To rule out causes of gastroparesis other than diabetes, the doctor may do an upper endoscopy or an ultrasound.
After giving you a sedative, the doctor passes a long, thin tube called an endoscope through the mouth and gently guides it down the esophagus into the stomach. Through the endoscope, the doctor can look at the lining of the stomach to check for any abnormalities.
To rule out gallbladder disease or pancreatitis as a source of the problem, you may have an ultrasound test, which uses harmless sound waves to outline and define the shape of the gallbladder and pancreas.
How is it Treated?
The most important treatment goal for diabetes-related gastroparesis is to manage your blood glucose levels as well as possible. Treatments include insulin, oral medications, changes in what and when you eat, and, in severe cases, feeding tubes and intravenous feeding.
Insulin for Blood Glucose Control
If you have gastroparesis, your food is being absorbed more slowly and at unpredictable times. To better manage blood glucose, you may need to try
- Take insulin more often
- Take your insulin after you eat instead of before
- Check your blood glucose levels frequently after you eat and administer insulin whenever necessary
Your doctor will give you specific instructions based on your particular needs.
If other approaches do not work, you may need surgery to insert a feeding tube. The tube, called a jejunostomy tube, is inserted through the skin on your abdomen into the small intestine. The feeding tube allows you to put nutrients directly into the small intestine, bypassing the stomach altogether. You will receive special liquid food to use with the tube. A jejunostomy is particularly useful when gastroparesis prevents the nutrients and medication necessary to regulate blood glucose levels from reaching the bloodstream.
By avoiding the source of the problem (the stomach) and putting nutrients and medication directly into the small intestine, you ensure that these products are digested and delivered to your bloodstream quickly. A jejunostomy tube can be temporary and is used only if necessary when gastroparesis is severe.
It is important to note that in most cases treatment does not cure gastroparesis — it is usually a chronic condition. Treatment helps you manage gastroparesis, so that you can be as healthy and comfortable as possible.