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Gastroparesis leads to delayed transmission of food from the stomach to the intestines. This is a long term condition with often no cure.
Over time this delay in food transit may lead to several complications. Malnutrition and deficiency of essential nutrients is one of the complications.
In addition as food brings about symptoms of gastroparesis including nausea and vomiting, there may be special dietary modifications that may relieve symptoms to some extent.
Diet change thus is one of the mainstays of treatment for those who suffer from gastroparesis.
It has often been seen that some foods are more difficult than others for the stomach to digest.
Some of these include:-
Food that is poorly digested can collect in the stomach. This can undergo bacterial changes and fermentation or may become hard to form a bezoar.
A bezoar is a mass of undigested matter that may cause a blockage, preventing the stomach from emptying and cause nausea, vomiting and pain.
Many people with gastroparesis can live a relatively normal life. This can be achieved by following a diet routine and avoiding certain foods.
Feeding tubes placed in the small intestine (jejunostomy) are needed in moderate to severe cases. In very severe cases nutrients may also be given as injections – parenteral nutrition.
Some of the diet advice includes:-
For a patient with gastroparesis the diet therapy involves:-
If the volume reduction fails to work, the foods can be taken as liquids. Patients with gastroparesis will often tolerate liquids even if solids are not passing well.
Liquids provide nutrients and are also absorbed and passed through the stomach quickly. Almost all liquids, even those that are high in calories, will empty from the stomach. Pureed foods are nearly liquid after mixing with saliva and stomach juices and are usually advised.
In patients with symptoms of gastroparesis liquid foods may be tried followed by thinned-down pureed foods. Some patients who experience increasing fullness as the day progresses are advised solid food for breakfast, switching to liquid meals over the rest of the day.
These are found in raw fruits, vegetables, legumes, dried beans, whole grains, bran, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, popcorn etc.
Foods associated with bezoar formation include apples, berries, legumes, oranges, brussels sprouts, coconuts, corn, green beans, sauerkraut, tomato skins, potato peels etc.
Due to the inability of the stomach to transmit food chewing of food beforehand becomes even more important.
Frequent vomiting in addition may damage the teeth as well. Dental care is thus very important
After meals the patients are advised to sit up or go for a walk to allow the food to transit from stomach to the intestines.
Medications that delay gastric emptying including Aluminum-containing antacids, narcotics, anticholinergic agents, bulk-forming agents etc. should be avoided.