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Can You Treat Gastroparesis Naturally?

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Gastroparesis is an uncomfortable disorder that occurs when your stomach muscles malfunction, causing symptoms ranging from nausea and pain to malnutrition and even fluctuating sugar levels. When your stomach muscles refuse to do their job right, and you’re left feeling nauseous and uncomfortable, simple quick-fix natural remedies are all you crave for. If you’re someone with gastroparesis and have been told you'll need to deal with bouts that come and go, Ayurveda, yoga, acupuncture, and naturopathy can offer some respite.

When your stomach muscles refuse to do their job right, and you’re left feeling nauseous and uncomfortable, simple quick-fix natural remedies are all you crave for. If you’re someone with gastroparesis and have been told you’ll need to simply deal with bouts that come and go, Ayurveda, naturopathy, acupuncture, and yoga can offer some respite.

Gastroparesis is an uncomfortable disorder that occurs when your stomach muscles malfunction, causing symptoms ranging from nausea and pain to malnutrition and even fluctuating sugar levels. Common among diabetics, this is a disorder that is hugely influenced by what you eat and drink. Which is why natural remedies become especially important if you have the condition.

What Causes Gastroparesis?

According to medical experts, gastroparesis usually occurs as a result of vagus nerve damage brought on by glucose levels that are constantly very high. The vagus nerve helps regulate muscular movement in the stomach, causing food to move along. This usually only happens if you aren’t managing your diabetes properly. For the diabetics that develop this condition, “stomach paralysis” as some call it, normal digestive function is hindered. Nervous system ailments like Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease as well as surgery of the intestine or a bariatric (weight loss) surgery may also result in gastroparesis. The use of medication like antidepressants and opioid painkillers could also cause the onset of this problem.1

Eating Right

Your first line of defense when it comes to managing the condition is to get your diet in order. Experts say that this is most beneficial for anyone with a grade 1 or milder version of the problem, but the right food becomes vital in the mix of treatments given to someone with severe gastroparesis of grades 2 or 3. Here are some simple steps to take around what you eat.2

  • Check for foods you are intolerant to and eliminate those from your diet.
  • Cut down on how much you eat at each meal. Instead, eat smaller meals.
  • Be sure to chew properly before you swallow.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially while eating to help aid movement through the digestive system.
  • Don’t lie down immediately after you eat.
  • Avoid taking in insoluble fiber (whole grains, dark leafy vegetables, fruits etc.) that can’t be digested by the body. While this helps with constipation, it is counterproductive with gastroparesis.
  • Avoid fatty foods.
  • Ensure your daily nutrient intake is met through a mineral and vitamin supplement.

Get Ginger In Your Diet

Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine have always taught us that ginger is a great digestive aid and remedy. Besides easing nausea and discomfort when you’re experiencing digestive trouble like gastroparesis, it can also help with gastric emptying. One study found that it helped increase antral contractions.3 A separate study confirmed that ginger could prevent slow wave gastric dysrhythmias triggered by acute hyperglycemia.4

Pineapple Juice: Liquid Gold?

Ananas comosus or pineapple, a tropical fruit that livens up a salsa, is also great to get your digestion going. Drinking its juice can help with stomach emptying by aiding digestion and bowel movements. However, what makes it especially valuable is its abundance of nutrients that can be like liquid gold when you’re unable to eat much else. The juice of a pineapple contains magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, sodium, a multitude of B vitamins, and vitamin C.5

Yoga To Control Gastroparesis

Yoga can offer you a way to relax your mind, and the exercise of doing the asanas or poses can help keep your diabetes in check. Yoga exercises can help stimulate normal function in the liver and the pancreas so that your blood sugar doesn’t suddenly spike or plummet. In doing so, you may be able to limit the triggers causing your gastroparesis. Research indicates that as many as 20 percent of all diabetics develop gastroparesis, making yoga a valuable tool in your arsenal. Abdominal pumping exercises done using special breathing techniques as part of your regimen may also help.6

Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD can also occur as a result of severe cases of gastroparesis. Researchers have found that if you practice the agnisar kriya and kapalbhati in yoga regularly alongside using your proton pump inhibitors, your symptoms should improve.7 Meditative chanting is also known to stimulate the vagus nerve and enhance its function.8

Acupuncture To Ease Symptoms

Researchers have also been exploring a wider role for acupuncture, acupressure, and transcutaneous electroacupuncture in treating gastrointestinal dysmotility. Studies on small numbers of test subjects have shown positive results, with physiological evidence of the gastrointestinal function improving and symptoms easing. The patients also self-reported an improvement in their condition after undergoing such complementary and alternative therapy.9 Acupuncture has also been found to help with blood sugar control, making it an effective therapy for treating diabetic gastroparesis.10

References   [ + ]

1.Gastroparesis, NHS UK.
2.Abell, T. L., Vr K. Bernstein, T. Cutts, Gianrico Farrugia, J. Forster, W. L. Hasler, R. W. McCallum et al. “Treatment of gastroparesis: a multidisciplinary clinical review.” Neurogastroenterology & Motility 18, no. 4 (2006): 263-283.
3.Hu, Ming-Luen, Christophan K. Rayner, Keng-Liang Wu, Seng-Kee Chuah, Wei-Chen Tai, Yeh-Pin Chou, Yi-Chun Chiu, King-Wah Chiu, and Tsung-Hui Hu. “Effect of ginger on gastric motility and symptoms of functional dyspepsia.” World J Gastroenterol 17, no. 1 (2011): 105-10.
4.Gonlachanvit, Sutep, Yen Hsueh Chen, William L. Hasler, Wei Ming Sun, and Chung Owyang. “Ginger reduces hyperglycemia-evoked gastric dysrhythmias in healthy humans: possible role of endogenous prostaglandins.” Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 307, no. 3 (2003): 1098-1103.
5.Nwankudu, On, Sn Ijioma, And C. Nwosu. “EFFECTS Of Fresh Juices Of Ananas Comosus (PINEAPPLE) And Carica Papaya (PAW Paw) On Gastro Intestinal Motility.” International Journal of General Medicine and Pharmacy ( IJGMP ). 3 (2014): 47–52.
6.Meiner, Sue E., ed. Care of Gastrointestinal Problems in the Older Adult. Springer Publishing Company, 2004.
7.Kaswala, Dharmesh, Shamik Shah, Avantika Mishra, Hardik Patel, Nishith Patel, Pravesh Sangwan, Ari Chodos, and Zamir Brelvi. “Can yoga be used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease?.” International journal of yoga 6, no. 2 (2013): 131.
8.Kalyani, Bangalore G., Ganesan Venkatasubramanian, Rashmi Arasappa, Naren P. Rao, Sunil V. Kalmady, Rishikesh V. Behere, Hariprasad Rao, Mandapati K. Vasudev, and Bangalore N. Gangadhar. “Neurohemodynamic correlates of’OM’chanting: A pilot functional magnetic resonance imaging study.” International journal of yoga 4, no. 1 (2011): 3.
9.Sallam, Hanaa S., Terry A. McNearney, and Jiande DZ Chen. “Acupuncture-based modalities: novel alternative approaches in the treatment of gastrointestinal dysmotility in patients with systemic sclerosis.” Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing 10, no. 1 (2014): 44-52.
10.Wang, L. “Clinical observation on acupuncture treatment in 35 cases of diabetic gastroparesis.” Journal of traditional Chinese medicine= Chung i tsa chih ying wen pan/sponsored by All-China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine 24, no. 3 (2004): 163-165.
CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.

CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.