What the heck is gastroparesis?

Today’s topic will be about a functional gut disorder called gastroparesis.  In short, this is a condition in which the stomach is very slow to empty.  Typically, strong muscular contractions push food through your digestive tract. In gastroparesis, the muscles in the wall of your stomach work poorly.  This inhibits food from being emptied adequately. Gastroparesis can lead to nausea, vomiting, fluctuations in blood sugar and contribute to poor nutrition.

Typically, the test to determine if someone has delayed stomach emptying is called a gastric emptying test.  For additional info on gastroparesis and testing, WebMD has a great overview here. I have worked with quite a few patients that have both IBS-C and gastroparesis.  There is also an overlap of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIB0) in patients with a diagnosis of gastroparesis–so discuss this possible relationship with your gastroenterologist to see if you should have testing for SIBO.

One of my favorite educators on this topic is Crystal Saltrelli.  Crystal is a Certified Health Coach, speaker, and author  that helps people worldwide learn to live WELL with gastroparesis. She’s a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and the author of Eating for Gastroparesis and Living (Well!) with Gastroparesis. Diagnosed with idiopathic gastroparesis herself at age 23, Crystal is living WELL in western NY with her husband and their two-year old daughter, Lilianna.  I was fortunate to meet Crystal this summer as we both joined the Digestive Health Alliance to lobby congress for more funding for research for functional gut disorders such as IBS and gastroparesis.kate and crystalThe DHA is the grassroots arm of the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD).  IFFGD is a great resource for accurate digestive health information, support, and assistance about functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders.  While writing this post and adding proper links to sites, I noticed a photo of the group I lobbied Congress with is on the  the front page of DHA’s website.  How cool is that?!  IFFGD just published some great info on gastroparesis in their DigestiveHealth Matters newsletter.  I joined IFFGD to receive their informative newsletter and learn about great breaking new research but also to support  their efforts to help people with functional gut disorders.

Here are a few take-a-ways that I think people with functional gut disorders should know about gastroparesis:

  • Symptoms of gastroparesis include: nausea, vomiting, stomach fullness after a normal size meal–shortly after eating.
  • It’s important to discuss these symptoms with your doctor.
  • Gastroparesis can occur in all ages.
  • There are dietary interventions that can ease symptoms including minimizing (not eliminating) fat and fiber.  And a low FODMAP diet helps symptoms for some people too!

Crystal recently published her latest book, Eating for Gastroparesis, which has great tips, recipes and lifestyle guidelines for those living with this gastroparesis.  I, for one,  will be trying Crystal’s recipe for a Pina Colada smoothie which looks super easy to make and yummy!! 🙂  And the GREAT news is the I have a copy of this book as a give-a-way! If you have gastroparesis and want more information…please leave a comment after this post and include your favorite sites to receive accurate info & recipes for gastroparesis AND you will be entered a chance to win this AWESOME book!


Crystal's bok

This is my second post on gastroparesis, so check for more info here including a great low FODMAP gastroparesis food checklist by health coach, Stephanie Torres.

31 replies on “What the heck is gastroparesis?

  • Jennifer Kershner

    Dear Kate, I have a close relative, Bob, who has recently been diagnosed with Gastroparesis after several years of numerous emergency trips to the ER with extreme pain & symptoms, struggles with what to eat, fear of eating, fear of eating away from home, and eventually not leaving home. The diagnosis has been a relief, but the struggle remains daily with what & what not to eat. I follow your Fodmap guidelines with much success for my own digestive issues and it would be an honor to be able to present Bob with this book. My email address is the best place for info & recipes that I could pass on to Bob. Thank you!!

  • Kelly

    I found your website last year after struggling with ibs for years. I was on the fodmap diet and thought I would shrink away from hunger until I found you blog! The recipes were fantastic and the best part was, I didn’t get sick! I am interested in gastroparesis because I believe I may be dealing with it.

  • Jannette

    I’ve had gastroparesis my whole life but wasn’t diagnosed until I was an adult. I guess my parents didn’t want to find out what it was. Anyway, crystals website living well with gastroparesis helped me so much. I was already doing whatever I could on my own because doctors couldn’t help me but then I saw a nutritional drink that she recommended and that helped me gain weight and have energy. I won’t say the name because a few months later the stuff was going bad in the packaging and they changed the formula so many times I can’t trust it anymore. Anyway, I’m still doing my best trying to deal with my stomach and crystals info is extremely helpful.

