We normally experience fullness after a heavy meal, but imagine having that constant dull feeling of satiety and bloating even on an empty stomach or after just a light meal! It could be rather uncomfortable and depressing to live with, right? This is what gastroparesis does to you.
What Is Gastroparesis?
Gastroparesis is delayed gastric emptying, resulting in food being retained in the stomach for an abnormally long period of time. It literally means paralysis (paresis) of the stomach.
The process of emptying food from the stomach is controlled by the peristaltic action of the gastric muscles as well as the muscular opening of the stomach into the intestine called pylorus. This most commonly presents as a complication of uncontrolled diabetes or surgical intervention that has affected the vagus nerve supplying these muscles. It can also be associated with hypothyroidism and irritable bowel diseases.
Symptoms Of Gastroparesis
Notable symptoms of gastroparesis include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fullness, bloating, acid reflux, and upper abdominal pain. In the long term, you will very likely experience weight loss, anorexia, anemia, nutritional deficiencies, and even depression.
To combat these symptoms, you need to follow a step-by-step approach to understand the nature of the problem and deal with it appropriately.1
Treating Gastroparesis Naturally
1. Diet Habits
It might seem obvious that liquids and semi-liquid gruel are the preferred choices to meet the nutritional requirement of your body. However, too much liquid might wash out your digestive enzymes. To relieve your gastric load, follow these tips:
- Cook solid food properly and chew the food well before swallowing.
- Eat small portions of food at a time and at frequent intervals.
- Eat probiotic foods like yogurt and buttermilk to aid digestion.
- Choose easily digestible foods. In other words, avoid foods such as meat salami, sausages, fried and cheesy foods, sweet items like cakes, cookies, or chocolates, nuts, tea, coffee, and aerated drinks.
- Vegetable, fruits, and grains naturally delay digestion due to their high fiber content. Hence, juice them or prepare soups to ensure adequate nutritional supply.
- Regulate the intake of baked beans, lentils, soybeans, and oats to reduce the bloating sensation.
- Eat a solid meal preferably in the first two-thirds of the day when you are physically active to assist digestion.
Following a sedentary lifestyle is a common factor in those with gastrointestinal issues. Stay a little active and keep such diseases at bay.
- Walk regularly to regulate the gastric motility, blood circulation, and even the glucose uptake by muscles, especially in diabetics.
- Avoid lying down immediately after a meal and sleeping during the day.
- Take a short walk after each meal to aid digestion.
- Yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation could have multifold benefits on a physical as well as a psychological level. They increase your pain threshold and activate the muscles and nerve centers for a general feeling of wellness.
3. Home Remedies
Include spices like turmeric, cinnamon, cumin seeds, rock salt, black salt, fennel seeds, carom seeds, and asafetida in your daily meals. This makes a huge difference by relieving the phlegm collected in the stomach and by mobilizing and digesting the ingested food. Here are some examples of the home remedies you could use:
- Add a pinch of rock salt to a ¼ spoon of ginger powder. Take this mixture with diluted lemon water or lukewarm water just before a heavy meal to stimulate digestion.
- Mix fenugreek powder (methi seeds) and cinnamon powder in equal proportion and store it in an airtight container. Mix 1 teaspoon (2 gm) of this mixture with lukewarm water and drink it on an empty stomach every morning. This will get rid of the phlegm that has deposited overnight and keep the glucose levels in check.
- Dry roast a handful of carom seeds and cumin seeds for a minute on low flame. After it cools down, grind it to a fine powder and store it in an airtight container. Add 1 teaspoon of this mixture and a pinch of black salt to a cup of buttermilk and drink regularly at lunchtime. Buttermilk improves digestion and the absorption of nutrients, whereas carom seeds relieve the bloating sensation and abdominal pain.
- Drink fruits juices made of pomegranates, pineapples, papayas, or cranberries to increase your appetite and stimulate digestion.
- Eat 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds mixed with a ½ spoon of rock sugar (avoid if diabetic) after heavy meals to aid digestion.
- Soak 1 tablespoon of black raisins in ½ cup water, cover it, and leave it overnight. Drink the water and eat the raisins the next day to promote bowel movement and relieve constipation.
- Add 1 tablespoon of pomegranate seeds to 1 cup of yogurt and enjoy it with a pinch of black salt. This is a digestive aid disguised as a delicious snack.
- Soak a handful of dried mangosteen (kokum) in 4 cups of water, cover it, and leave it overnight. The following morning, add black salt and sugar (avoid if diabetic) for taste. Bring this mixture to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Let it cool, strain it, and drink it throughout the day. It’s an appetizing and refreshing drink that relieves gastric problems like acidity, flatulence, constipation, and indigestion.
Ayurveda For Gastrointestinal Diseases
Ayurveda allays symptoms depending on the root cause when treating different health issues, including gastrointestinal diseases like indigestion (ajirna), acidity (amlapitta), or irritable bowel disease (grahani).
In general, the first step in ayurveda is to clear the undigested toxins called aama using digestive herbs like pepper and cumin seeds (called pachan). Then, herbs like asafetida, carom seeds, and nut grass (called deepan) are used to kindle the digestive fire.
Carminative formulations such as hingwashtaka churna and avipattikar churna (called anuloman) are used to facilitate the downward movement of gases. Subsequently, a mild purgative (virechana) is administered, if necessary, to alleviate constipation. Medicated enema (basti) is also used as it enhances the absorption of medicines parenterally, relieves constipation, and has multifold benefits.
A Word Of Caution
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with a certified medical or healthcare professional.
|↑1||Camilleri, Michael, Henry P. Parkman, Mehnaz A. Shafi, Thomas L. Abell, and Lauren Gerson. “Clinical guideline: management of gastroparesis.” The American journal of gastroenterology 108, no. 1 (2013): 18-37.|