Guest Author - Arrow Durfee
Gastroparesis, the delayed emptying of the stomach, is a serious contition that can be life threatening either acutely or over time through malnutriton and eventually starvation. This condition is generally caused by damage to the vagus nerve which provides neurotransmitter signals to the smooth muscles of the stomach to create parastaltic motility of the stomach as well as the whole digestive system. Without the wave like motions of the peristalic muscles, food does not move down the alimentary canal and becomes logged in the stomach or intestines. Sometimes this food hardens and causes great pain and obstruction. Other times it ferments. Paralysis of the stomach can be partial, complete or intermittant.
The symtpoms of gastroparesis is gas and bloating, heart burn, nausea, vomiting, high and low blood sugars, abdominal pain, early signs of fullness when eating, malnutrion, hypothyroidism, metabolic disorders, and severe gut dysbiosis that may lead to other symtpoms such as badbreath, allergies, skin rashes. lethargy and fatigue.
Although diabetes is the most common cause this condition it can also be caused by surgery, viral infection, radiation treatment over the abdomen, chemotherapy , neuromuscular diseases, scleroderma and other autoimmune diseases and cancer. Common drug therapies may also cause this condition such as narcotics, antidepressants and calcium channel blockers. Generally when the drugs are removed the conditon passes. It can also be found in those with bolemia and anexorsa nervosa.
Conventional medicine has no cure for this condition. There are several medications that can help. Reglan and erythromycin both stimulate the perastaltic action but both drugs have signficant side effects with long term use. Reglan causes tardive dyskenisia and agitation over time. With erythromycin long term use is not viable as resistance to the medicaiton develops. In foreign countries a drug called domperidome is use that avoids the above noted side effects of reglan but it can stimulate lactation and it is not approved by the FDA for use in the United States. It can be found in Mexico and some european countries. More recently, inplanted electodes to stimulate contractions of smooth muscle in the stomach have shown limited results.
There is some hope to be found in alternative medicine. If the vagus nerve still has some function classical homeopathy and acupuncture can sometimes cure the conditon. Seek a well trained classical homeopath or an acupuncturist that is also an Oriental Medical Doctor.