  • Myriam Miranda

    Hi i purchase your first book! And it was awsome, it helped me so much threw my GP now i can say i can eat almost everything i want, i did my own work out plis diet with out your book maybe i would still have been upset and being depressed. I loved the jucing part of the first book and the tips how to also use Acupunture. And naturals tips.

  • Brittany D

    I have gastroparesis as well. That and the occasional episodes of SIBBO took me for a loop for a while. I loved food. Still do even though I’m on a restrictive diet. Its so nice to find sites such as yours that have information I can actually use. Love your site! I loved the other books for gastroparesis also. Recipes and info would be nice to receive at my email address. Thank you. 🙂

  • Leslie Baldwin

    I was diagnosed one year ago this month. My gastro doc had his nurse call me and tell me the diagnosis. She told me it was nothing to worry about and just follow the diet she was going to send to me by mail. I received the one page diet whch basically said no fresh fruits or vegetables and keep my diet low fiber. The det wasn’t helping me and there are no specialists in my area, so I took the internet. At first I was horrified by what I was reading and then I happened upon Crystal Saltrelli’s blog. It was an absolute lifesaver. I quickly ordered Living (Well) with Gastroparesis and anticipated its arrival. I sat there reading, highlighting and flagging page upon page. I incorporated much of what I read into my life and I must say that I truly am Living (Well) with Gastroparesis. I follow her on Facebook and Pinterest. She has been a godsend. I would love to read her latest book.

  • Taylor

    Hey! My name is Taylor and I am a senior in college. I recently have been diagnosed with gastroparesis in early October. It has and still is a struggle for me to live well with gastroparesis. I am trying to finish the rest of the semester but it truly is a struggle. I found Crystal’s website by trying to learn more about gastroparesis and new recipes. I believe this book would allow me to live well with gastroparesis.

  • Sue Drain

    After years of struggling with ER visits with “bowel obstructions” diagnoses that allowed me to get too familiar with three days of gastric tubes and liquid diets, I was finally diagnosed in 2013 with gastroparises. I’m trying to learn how to eat healthy for gastroparises.

  • Joyce

    I have been living with digestive issues for years. Diagnosed as G.P.
    Crystal’s works have been a guideline for me.

  • Nancy

    I would love to be able to figure out how to become happy and healthy again. Have numerous issues with Gastroparesis that seem to be getting worse-I’ve gained 50 lbs and barely eat, no appetite or get full really quickly-bloated. Deep depression among other issues. I want to be me again for myself and my family. Tired of so many doctors not treating me seriously

  • Martie L in Michigan

    Dealing with gastroparesis for almost 20 yrs, first diagnosed in 1995. Also, dx’d with SIBO a couple of years ago. Although FODMAPS is very helpful to deal with the dietary restrictions of both health issues, it’s Crystal’s web site & books that have put a different spin on, with information on how to deal with a chronic health issue. I will never have the ‘old’ me back, but am working on accepting my new reality, and making the best of it. I would love to share Crystal’s book with others I have met that are dealing with chronic digestive issues.

  • Beth

    I was recently diagnosed with gastroparesis and I have greatly enjoyed Crystal’s blog! I have been thinking about purchasing this book as I keep hearing wonderful things about all of the recipes. Crystal’s blog as well as searching on Pinterest have been great resources for me for food and recipes ideas!

  • Cindy Y

    I’ve just discovered your website and have much to learn about FODMAPS and SIBO. I’ve struggled with GP for two decades. I was able to improve my nutrition with the help gained from Crystal Saltrelli’s site. Now that I’ve also developed diabetes, I need help finding foods appropriate for both conditions.

  • Rebecca

    WOW, thank you Kate for this topic on your blog. I have never heard of Gastroparesis. I have the symptoms and am heading over to Crystal’s blog NOW to learn more!

