“Gastro” = relating to the stomach
“Paresis” = a condition of muscular weakness due to nerve damage or disease
Since it is considered rare and only affects around 200,000 people in the US, many people have never heard of Gastroparesis. For those with family, friends or a personal diagnosis of gastroparesis, it can be life changing.
Common symptoms include: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, quick onset and long duration of feeling full with meals.
Digestion Basics: Food enters the mouth, is chewed and then mixed with enzymes. Food is then swallowed into the esophagus and enters the stomach. The stomach churns the food in a highly acidic environment. The stomach then releases food into the small intestine where it is mixed with more digestive enzymes and bile. The small intestines separate and absorb most nutrients and minerals while moving the mass of food up to 34 feet. The small intestine has now absorbed most of the nutrients from the food, and it moves the waste into the large intestine where the main function is to absorb water and move the unused waste into the colon to be evacuated.
Why would the digestive system slow down it’s movement?
According to doctors in the gastroenterology field, there are a few main reasons for the musculature of the digestive system to slow. Disease that diminish neuromuscular function such as diabetes, or injury to the Vagus nerve.
Diabetes may contribute to gastroparesis by killing the nerves due to abnormally high levels of sugar in the blood (similar to diabetic neuropathy) for those with diabetes and issues with gastroparesis keeping blood sugars regulated is the obvious answer.
For those with no diabetic conditions we must look at the Vagus nerve. The Vagus nerve has been coined "the great wanderer” because it stems directly from the brain (cranial nerve X) and it’s branches interact with MANY different components of the body including the heart, lungs and DIGESTIVE SYSTEM.
At this time, the only scholarly articles correlating your body’s foundation to gastroparesis is a series of case studies. However, due to the obvious and direct connection between the brain, the Vagus nerve and the body, Balance Chiropractic receives referrals from several gastroenterology clinics in town to assist in traditional Gastroparesis treatment.