6 Proven Ways To Lose Weight With Gastroparesis Without Stress

Have you noticed that some people feel full even after snacking? They tend to feel bloated and uncomfortable after intake a minimum amount of food. This is a symptom that a person is facing difficulties digesting everyday food. 

Medically this condition is known as gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is characterized as a disease that occurs due to impaired motility of the gastrointestinal tube. The stomach fails to empty itself in a usual way. As a result, a person feels bloated and full after intake of a small amount of food. 

This situation can lead to unwanted weight gain. And I will disclose how to lose weight with gastroparesis in six easy ways in this article.  

how to lose weight with gastroparesis
Image by Satheesh Sankaran from Pixabay

Causes of Gastroparesis

The main reason for gastroparesis is paralysis of the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve helps the muscle of the stomach contract causing the food to move forward in the gastrointestinal tract. Due to paralysis of this nerve, the stomach muscle fails to contract, and the food cannot reach the small intestine. This causes indigestion that leads to the abdomen feeling bloated, nausea, vomiting, etc.

Besides muscle paralysis, there are a few other reasons for which gastroparesis might occur. These are:

  • Surgery of the abdominal tract or gastrointestinal tract with injury to the vagus nerve.
  • Viral infections
  • Intake of medications such as anti-depressants and narcotics.
  • Deposition of protein fibers in tissues and organs of the body. This is known as amyloidosis.
  • Scleroderma is a disease characterized by connective tissue disorder. This affects the skin, skeletal muscles, blood vessels, and internal organs.

Symptoms of gastroparesis

The symptoms of gastroparesis are given below:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux:  The food in the stomach tends to go back up through the esophagus. This leads to vomiting.
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting the food content of stomach or undigested food
  • Feeling full very quickly while eating 
  • Abdominal bloating 
  • Abdominal pain due to failure of digestion of food.
  • Reduced appetite
  • Failure to control blood sugar level

When a person sees these symptoms, then they should immediately consult a physician for treatment. Proper medication and maintenance can treat the patient. Sometimes surgical interventions may be needed.

Gaining Weight in gastroparesis

Due to the symptoms of gastroparesis, it is mainly assumed that a person suffering from this disease may face weight loss. But, that is not always the case. This varies from person to person. The causes of gastroparesis help one to denote if they are going to gain or lose weight. However, weight gain does not determine the severity of gastroparesis. The causes of weight gain in gastroparesis are as follows:

Hypothyroidism

If gastroparesis occurs due to a thyroid gland disorder, then an individual may face weight gain.  Hypothyroidism causes weight gain. So, a person suffering from gastroparesis and hypothyroidism will gain weight despite a small intake of food. 

Don’t get too stressed about how to lose weight with gastroparesis. The solutions are right away. 

Diet of an individual

If you have gastroparesis but gain weight, then your regular diet or metabolism is the reason behind it. For example, a person who diets regularly or has gained and lost weight frequently throughout their life, their body is adapted to receive the small number of calories taken by them. As a result, even though they take a small amount of food, all of it is used and causes them to gain weight.

Liquid Diet

As a gastroparesis patient fails to digest solid food, they are advised to take liquid food materials. Liquid diet includes milk products, fruit juice, fruit smoothie, vegetable juice, fruit purees, blenderized fruits, meal replacement shakes for gastroparesis such as milkshakes and fruit shakes, etc. These liquid foods contain a high amount of calories. As all of it is digested and is the primary energy source and nutrients, a person gains weight.

Gastroparesis Diet

The main aim of a gastroparesis diet is to include food that provides the body with a sufficient amount of energy and nutrients, but at the same time, it is easy to chew, swallow and digest. There are a few stages of the gastroparesis diet. These are given below: 

Diet stage-1: Liquid Diet

Liquid diet includes the supplement on liquid food substances such as milk products, fruit juice, vegetable juice, food purees, milkshakes, fruit smoothie, etc., that consists of a small amount of fat and fibers but adequate nutrition and calorie required for the body. 

