Thursday, 1 December 2011

What to do if you think you have Gastroparesis #Part 2

Please click here for #Part 1

So, you went to your GP and the chances are... you came home with a bunch of pills and were told to go back if things didn't improve. This is standard practise and you mustn't feel that this is a brush off in any way. There are several medications that help improve gut motility and nausea so it's highly likely that you will try a few before you find a regime that suits you.

Remember: When they say come back.... they mean it. Doctors don't chase their patients and if they don't see you they will presume you are ok.
  • It is best to give any medication a good chance to get into your system so don't expect immediate results. 4 weeks is usually enough time to know if something is working for you or not but some medications can take longer than this.

In that time, there are many things that you can do for yourself to help minimise your symptoms. Dietary changes are a must when it comes to gastroparesis, no matter how hard we fight it! Some simple things you can try are:

  • Reduce Fat intake. Foods that are high in fat actually slow the digestive system down. However...if you are fighting to get enough calories to maintain your weight don't worry about the fat content, if you are only eating bits and bobs then go for the stuff that's going to give you the most calories in the smallest volumes.
  • Reduce Fibre intake. Fibre is hard to break down so cooking fruit and vegetables well will help you to break it down and help prevent the formation of bezoars (hard lumps of food that get stuck in the stomach). Avoid things like salad, raw fruit and veg and red meat.
  • Most dietitians will tell you to have 6 small meals a day instead of 3 larger ones
Still not working for you? The next step:
  • Puree / Liquidise everything. Liquid is much more easily processed than solid food and will empty faster.
  • Supplements are a good way of getting maximum calories from small volumes and they come in a range of flavours/ brands. They can be used as a sole source of nutrition if tolerated but I have yet to find anyone who actually enjoys them!
  • Vitamins! If your not eating, you're not getting what your body needs, so top it up with a good A-Z...the kids jelly ones are very popular!
  • Probiotics... not the stuff you buy at the supermarket in cute little bottles, you want the good stuff! The one I use is VSL#3 you can buy it over the counter at boots but you will need to ask for it because it needs to be refrigerated so won't be on display. You can also get it on prescription if you ask your doctor. It is not very well known so don't expect some of the smaller chemists to stock it. It comes in powder form so you can mix it with your supplements if you can't tolerate volume very well. 
If you have tried all these things and you are still losing weight... please don't feel alone like I did. For some of us eating at all is an impossible task. What goes in comes straight back up! If that sounds like you then be prepared for a bumpy ride and some big decisions. There are some good patient groups online like www.inspire.com where you can go and chat with other gastroparesis patients world wide...some diagnosed, some still waiting for answers. It is a great place to ask questions and get support from people who live it like you do! For those in the UK, I have created a facebook support group. You can find us at www.facebook.com/GIFTuk and www.facebook.com/groups/GIFTuk This is a closed group, only members can view posts and it won't pop up in your timeline for friends and family to see, so we can talk freely without embarrassment!

It is highly likely that at some point you will be told that it is stress related, take this into account and try to reduce the stress in your life, but please don't start to doubt yourself! You're not going mad and it does not mean that the problem isn't real...it IS! It is not all in your head and quite frankly... if you weren't stressed before... you probably are now lol.

Please Click Here for #Part 3  


5 comments:

  1. This is a helpful entry, especially the info on probiotics. I haven't been diagnosed with gastroparesis, but I have EDS II and have reason to suspect it based on my symptoms.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi yvette, I'm so glad you found it useful. If you have any questions feel free to email me at: helpmeminx@yahoo.co.uk Or you can find us at www.facebook.com/Gastroparesis.EDS

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great information Natalie you are doing a great service for those that have this problem like you, keep up the good work.mum in law xxx

    ReplyDelete
  4. Brilliant. Just to add that if you can't get hold of VSL#3 or don't get on with it, PreBio 7 is another probiotic recommended by EDS gastro doctors. You just get this in the supplements section of Boots, sadly not on prescription. It comes in quite big capsules but works really well for me most of the time.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks misspiggy that's really helpful, especially as they come in tablet form...may be easier for those of us who struggle with volume x

    ReplyDelete

Hi please post comments below, I love to hear from my readers so don't be shy X