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Do I have gastroparesis?

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#1
Hilly

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I have been suffering from stomach/digestion problems for the past 5 years. It started immediately after my son was born (by c-section). Before then I neverhad any issues. For several months after my son was born, I was sick every night with sour stomach, nausea, bloating, diarrhea, I have vomited only two or three times from it. After I was able to empty my bowels, it subsided. Since then, I only have bouts of it...it's not an everyday thing, and not usually severe.

I never talked to my doctor about it...I actually talked to my GP about it today, but he wrote it off by prescribing me an antacid. I haven't really been under good medical care since I was with a pediatric endo. I have just recently been doing some research into it, and it sounds a lot like gatroparesis, although it doesn't seem to be as severe as what others have. Does this condition begin gradually, and worsen over time? Mine has seemed to have gotten better, comparedto when my son was first born. Can I reverse it? Also, I've read that it can sometimes be caused by damage done during surgery, and I'm wondering if it was the c-section that caused it, as I had some complications with my c-section.

If anyone has gastroparesis, can you please tell me what your experience was with it, and how you treat it.

#2
dgz924s

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Yes I believe I am the "Poster Child of Gastric Paresis"...lol There is really only one way to determine this condition and that is a gastric emptying test, not the technical terminology but close enough. The test involves fasting at first then before the test starts you will eat something that is mixed or coated in an radioactive isotope, in my case a egg. Don't be alarmed by this as it is safe but is needed to see the food empty the stomach. Once you eat you will sit for a half hour then jump on a table to take the first set of pictures then go sit for another half hour or so then take more pictures, this process will go on and take over 2 hours total. Once done the Radiologist will determine thr rate of digestion and advise the doctor. The rate is based on the amount of time foods should empty which is 2 hours. what portion is still in the stomach is measured to determine the rate.

Now is it reversable. In some minor cases it can be, atleast to the extent it is not an issue but in cases such as mine it is permanent. So in general it most likely is going to be an issue for life.

The best way to control is diet and excellent BG control. Once my BG goes too high my digestion slows down too much and the suffering begins. Also the foods eaten are a major player, for example if I eat a banana I am going to be sick for a long time, this one food is figuratively speaking, deadly. High fiber, acidic and other hard to digest foods also cause the symptoms to rise its ugly head.

Here is a list of foods I cannot eat just to give you a starting point so you can go through the process of elimination in your case.

As stated, bananas
Tomatoes and sauces based on tomato
Potatoes, except I can eat instant and chips all others are really deadly
Vegetables, especially corn
Apples
Any unprocessed meat such as steak or pork but ham, sausage and ground beef are ok
Nutmeats such as peanuts and pecans, sunflower seeds..... cashews, almonds however do not seem to bother me

As you can see there is not much I can eat but I do ok and for all the pain and suffering I experience I am more than willing to give these foods up!

But do not dispair, you may not have issues with the same foods. So I will give you my bit of history on my fight then you can see where you fall in, in comparison, once you get the test done.

It started at age 22, I began to feel sick just as you have. It progressed from there. I was Dx'd as T1 at 26 so the issue was due to being an undiagnosed diabetic from a early/young age. For 5 years I would vomit everyday and went to see a Gastroenterologist, GP, neither could diagnose the problem. They put me on antacids, Reglan and a few other meds to no help, in fact the Reglan made the problem worse and antacids only helped the sour stomach. This went on for for over a decade and a half when I was at the end of my rope. I was so desperate to find an answer/cure I began reading up on diabetic complication and came across Gastric paresis and felt this was my issue so I asked the clinic to see a Internal Medicine doctor and they asked a few questions as to why but in the end they allowed me to see one. I explained to the Internist my problem and he simply said it sure was a logical, my reason I felt I had Gastric Paresis, so he said he could run a test to determine that. So I did the test and after, later that day he called and told me I was correct in my self diagnosis. Good for my ego but did not cure what ailed me!lol.....I tested at a rate of 77% loss of motility, meaning only 23% of the egg I ate had passed post 2 hours. I suffer an acute stage of this condition so life is very hard at times to manage it but I do. Since then I was told to really watch my BG levels and everything I ate be recorded so I could determine what foods caused any illness.

Today, after over twenty years of sufferage, I rarely suffer any illness and my BG control is second to none. Albeit I am a skinny guy I am healthy and full of energy and have lived the last 5 years free from illness. But rest assured if I were to go off the "wagon" so to speak this condition will rise once again! There is no cure, no drug or wave a magic wand to make it go away. The only way to control it is eating what does not bother you and REALLY keeping the BG in check!!!