Here, solid meals are replaced with a liquid diet that contains the same amount of nutrients. This diet also has plenty of water and fluid to prevent dehydration.

Diet stage-2: Limited Diet

Your diet should supply a small amount of food with high nutritional value. This food should contain low fat and high nutritional value. 

It should be supplied along with a liquid diet. Intake of this nutritious food in small amounts will provide the required energy and prevent weight gain. 

Diet stage-3: Maintenance of Diet

Alongside stage-2, one should try to maintain the quality food they are taking. One should take fibrous food in a small amount. This food should be cooked properly so that they are soft and easy to digest. This will help to prevent the creation of blockage by food bolus in the stomach.

How To Lose Weight With Gastroparesis in 6 Ways? 

Maintenance Of Diet

A person suffering from gastroparesis has digestion difficulties. So, one should try to maintain a specific type of diet, including soft and low-carb food, to prevent weight gain. 

Replacement Of Solid Meals With Liquid Diet

One should try to avoid intake of solid foods as their body is failing to digest that properly. They should replace this solid food with liquid food that contains equal amounts of nutrition.

exercise is a way how to lose weight with gastroparesis
Image by Przemysław Trojan from Pixabay

Intake Of A Small Amount Of Food In A Short Interval Of Time

An individual is advised to take a small amount of food repeatedly in a short interval of time instead of taking a large meal at a time. This makes it easier for the body to digest the food. 

Regular Gentle Physical Exercise

One should try to do regular gentle physical exercises such as walking and jogging. This will keep a person healthy and prevent excessive weight gain.

Drinking Sufficient Water

Drinking water helps to fasten the process of digestion by moving the food in the gut. So, one should try to maintain drinking at least 2 liters of water daily.

Take Medications Properly 

One should take the medications prescribed by the doctor regularly on time. This will help to treat the disease and reduce complications.

Complications of Gastroparesis 

Gastroparesis is a disease that can be treated or kept under control with proper medication and lifestyle modification. But, it may cause various types of complications along the way. It may cause permanent damage to our body if not treated on time. The difficulties that a person suffering from gastroparesis may face are given below:

In gastroparesis, the gut fails to empty itself on time. That is, the food remains in the stomach for a longer time than usual. If the food stays in the stomach for too long, then fermentation may occur. This may cause an infestation of bacteria leading to various problems.  

As the food stays in the stomach for too long, it may get hardened and cause blockage. Due to this blockage, the food fails to pass into the small intestine from the stomach. Digestion will not take place properly due to this complication.  Before figuring out how to lose weight with gastroparesis, it is better to consult with a doctor if you face any of these difficulties. 

A person who suffers from both gastroparesis and diabetes may face more complications than usual. There is a rise in blood glucose levels when the food finally moves from the stomach to the small intestine. It becomes hard to maintain the normal range of blood sugar levels for diabetic people during this time.

One may face dehydration that is extreme thirst.

Malnutrition may occur as the body fails to receive the adequate amount of calories or energy required for daily function. Even if the person takes a sufficient amount of food, the person cannot derive the necessary amount of nutrients due to the inability to digest the food. As the system cannot break down the food into smaller digestible particles, enough nutrition is not supplied to the body resulting in malnutrition.

Diagnosis of Gastroparesis

Early diagnosis and treatment of gastroparesis will help to reduce the chances of complications occurring. A person might go back to a completely healthy state if they are diagnosed and treated correctly. 

The physician will go through your medical history and will know about your symptoms in detail. Then they will give you blood tests and tests for blood sugar levels. This will primarily diagnose the disease.

A test is done to determine the time required for the stomach to empty itself. This test is known as a four hours solid gastric emptying study. A physician will take you to a separate room and provide you food mixed with radioactive isotopes. The radioactive isotopes will help capture the food’s image in the gastrointestinal system and note its progress. 

After an individual takes the meal, a one-minute image of their stomach is captured. Then, they will be allowed to leave the department. They will be told to return in an interval of one, two, and three hours. Every time the doctor will capture an image of the stomach to check the progress of the food passage from the stomach to the small intestine.

