Gut Health and Gastroparesis

Gut problems aren’t like a cut or burn. With gut-related ailments, you often know something’s wrong, but have a limited ability to observe or self-diagnose exactly what it is. Gastroparesis is a difficult problem to diagnose, but there are ways to manage its symptoms and embrace a fuller life if you suffer from it.

What Is Gastroparesis?

Per Mayo Clinic, gastroparesis is a disease that:

  • Disrupts the normal function of the muscles in your stomach
  • Reduces the strength of muscular contractions
  • Slows down your digestive process
  • Prevents the normal emptying of your stomach contents, causing a variety of harmful symptoms

Underlying health conditions like diabetes, some medications (including opioids and antidepressants), and certain surgeries may contribute to symptoms of gastroparesis. Damage to nerves and muscles in the stomach may be a factor in your gastroparesis, and such damage may be largely permanent.

There’s no permanent cure for gastroparesis yet, but dietary changes, lifestyle changes, and treatments to improve the gut microbiome may bring relief.

What Symptoms Does Gastroparesis Produce?

When the food in your stomach gets backed up due to gastroparesis’ paralysis-like effects, the results can wreak havoc on your entire body. Per Cleveland Clinic, symptoms may include:

  • Chronic acid reflux and related heartburn
  • Regurgitating undigested food
  • Elevated blood sugar, which can lead to diabetes and other serious health issues
  • Chronic nausea
  • Feeling full after eating little
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abnormal changes in appetite

Left unaddressed, these symptoms could mushroom into greater health problems. Gastroparesis inhibits your ability to absorb essential nutrients, putting you at a heightened risk for an assortment of serious ailments. Over time, nutrient deficiencies could lead to weaker bones, heart problems, general pain, and other serious health outcomes. 

It’s crucial to address gastroparesis as early as possible after diagnosis. The gut microbiome is the place to start.

The Relationship Between Your Gut Microbiome and Gastroparesis

Whenever you have gastrointestinal (GI) complications—such as difficulty digesting food or completing normal bowel movements—you should investigate. Along with your GI professional, you might discover that your gut microbiome is the source of your digestive trouble.

Current research indicates that disruptions in your gut’s microbiome can contribute to, or directly cause, gastroparesis. Without the proper balance of bacteria (flora) in your stomach and small intestine, every aspect of your digestive health may fall into dysfunction. 

The symptoms of poor gut health, particularly in connection with gastroparesis, can be devastating to your wellbeing. Dealing with gastroparesis symptoms like pain, vomiting, and acid reflux may cause distress or even despair. Biologically, we know that poor gut health can cause anxiety, stress, and depression; over time, these can become life-threatening.

Knowing that a disrupted gut microbiome may be the origin of your gastroparesis, you must try to reinstate balance in your gut flora as you work to alleviate your gastroparesis symptoms. 

Probiotics and Other Treatments to Improve Your Gastroparesis

Mayo Clinic presents several treatment options for people with gastroparesis, including:

  • Dietary changes, with a focus on foods that are easiest for you to digest
  • Medications meant to stimulate the movement of stomach muscles
  • Medications meant to reduce gastroparesis-related vomiting and nausea
  • Surgery, which may be necessary when gastroparesis progresses to the point that the sufferer can no longer digest foods or liquids

None of these treatment options will be useful if your stomach and small intestine bacteria are out of balance.

Probiotics can be a revelation for longtime sufferers of gastrointestinal ailments, including gastroparesis. Probiotics introduce live, “good” bacteria into your gut, creating conditions that promote healthy digestion and nutrient absorption.

Many people who experience GI-related conditions like gastroparesis must start their treatment at the foundational level. By using probiotics to reset the bacterial balance in your gut, you may respond more effectively to other treatment approaches.

Resources That You Might Consider for Short- and Long-Term Gut Health

Gastroparesis can cause short-term pain, but the long-term consequences of leaving it untreated may be even greater. These long-term consequences could even threaten your life. 

You deserve as many resources as possible to better understand and treat your gastroparesis. Even if you cannot fully rid yourself of its symptoms, you may be able to mitigate them—possibly significantly—with probiotics and other courses of treatment.

For more information, consider these resources:

When it comes to overcoming gastroparesis, knowledge is power. Visit Gut to Know for even more resources to improve your gut health and your life.

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