How We Can Help
Gastroparesis Treatment Information
Treatment options for gastroparesis include:
- Dietary changes. Adjusting your eating habits can help you control the symptoms of gastroparesis. We work with you to design a diet that gives you the nutrients you need while helping you stay as comfortable and active as possible. A common recommendation is to have six small meals per day while avoiding foods that are high in fat or fiber. Sticking to nutrition drinks (such as Ensure or Boost), pudding and pureed foods can be helpful when you have gastroparesis symptoms. If vomiting and other symptoms cause dehydration, you may need to receive intravenous (IV) fluids.
- Medicine. Several medicines are available to improve emptying of the stomach and reduce gastroparesis symptoms. Drugs that promote muscle activity in the stomach include erythromycin and metoclopramide. These medicines are available in tablet, liquid and IV forms. Certain other medicines, such as promethazine and prochlorperazine, can help control nausea and vomiting.
- Gastric electrical stimulation. This treatment uses a device to deliver mild electrical pulses to the stomach muscles. Gastric electrical stimulation may help if your nausea and vomiting have not improved with dietary changes and medicine. A surgeon places the stimulator (gastric pacemaker) under the skin of the abdomen and two lead wires connect it to the stomach muscles. You receive general anesthesia, and this procedure generally takes one to three hours. In many cases, the surgery can be done as a minimally invasive procedure, meaning you need only a small skin incision. You may need to stay in the hospital for one to five days after surgery. We fine-tune the stimulator at repeat office visits to reduce your symptoms. For some patients, we perform a temporary version of gastric electrical stimulation in which the leads in the stomach connect to the stimulator via a wire that runs up the esophagus and out the nostril. We electrically stimulate the stomach muscles for approximately a week to see whether the treatment works for you before we perform surgery. We are one of only a few centers in the country offering temporary gastric electrical stimulation for both children and adults.
- Surgery. If other treatments do not work and your symptoms are severe, surgery may be an option. A procedure called jejunostomy involves placing a tube through the abdominal wall through which you receive a liquid food mixture. The tube connects to the small intestine, allowing nutrition to bypass the stomach. This treatment is sometimes temporary. Several other surgical procedures are available in rare cases. They include pyloroplasty (a procedure to make a larger opening at the bottom of the stomach) and gastrectomy (removal of the stomach).
- Parenteral nutrition. This treatment delivers nutrition directly into the bloodstream in cases of severe gastroparesis. You receive a fluid containing glucose, vitamins, minerals and all other substances that you need. The liquid enters your body through a catheter placed in a vein in your chest, bypassing your digestive tract. Parenteral nutrition is often a temporary treatment to help you recover after a period of dehydration and malnutrition, but it can also be a long-term therapy.
- Diabetes management. If you have gastroparesis related to diabetes, your physician may recommend adjusting the way you manage your blood sugar. Possible changes include taking insulin more often, using a different type of insulin and taking insulin after meals, rather than before.
Gastroparesis Locations & Physicians
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Gastroparesis Support Services
Visit these websites to learn more about gastroparesis:
A Sampling of Gastroparesis Support Services
American College of Gastroenterology
The website of this professional organization includes a patient education and resource center with information about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of gastroparesis.
Gastroparesis Patient Association for Cures and Treatments
This patient-focused group provides gastroparesis education and patient stories about others living with the disease.
Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
This institute lets you to search for Indiana clinical research studies in which you might be able to participate.
International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
This nonprofit group provides information and support to people affected by gastroparesis and other gastrointestinal conditions.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
This U.S. government website contains easy-to-understand explanations of gastroparesis and many other digestive conditions.