  • Angie T

    Thanks for writing about this Kate! I suffered for years with gastroparesis without being diagnosed. It got to a point where I could not eat anything. I got peg J/G feeding tube and used it exclusively for nearly a year. I was still teaching high school while having the backpack of food pumping into me 16 hours a day. I had never heard of this disease before, and resources were limited. I could not tolerate the smells of some foods or the way food looked on TV. I lost over 100lbs.
    I am happy to report that I no longer have the feeding tube. I recall someone was planning on publishing this cookbook, and I am glad it is available to those who suffer both chronically and acutely from gastroparesis. I would love to get a copy. It is not so coincidental I found your site as directed by my GI doctor. I still find it difficult to plan what to eat. Thanks for lobbying for us.

  • Casey

    Crystal’s website is a great resource and I’ve learned so much from her research. Thanks for showcasing her work here!

  • Ana

    I have been living with SIBO and now I have to give gastroparesis a thought.
    Thanks for all your info on Christal, very helpful!

  • Rhiannon

    Having to deal with the multiple digestive problems of Celiac Disease, Collagenous Colitis, and Scleroderma with poor gastric motility, I have found the FODMAP diet to be a valuable component of my “program” for management of my symptoms. I have greatly enjoyed the introduction to Crystal and Stephanie’s websites. I have also found some helpful information on Gastroparesis on the Johns Hopkins and WebMD sites. I think Crystal’s book could give me yet an additional tool to help me try to control my symptoms. Thanks for all your help, Kate.

  • Roberta Barcus

    To say thank you is not enough!Sick most of my life,and now at 71 to be able to eat is nothing short of miraculous.
    Diagnosed with Gastropareses in2010.Info doc gave me helped a bit.However,my life changed after seeing a new GI doc here in Raleigh,NC.February 2013 the magical info…Low Fodmap Diet!
    Your site has been invaluable!
    I research,read,and seriously follow,whatever I need to do to stay well.
    Doctor and his nutritionist,introduced me to Pinterest.Enlightening info is out there
    if set on the correct path,and if one is serious about health.
    Enjoying cooking and baking again,especially for and with my grandchildren!

  • Wendy

    I do not have gastroparesis, but I have a friend who does, and I would love to win this for her. She has so many obstacles in her life I would love to help her with this one. Thank you for posting on this, I will be sending the link to her.
    You do so much to help people with functional gastrointestinal disorders…thank you so much!

  • Grace Desnoyers

    Thanks for your blog info! I’m a retired RD and have had gastroparesis for about two years. I have Crystal’s first book and would really like to have her second one as well.

  • Robyn

    Crystal’s first book has been a huge value. If I don’t win this giveaway, I’ll be purchasing regardless 🙂

  • Randy

    This is the time of year I take inventory of all the things I’m thankful for and one of them is your website and blog. I don’t have GP but I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you’ve done for all of us. Your FODMAP info is priceless and has given me my life back.

  • Marty

    I’m not sure if I have GP, the FODMAP diet has helped some, but I find it very restrictive, being vegan and GF. I’d love to win this book, and I will check out Crystal’s website! Thank you!

  • Tara

    I have had SIBO for many years and have been following your site closely for accurate, updated information. I was later diagnosed with Gastroparesis so I now have the challenge of learning how to manage both my IBS and Gastroparesis issues. Crystal’s website, like yours, has the best information for managing my symptoms so I go to your site and to hers for the best advice.

  • Jayna

    I am on a very restrictive diet due to SIBO, Gastroparesis, colonic inertia and numerous food allergies. I have lost a lot of weight and need ways to put that weight back so I don’t end up on feeding tubes. I need tips on nutrition, adding variety to my diet and living with all these challenges so the book would be a big help. I go to Crystal’s website for info on living with Gastroparesis and to your website to learn more about fodmaps. Both of your sites are the best I’ve seen around.

  • Dawn

    Diagnosed 3 years ago and have a GJ tube although I still try to eat. I have Multiple Sclerosis that caused the GP. Always looking for suggestions on food so I don’t live only on tube feedings.

  • Brittany

    Hello! I was just diagnosed last month with Gastroparesis. I’m slowly learning what my body will and won’t tolerate (milk for instance). I’ve searched Pinterest and the internet high and low for recipes, help and anything else to explain what I have, how I can manage it and what recipes I can make (I love to bake and cook). I came across Crystal’s website through Pinterest and have already made a few recipes–even sharing with my coworkers who loved the cookies (snickerdoodles and chocolate chip)! I would love to win her new cookbook so I can continue to learn about GP and what GP-approved foods I can eat. Thank you!

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