#3
aiah23

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I was diagnosed with gastroparesis in Dec 2007. I can understand your frustration. I've noticed (with pregnancy and now) that I don't have the severe problems I used to have. I ended up doing better, overall, when I made most of my own food at home (from scratch), cooked the veggies I ate (roasting and steaming help) and avoiding certain foods (I can't tolerate broccoli, oranges, and I became lactose intolerant around the same time of my diagnosis). I miss eating large salads and snacking on lots of fresh fruit (I could handle the blood sugar spike by bolusing heavily before those foods in the past) but not anymore. I can tolerate small portions of berries, small portions of fresh spinach or fresh tomatoes, and I snack every day on sliced cucumbers with hummus (I peel the cucumber and scoop out the seeds before eating). It takes a while to figure out what works and what doesn't. I've found I can eat more meat now but there were a couple of years where I wouldn't conceive of eating a steak b/c I'd battle blood sugars around 300-400 (fasting) b/c my digestion slowed down too much. I also found out that if I stopped eating after a set time period (prior to pregnancy this was 8p) that I digested food much better over night and my fasting blood sugars were more in-line. I did the gastric emptying test for diagnosis and prior to that they ran a full spectrum of tests (gastroenterologist did full analysis with fecal tests, barium swallow, etc). I avoided reglan except for a handful of times b/c I knew another person with gastroparesis (no known cause for him) who'd taken it for a year and a half and the poor guy shakes like he has Parkinson's (and he's a musician at church so you can imagine how hard this makes things for him). Reglan should never be taken for more than 12 weeks at a time. My diabetes educator who prescribed it to me said take it only for special treats (e.g. a birthday steak, etc) to help me digest heavier dinners. I've had reglan just once in the last year, and it was given to me to help with nausea just prior to my c-section (May). Additionally, gastoparesis has only made me throw up a handful of times but the nausea was horrific for most of 2008-2009. I threw up more during the early part of my pregnancy than those two years. So not everyone ends up vomitting from it. Hope this helps!

Fawn
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Sleep deprived first time mommy working full time! :eek:
A1C: 6.7 as of 04/28/12

#4
Hilly

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Mine, if I do have gastroparesis, does not seem to be very severe...is it possible to have just a mild case? It bothers me, MAYBE a couple times a month at the most. I haven't noticed any real patterns with my eating. I am a vegetarian, and I eat LOTS of fruit and veggies, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds. It seems to flare up if I overeat or eat a lot of heavy foods, particularly dairy and cheese...store-bought pizza tends to kill my stomach as it is usually loaded with cheese. Oh yes, and I HAVE noticed that it flares up if my bloodsugars are high!

I have had this problem for the past 5 years, and other than right after my first child was born, I can't say that it has been debilitating, mostly just an annoyance. I also found it became worse during my last trimester of pregnancy with my second child...I wonder if it was because the size of the baby, pushing on my organs. I have just been thinking about it lately, and started to question if it was associated with diabetes, because I have been trying to get my health taken care of...which has beendifficult with a GP who does not seem to take my heath seriously. I have recently moved, and have only been seeing this doctor for about a year. He does not think it'snecessary to refer me to an endocrinologist! Yet, he has offered no real help for me either. So, I am searching for another doctor...oh the joys of the Canadian medicalsystem, I actually sometimes wish we had private healthcare!

Other than gastroparesis, does anyone have any other complications resulting from diabetes? Just wondering if I should expect things to go "down-hill from here" or if having gastroparesis automatically means I will develop other retinopathy problems.

#5
dgz924s

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I cannot offer any help on pregnancy being a male but rest assured I am researching for any relevant info. Mine did start out as more of a mild case but my life style and lack of control of my glucose levels made it progress into a more severe case. Based on your issues with dairy products I wonder if perhaps you may have a lactose intolerance issue instead, something to look into and can be done without seeing a doctor or running tests, just simply eliminate all dairy from your diet and see how it plays out. And yes heavy meals can cause a "flare up" regardless of the foods involved so it is just another detail to attend to avoid illness.

In regards to your GP not feeling a Endo is needed, I cannot fathom but maybe the GP is well versed in diabetic management or feels confident in his/her knowledge of the disease. Most likely, IMHO, is the structure of the health care system proceedures, adding a specialist adds to the cost of care.

In regards to any other complications that may arise....YES...anything can come about if the glucose levels go uncontrolled, usually over a long period of time, but rest assured they can and will develop. Retinopathy is an eye complication and one of the first to affect us but Neuropathy I believe is what you meant and yes there are various forms of it, Retinopathy just one of them. Gastric Paresis is AKA Gastric Neuropathy.

So if you keep your BG levels in safe zone and run a1c's below, for the sake of arguement, say 6.0, you can live a complication free life. I say 6.0 but that maybe plus or minus a few tenths.

You can eliminate all your fears by simply keeping those BG levels in a good range over the long haul!

#6
Scratch

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Digestive problems like those might also be symptoms of gluten intolerance or celiac sprue.
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#7
crashandburn

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Bg control is so much harder with Gastro, i think its one of the worst things to have if you have diabetes because it basically throws your sugar out of whack you could do everything right and still not have normal blood sugars because for me i cant really predict when the digestion will take place and the sugar/glucose will affect my body

I also have Dawn phenomenon which makes it 10 times worse

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#8
aiah23

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Bg control is so much harder with Gastro, i think its one of the worst things to have if you have diabetes because it basically throws your sugar out of whack you could do everything right and still not have normal blood sugars because for me i cant really predict when the digestion will take place and the sugar/glucose will affect my body

I also have Dawn phenomenon which makes it 10 times worse


I feel your frustration. My Dawn phenomenon is back with a vengeance and a later dinner or one that's more protein/fat heavy really screws with things!

Fawn
Novolog and Levemir, MDI
Sleep deprived first time mommy working full time! :eek:
A1C: 6.7 as of 04/28/12




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