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Things that help Gastroparesis
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Things that help Gastroparesis

I just wanted to share a few things that I found help me deal with gastroparesis (I was diagnosed in July 2011) I was greatly helped by finding a few posts where people shared what they could eat and what they did, which gave me direction for where to start and what to try.  I have learned that it is different for everyone--you just have to figure out what works for you.

Things I can eat:
Non-fat dairy--yogurt, skim milk cheeses, skim milk (chocolate milk mixes add vitamins and calories, so does Carnation Instant Breakfast--much MUCH cheaper than Ensure meal replacement drinks!)
Cream soups (cream of mushroom, mostly)
Potatoes, potato soup, mashed potatoes with gravy, baked potatoes with non-fat sour cream
Clam chowder--Progresso works fine!
Meal replacement drinks and shakes
Energy drinks
Rice, rice crackers
Avacadoes/Guacamole
Baked chips (potato, rice, corn)
Clear broths, with rice
Salads, minus proteins such as hard boiled eggs, bacon, no onions
Shrimp, white fish
Rice cereal with skim milk (such as Rice Chex)
Corn cereals with skim milk (such as Corn Chex)
I can actually also handle fried foods fairly well, such as french fries, tater tots, and fried fish.  In moderation.
I can handle serious protein shakes (such as the Advocare shakes)--which give me an incredible amount of protein and valuable vitamins. But not every day. These are very filling, though, and have been helpful.

Things that bother my stomach the most:
Coffee :-(
Chocolate :-(
Eggs
Tuna
Chicken
Red Meat
Fiber
Wheat/Gluten--breads in any form
Tomato Sauces

Things that help:
Papaya enzyme tablets (I chew 6-8 at a time before and after eating). I carry a bottle of these with me, and buy them in bulk.
Lots of water, or vitamin/energy drinks
Hot baths relax the muscles around my stomach to allow it to relax and start contracting
Lying down when I feel especially nauseated/crampy and relaxing until I hear my stomach start to move
Acupuncture--got me through my worst spells. Johns Hopkins lists this as one of the top 3 alternative treatments--and it works.
Moving more does not work for me--many sites recommend walking or moving to help the stomach contents move through. The opposite is true for me. When I am too active, I just get more tense and feel worse. It is only when I lie down and relax (or relax in a bath) that I hear that stomach gurgle and know that the food has started moving through.  I wish movement worked, though! I have six children (ages 0-17) that I homeschool. Relaxing is hard to fit in!

I have not yet tried Swedish bitters (on order).  I am going to try Chammomile Tea, as it seems things that help me relax help my stomach do its job better.  Ginger (also reported by Johns Hopkins to be one of the top three effective alternative treatments) makes me worse. I don't touch it. But I guess it works for some people.

When I was first diagnosed, I had lost 20 pounds in 3 weeks, and ended up on IV nutrition with a stomach tube to keep my stomach empty so it could recover. I was also 7 months pregnant at the time.  It was determined that my gastroparesis is the result of stomach nerve damage that occurred during a splenectomy-- in 2010 where the surgeon accidentally knicked a hole in my stomach and then had to re-operate to repair it.  My symptoms went away completely for about two months, but they have been back since I had the baby (October 2011).  At the moment, I am losing about 1 pound a week, which is okay because I still have baby weight, and could still lose 30 or so pounds before I will need to worry about maintaining body weight. Hopefully by then, I will have it all figured out. Right now, it is still just a learning experience each day!
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Welcome to the gastroenterology community!  I'm glad you have found things that have worked!!!  I too have gastroparesis, and I am currently tube fed through a J tube and I also have a PICC line.  Let me know if you have any questions or if you would like to talk.
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Thank you so very much and God bless you in your trial.
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Update:

After a serious decline in stomach function over the past several weeks, I just re-started acupuncture treatment with amazing results. My acupuncturist explained that most Americans do not use acupuncture correctly. The best way to treat an illness with acupuncture is to get acupuncture treatments 5-6 times a week for up to 6 weeks, then maintenance treatments once a week, then finally slowing down to the needed amount of maintenance treatments (once a week to once per month).  Luckily, my acupuncturist works on barter and takes donations to cover needle costs.

This past fall, I had quit acupuncture because I was feeling perfectly well--only needing to eat with slight restraint and caution. It is difficult to willingly do an acupuncture treatment when feeling so healthy. But now I am learning to remember that acupuncture is FAR FAR FAR more comfortable than a lengthy hospital stay with an NG tube and IV nutrition!

After looking more into Chinese nutritional healing, I have decided to do a dairy-free trial--which up till now, dairy had been a main source of calories and protein for me. My acupuncturist and nutritionist are also helping me identify foods that "feed" my weak areas: stomach, spleen, kidneys, liver (yin deficiency in those areas).  My goal is to find a stable, consistent, repetitive diet that keeps me "afloat."

The acupuncture began to alleviate the stomach distress almost immediately, but I am still jaundiced--my eyes and skin are yellow, and my blood and urine is dark.

Today I pick up my Swedish Bitters to try.

