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Treating Gastroparesis

by Kathryn Feigenbaum, RN, MSN, CDE

Potential side effects, though rare, may include infection, unwanted movement of the device, a hole in gastrointestinal tract, an undesirable change in stimulation (due to movement of the electrodes, for example), bleeding, bruising, pain at the site of an electrode, allergic reaction, pneumonia, and dehydration.

Botox. Injections of Botulinum toxin (Botox) at the connection between the stomach and small intestine have recently been used to increase the emptying of food from the stomach. This method works because the muscle that controls the opening of the stomach into the small intestine, when injected with Botox, becomes paralyzed by the Botox and allows food to pass through continuously.

Experimental treatments. One treatment for gastroparesis that is currently under investigation is the use of nitric oxide to normalize the movements of the gastrointestinal tract. Acupressure therapy is also being considered as a way to relieve the nausea, vomiting, and bloating that can be caused by gastroparesis.

Getting help
People who have gastroparesis should speak to their health-care team about creating a treatment plan that best fits their individual needs. Keeping a logbook with records of blood glucose levels, meal times and amounts, symptoms, exercise times and amounts, and medicine doses and schedules can help the health-care team make adjustments in the medical plan and also help the person with gastroparesis make daily decisions about his insulin and carbohydrate needs. Coping with gastroparesis can be frustrating, but it is important to remember that blood glucose monitoring, a balanced diet, and regular exercise can all help to treat this condition.

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