Gastroparesis + Big Stomach Problems
We have chatted this month about various aspects of diabetes since it is Diabetes Awareness Month. And as you know, the bottom line if you have diabetes is to obtain good control of your glucose levels in order to minimize physical side effects that can occur. One problem, and it is a little unusual – well, at least different from the more common side effects of diabetes-related blindness or kidney or feet problems – is a problem with the emptying of the stomach, called gastroparesis.
Symptoms of gastroparesis:
filling up quickly when eating (can’t eat as much as you used to eat), and
nausea, pain and bloating right after eating. It is all very uncomfortable.
Why does gastroparesis happen? The stomach does not work as well, probably from nerve damage (neuropathy) that often comes with diabetes. Food stays in the stomach longer than normal, and it can often still be in the stomach by the next meal.
If you think this is a problem, talk to your doctor. You might be referred to a gastroenterologist for an assessment, which may include a gastric emptying test. Then, dietary changes are important. You may be referred to a Registered Dietitian (like me) to learn how to make food adjustments.
Common dietary adjustments that can help with digestion and reduce symptoms:
very small meals and snacks,
LESS fiber - yes, LESS fiber
soft cooked foods.
In other words, small amounts of easier-to-digest foods helps to take the stress off of the stomach.