Thanking God today to be home with my children and able to function well enough to care for them!
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I am starting a food diary. I have also been using sugar-free hard-candies to help alleviate temptations to eat foods I shouldn't touch--like burgers, pizza, spaghetti, breakfast burritos--many of the things I cook for my large family.
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I'm glad you found something that is helping.  However, I would recommend against sugar-free candies as many of these can cause problems.
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I too have gastroparesis.  I have been on erythromiacin for 6 months.  I just received my domperidone from Canada and will begin that medication in Feb.  I will alternate every 6 months.  I am on Zofran for the nausea.  I lost 40 pounds in 2-3 months.  Had to quit my job.  Things are better now.  I get tired very easily, no nutrition going in.  I do drink boost and make protein drinks and take vitamins.  I don't vomit which is good.  I also found an aloe vera drink for the stomacy by Lily of the Desert.  I take it twice a day and what a difference it makes.  You mix one capful with two capfuls of whatever,  I use ginger ale.  I do this in the morning before breakfast and at dinner time.  I also follow the diet my doctor gave me religiously.  I eat a lot of low fat cracker and cheese.  Good luck to all of you out there who have this disease.  
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I find with gastroparesis there are times that things seem to be better than others.  Of course, I have had to learn to eat differently.  Movement doesn't seem to assist me either.  I try not to eat after 4 p.m.  This does help me.
Since I have a feeling of fullness most of the time there isn't a problem with cravings.  I know that if I wait a half hr. the craving disappears.  Here is my concern; my stomach area feels hard when palpated and I have a lot of bloating.  What is Swedish Bitters, papaya enzymes?  If I fast liquids two days a week I find that I have more meal choices.
Dorothy 3255
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Dorothy,
Thank you for sharing. I too have found that it is so helpful if I don't eat after 4:00 p.m. By that time of day, I'm just too tired, and digesting food is too big of a job for my stomach. I have also found it helpful to just do liquid diets some days.  Swedish Bitters can be found at health food stores. My favorite are from Urban Moonshine. You can do an online search to find them. I order them off the internet.  I drink a few drops with a shot of water.  Papaya enzymes are a natural digestive enzyme, so it helps with digestion of foods. You can usually get them at any health food or vitamin store. My favorite ones are from GNC.  It is hard for me not to panic when my stomach  feels hard and bloated. I have learned that usually means I am simply backed up, so I do use Dulcolax suppositories to keep things moving, and that often helps. When things start coming out the back end, then the stomach contents kind of get 'pulled" through, it seems. You could try that and see if that helps, but you should check with your Doctor. I use Phenergan 25mg as needed to keep my stomach calm.  God bless and I pray you do well.
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Thank you for sharing. I am sorry I didn't notice your comment sooner. I have just recently heard about the Aloe Vera, so I am glad it helps you. I hope things have been going well for you and that you have been able to find the foods and medicines that work for you. God bless.
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Swedish Bitters does this aid in digestion?  I am not having a problem at this time digesting or eliminating.  Mostly I am concern with the hardness and the bloating.  I have avoided taking any medication so far since I am very drug sensitive and also a type ll diabetic.  I am on insulin which unfortunately prevents some wt. loss.  I was diagnost about a yr. ago and still learning to cope with gastroparesis.  Thanks for the information it has reassured and informed.
God Bless you also.  (He certainly does)
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I do believe Swedish Bitters aid in digestion. That is mainly why they are sold. I think their main function is to help the stomach contract, which can jumpstart the disgestive process for a paralyzed stomach--which of course is the definition of gastroparesis.  Earlier this year, I had a bad spell for a few weeks in which I was digesting so poorly that my stomach was hard and in continual pain with cramping, and my other organs were struggling, my eyes were yellow (jaundice), and my blood tests showed all sorts of abnormal numbers.  I successfully treated this by sticking religiously to my "safe foods" list and followed every meal with a shot of Swedish Bitters (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon mixed with about 2 tablespoons of water), and a shot of turmeric (the spice--one teaspoon mixed with about 2 Tablespoons of water), and 6-8 chewable papaya enzyme tablets.  My blood tests returned to normal in four weeks.  I was relieved, because the turmeric shot tastes horrible! But it is a million times better than a hospital stay with an NG tube! Nowadays, I usually add a shot of Swedish Bitters after my last meal of the day.  Sometimes I do a shot of it after other meals if it was a particularly heavy one. I really think this helps keep my stomach in good shape (along with choosing good foods as much as possible). At the first sign of stomach cramping or if I suspect I am not digesting something I have eaten, I do two things in addition to the bitters and the papaya enzyme tablets:  I add the turmeric shot, and I also use a Dulcolax suppository. I have found that getting things out the other end "pulls" the food through and keeps my digestive system from freezing up. That system has definitely worked for me.  And, thank the Lord, there are many days where everything just feels normal and I don't have to give my stomach a second thought--keeping in mind that my diet now habitually consists of "safe" foods.  I wish you the best in finding some things that help you!
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Do you mix the swedish bitters and tumeric together and then drink it?  Or do you do each thing separately?  Thank you.
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I have to say "Good God, No!" I tried that once, to be efficient. It is truly a horrid concoction. Blech, blech, blech. I take the turmeric stirred into an ounce of water or so, then "chase" it with the bitters, which is much more pleasant!
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