Over a decade ago, Digestive Tract Paralysis (DTP) Awareness Month was called Gastroparesis Awareness Week. But it was decided that seven days was not long enough to bring the necessary awareness for the chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disorder. It also allowed the opportunity to incorporate other digestive paralytic conditions such as Colonic Inertia (CI), Gastroparesis (GP), and Chronic Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction (CIPO) to the platform.
What is Digestive Tract Paralysis?
Digestive Tract Paralysis (DTP) is the overall umbrella term used to refer to any paralytic condition of the digestive tract. This type of paralysis is just like one of any other organs where the body’s ability to move food through the digestive tract is inhibited.
In a normal stomach, the contents are emptied into the small intestines at a reasonable pace. But with gastroparesis, the muscle contractions that move the food along the digestive tract do not function properly. Therefore, the stomach empties too slowly. This is also known as delayed gastric emptying.
In rare cases, the condition is life-threatening especially if ignored or neglected. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels and nutritional deficits may also occur if left untreated.
Signs & Symptoms
Signs and symptoms vary among every individual who experiences the medical condition. A few common DTP symptoms are excruciating abdominal pain, fullness after a few bites of food, bloating, reduced appetite, dehydration, heartburn, reflux, excessive belching, and sudden weight loss. Some patients have also reported vomiting and frequent nausea. As with any other disease, it is best treated in its early stages.
Diagnosis & Treatment
A gastric or duodenal manometry, abdominal scan, as well as a gastric emptying scan will be performed to diagnose the condition. Once a diagnosis is made, the proper treatment will be prescribed. Certain medications may be recommended in addition to a change in diet. Certain foods may help ease the condition.
Sadly, 1 in 25 Americans have these digestive conditions and there is no cure. Not much is known about the cause of the condition which is why Digestive Tract Paralysis (DTP) Awareness Month is imperative. The medical community wants to promote awareness, raise funds, educate the public, and support patients and their families with hopes of overcoming and finding a cure for the gastric condition.
Northside Spine & Pain Specialists are here to make your healthcare journey simple and bring further awareness to the community. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.