Donate to Gastroparesis Research, Patient Care and Education

Gastroparesis is a chronic stomach disorder that causes the stomach to take too long to empty out food. Normally, the vagus nerve signals the stomach muscles to contract, allowing food to move to the duodenum. In patients with gastroparesis, these stomach muscles are damaged, causing food to move very slowly, or to stop moving altogether, through the stomach. Due to the build-up of undigested food, people with gastroparesis typically experience vomiting, heartburn and nausea. If the condition is left untreated, bacteria grows in the stomach, and hard lumps, known as bezoars, form.

Northwestern Medicine’s Functional Bowel Disease Program provides patients affected by gastroparesis with state-of-the-art diagnostics and multidisciplinary interventions to effectively treat symptoms of the disease. Moreover, this program brings together the specialties of gastroenterology and behavioral medicine, with the goal of comprehensively treating both physical and psychological elements of digestive disorders. As a donor to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will help to ensure that physicians and scientists at Northwestern Medicine remain at the forefront of research initiatives and treatment approaches related to gastroparesis and other digestive diseases.

Gastroparesis commonly affects people with diabetes (particularly type 1 diabetes), because the vagus nerve becomes damaged if blood sugar levels remain high over a long period of time. Other causes of gastroparesis include:

  • A viral disease
  • Surgery involving any of the digestive organs
  • Eating disorders
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Metabolic disorders

Though there is no cure for gastroparesis, treatment can help individuals to manage symptoms of the disease. By making a donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will help to ensure that, at Northwestern Medicine, patients with gastroparesis will continue to benefit from exceptional, personalized care. Our physicians typically recommend lifestyle before introducing more invasive therapies for patients with gastroparesis. Examples of potentially beneficial lifestyle changes include eating small meals, avoiding high fiber and fatty foods, eating pureed food, remaining upright after eating, controlling stress and anxiety, and stopping smoking.

Other treatments for gastroparesis include:

  • Medication: Medication may be prescribed to increase digestive motility or ease nausea.
  • Botox injections: Botox may be used to control stomach muscle spasms.
  • Surgery: Several different surgical procedures may be performed including:
    • Jejunostomy: A feeding tube is placed into the small intestine.
    • Gastric outlet myotomy: An incision is made at the muscles connecting the stomach and duodenum.
    • Gastric pacing: Electrodes stimulate stomach muscle contractions.
    • Gastric neurotransmitter: A device placed in the stomach stimulates digestion and movement.
    • IV nutrition: Nutrients are received into the bloodstream via a tube or port.

Gastroparesis Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

Gastroparesis produces significant discomfort and pain, and can make life extremely challenging for those affected by the illness. Fortunately, individuals with gastroparesis can find outstanding care, patient-centered at Northwestern Medicine. By making a contribution to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will help to ensure that Northwestern Medicine will remain a recognized, trusted for state-of-the-art treatment for gastroparesis. Through your generosity, you will give many patients the gift of hope, better health and an improved quality of life.

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