What Type of Tests are Necessary for Gastroparesis
Gastroparesis is a condition that affects the movement of food through your digestive system. Normally, strong muscular contractions push food through your stomach and into your small intestine. But if you have gastroparesis, these muscular contractions are weak or irregular.
Weak or irregular muscular contractions slow or stop the movement of food from your stomach to your small intestine, leading to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, and abdominal pain.
Symptoms of gastroparesis can range from mild to severe. In some cases, they may be so severe that you need to be hospitalized. If left untreated, gastroparesis can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, and weight loss. In rare cases, it can even be life-threatening.
Gastroparesis can be caused by several conditions, including diabetes, surgery on the stomach or intestines, viral infections, eating disorders, and certain medications. It can also occur idiopathically, which means the cause is unknown. Gastroparesis is a relatively rare condition. It affects between 0.2% and 3.5% of the general population. But it’s more common in people with diabetes, affecting up to 50% of people with type 1 diabetes and up to 25% of people with type 2 diabetes.
Treatment of Gastroparesis
If you think you may have gastroparesis, see your doctor. They will ask about your medical history and symptoms and perform a physical exam. They may also order tests, such as an upper GI series or endoscopy, to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for gastroparesis typically focuses on managing symptoms and improving nutrition. Medications, such as prokinetics and antispasmodics, can help improve stomach contractions and relieve symptoms. Dietary changes, such as eating smaller meals more often and avoiding high-fat foods, can also help. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
With treatment, most people with gastroparesis are able to manage their symptoms and live relatively normal lives. But the condition can be chronic and progressive, so it’s important to see your doctor regularly and follow their recommendations.
How Can Tests Help with Gastroparesis?
If you think you may have gastroparesis, see your doctor. They will ask about your medical history and symptoms and perform a physical exam. They may also order tests, such as an upper GI series or endoscopy, to confirm the diagnosis. Imaging tests can help doctors diagnose, evaluate and treat gastroparesis easier.
There are a few different imaging tests that can be ordered to help diagnose and treat gastroparesis.
- Upper GI Series. An upper GI series, also called a barium swallow, is one test that can be used to visualize the stomach and assess motility. To perform this test, the doctor inserts a tiny camera on the end of a long, flexible tube and places it down the esophagus. The doctor can then examine the stomach, intestines, and sphincters to determine if there is a delay in emptying food contents.
- Gastric Emptying Study. A gastric emptying study can also be done to measure how quickly the stomach empties solid or liquid meals. This involves eating a light meal that contains a small amount of radioactive material. Scans are performed at regular intervals to watch the emptying of food contents.
- Ultrasound of Stomach. Doctors may also wish to view your stomach and intestines through an ultrasound. This can help show blockages and intestinal obstructions that might be causing your symptoms.
Schedule Your Radiology Screening Today
At ImageCare Radiology, we can perform a wide range of imaging tests to help doctors diagnose, evaluate, and treat gastroparesis. We offer competitive rates that are usually cheaper than hospital and urgent care centers, and we work with most major insurance providers. Please let us know what tests you need, and we can help you! Give us a call today at 973-871-3333 to schedule an appointment, or complete our convenient online appointment request form.