August is Gastroparesis Awareness Month!


First established by the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) in 2016, Gastroparesis Awareness Month is designed to increase awareness of gastroparesis and how it affects the people who have it. An estimated 10-40 people of every 100,000 have gastroparesis. This condition often manifests across a broad spectrum, so each person has a wholly unique disease experience. This Gastroparesis Awareness Month, the IFFGD wants to draw attention to these varied manifestations: from how this disorder affects people emotionally and psychologically, to the diagnostic challenges, to education on the physical characteristics, to the need for increased research.

In a news release from the IFFGD, they explained why this awareness is so important – and how you can step in to help.

About Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis is a chronic disorder that alters the movement of the muscles in your stomach and small intestine. Normally, your muscle constrict and relax to move food from the stomach to the intestines. In people with gastroparesis, these muscles don’t work properly. This means that food is not transported and the stomach doesn’t empty like it should, which can lead to a number of symptoms and other health issues. Doctors don’t know exactly what causes gastroparesis in many cases. However, in some cases, high blood glucose levels and vagus nerve damage have been linked to its development. Gastroparesis is more common in females than males.

Symptoms of gastroparesis, which can occur during or after meals, may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating and belching
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Feeling full even when not eating a lot
  • Dry heaving
  • Heartburn
  • Appetite loss
  • Acid reflux
  • Dehydration and malnutrition (complications)

Right now, there is no cure for this condition. But treatment can provide some relief. Certain medications may be used to stimulate stomach muscles. Eating smaller portions, reducing consumption of fat and carbonated beverages, and other lifestyle changes may also help. In more severe cases, some people may require a feeding tube.

How You Can Raise Awareness

So you want to help raise gastroparesis awareness – but aren’t quite sure how to get started. Here are a few ways that you can help:

  • Share your story. Do you have gastroparesis? Have you struggled to explain to others how it impacts your day-to-day life? During this month, share your story on social media using the hashtag #GPreality. If you do not have gastroparesis, still consider looking through this hashtag and hearing, from those with lived experience, how this condition impacts them. You can also share some of these graphics on social media.
  • Reach out to your local media. If you want to raise awareness in your community, speaking to local media can help. Consider reaching out to local news and radio stations and asking them to consider a story about gastroparesis.
  • Donate. Donating to organizations like the IFFGD can help fund life-saving research and contribute to numerous therapeutic advancements to improve the lives of those within this community. You can donate here.
  • Educate. Have your doctors ever heard of gastroparesis? You can create a one-pager (fact sheet) containing all of the relevant information on gastroparesis and drop it off at local doctors’ offices; this could help them to identify people who are undiagnosed but have suspect symptoms.
Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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