Treating gastroparesis calls for a holistic approach that incorporates medication, therapy, and changes in diet and eating habits. The gastroparesis specialists at Temple Health work closely with a team of specialists to create a plan that addresses your symptoms, brings you relief and helps you lead a healthy, active life.
Establishing a healthy diet and smart eating habits is an important step in managing gastroparesis. Simple changes can help move food through the intestines and be easier on your stomach, including:
- Eat small meals more frequently.
- Chew food thoroughly.
- Stay upright for one hour after eating.
- Eat well-cooked foods.
- Avoid raw and fibrous fruits and vegetables.
- Choose lean protein, including chicken and turkey, instead of high-fat meats.
- Eat low-fat foods.
- Eat soups and pureed food.
- Avoid tobacco, alcohol and carbonated drinks.
Oral medication can help relieve symptoms associated with gastroparesis, such as nausea and vomiting, and stimulate muscles. Your gastroenterologist will discuss which medication is right for you to help you find relief and manage your condition.
Enterra® Therapy is an innovative gastroparesis treatment that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when conventional treatment approaches have failed.
The device, called a gastric electric stimulator, uses a mild electrical pulse to encourage the stomach muscles to contract. It is placed on the wall of the stomach during a minimally invasive procedure. You will be under general anesthesia, and the procedure can take one to three hours.
The device, once implanted, works similar to a pacemaker. Your gastroenterologist controls the stimulator and can adjust it accordingly to make the stomach function properly. You will need regular follow up after surgery to ensure the device is working properly and delivering desired results.
Other surgical approaches for gastroparesis include:
- Decompressive gastrostomy tube – A small incision is made in the abdomen and a thin tube is placed into the stomach. This gastrostomy tube (g-tube) allows fluids to drain out of the stomach, vent air and administer medicine.
- Jejunostomy – A jejunostomy creates a small opening from the outside of the abdomen to the part of the small intestine. A jejunostomy tube (j-tube) can be placed through the opening and used to provide important nutrients in severe cases of gastroparesis.
- Pyloroplasty – A pyloroplasty can widen the opening of the lower stomach to help move food more quickly and easily through the small intestine.