin.

Changes to diet and medicines help most people who have gastroparesis. If that doesn't work, your doctor may have to try something else. At first, you may need to try a different medicine or take more than one medicine. Other treatments that have been tried for severe gastroparesis include:

  • Surgery to place a feeding tube in the small intestine.
  • Injections of botulinum toxin (Botox) into your pylorus (the pylorus separates the stomach from the intestines). There is no good evidence that botulinum toxin helps gastroparesis, and it is not used often.
  • Implanting a gastric electric stimulator that can make your stomach work faster. There is no good evidence that this surgery works to help gastroparesis. It is not done very often.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 19, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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