Gastroparesis causes paralysis of the stomach. It basically means the stomach doesn’t understand its job, and can’t digest food properly.
This causes extreme discomfort (to say the least) for gastroparesis patients.
Depending on the severity of the illness, it can cause stomach pain, nausea, and poor digestion which requires the use of a feeding tube. It can affect people with Parkinson’s disease and diabetes, but often the cause of the disease is unknown.
The first treatment option for gastroparesis is usually medication and diet therapy. But, if those don’t work, there’s now a new possibility for patients. What is this magical device? Simply, it’s a sort of pacemaker for the stomach.
Basically, it shocks the stomach into remembering what it’s supposed to do and helps it move food through the digestive track. While it hasn’t been successful in all patients, it has significantly improved the quality of life for some.
Gastroparesis is so isolating because it frequently makes patients feel too ill to leave their house, let alone participate in social activities.
According to ABC 30, Erica Davila says her life has completely changed since receiving a pacemaker. She had stomach issues for her entire life, but it took many years and a misdiagnosis before she finally discovered she had gastroparesis. The disease forced her to leave her job as an operating room nurse and stop the activities she loved to do, like martial arts. Now with a pacemaker, she’s back on the mat with her husband, less debilitated by her disease.
You can read more about this treatment and Erica’s story here!