Another test is done that is the intake of a smart pill. The smart pill moves along the digestive tract showing the passage of food. The route of the pill can lead you to how to lose weight with gastroparesis with ease. 

FAQ

Can you gain weight if you have gastroparesis?

In gastroparesis, there is delayed emptying of the gut. This results in abdominal bloating, nausea, vomiting, feeling fullness after eating less amount, abdominal pain, acid reflux, etc. Despite nausea, vomiting, and intake of less food, there might be an increase in weight due to intake of liquid calories. Gut motility is impaired in gastroparesis. As a result, the solid food that an individual takes cannot be broken down for proper digestion.

To treat this and provide the necessary calories required for the body, liquid foods are given to an individual. Liquid calories, such as soft drinks, milkshakes, iced tea, fruit smoothie, orange juice, etc., can be tolerated by an individual suffering from gastroparesis quickly. These have high calorie and sugar content. So, weight gain may occur due to gastroparesis.

Image by Total Shape from Pixabay

How much weight do you lose with gastroparesis?

A person suffering from gastroparesis has to take food that is easily digestible and contains adequate calories required for the body. One has to focus on eating a small amount of low-fat content, easy to chew, easy to digest but will provide sufficient energy. 

Like any healthy diet, these foods will help you figure out how to lose weight with gastroparesis. 

Usually, one is advised to take food that contains a high amount of protein and vegetables that are easy to digest. A patient with gastroparesis is recommended to eat egg, peanut butter, fruit juice, fruit purees, vegetable juice, bananas, bread, etc.

Due to this low intake of fat and calories for easy digestion of food, one may lose weight. This also causes stress, lethargy, fatigue, drowsiness, lack of energy to work, etc. As a result, a person becomes weak and loses a noticeable amount of weight.

What is the best diet for gastroparesis?

The diet that is advised to an individual with gastroparesis must contain food that is easy to chew, swallow and digest. A patient with gastroparesis has a hard time digesting fatty food, food with high fiber content, etc. As the gastric motility of an individual is deceased, one should eat food in a small amount with high nutrition or calorie. 

One can eat a small amount of food but in less time. They should altogether avoid foods that contain a high amount of fat and fiber. Food that is easy to chew and swallow is more suitable. 

A person with gastroparesis should include the following in their diet:

  • Cereals
  • Bread
  • Fruit puree
  • Crackers
  • Beverages
  • Vegetable juice
  • Fruit juice
  • Blenderized fruits and vegetables
  • Milk products

How do you calm down gastroparesis?

The most effective way of treating gastroparesis is modifying lifestyle. One should try to lead a healthy life by maintaining a modified diet and regular physical exercise. One should try to calm down gastroparesis in the following way:

  • Eat food that contains low fat and fiber
  • Eat food that is easy to chew and swallow
  • Eat numerous small meals than one large meal
  • You should cook foods in an easily digestible way. For example, food should be cooked softly, boiled properly, etc.
  • Try to avoid alcohol
  • To drink plenty of water or fluids that contain glucose and electrolytes, such as oral rehydration saline (ORS),  Low fiber fruit and vegetable juice, and Clear soup and broths
  • Try to take part in gentle physical exercises such as walking, jogging, etc.
  • Try to avoid lying down immediately after taking a meal.
  • Take required daily supplements of vitamins.

Conclusion 

Gastroparesis has become a concern of many people these days. Many people become depressed due to weight gain resulting from this disease and seek treatment. 

However, how to lose weight with gastroparesis is not a challenging task at all. Counselling and group discussion is an excellent way to take a step towards the objective. Besides, maintaining a balanced diet, following the six ways to lose weight with gastroparesis, and drinking plenty of water will help you lose weight with gastroparesis. 

I am a dedicated medical student of Armed Forces Medical College, Bangladesh, and interested in the vast evolutions of medical science and have chosen it as a passion over the profession. I want to pursue a specialization in Oncology- an area of medicine that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Communicating with people about everyday health issues is something I enjoy and consider my responsibility as a health professional. And I believe writing out ideas is the best way to express them while engaging with others.

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