Gastrointestinal (GI) distress can be painful, embarrassing and disruptive. Fortunately, most GI conditions can be alleviated with the help of a trained and experienced gastroenterologist. Two GI disorders that can mimic each other are gastroparesis and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Gastroparesis is a form of stomach sluggishness and is not a rare condition. In layman’s terms, the condition is a ‘lazy stomach’, when food tends to be stuck in the stomach and is not pushed into the small intestine as it should be. The food tends to sit in the stomach causing bloating, heartburn, cramping, nausea and a feeling of fullness.
GERD is chronic acid reflux caused by a weakness in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the valve that separates the esophagus and the stomach. Eating spicy, greasy, creamy or acidic foods or drinking caffeinated beverages, or alcohol can aggravate reflux. Lifestyle choices like overeating, wearing tight clothing or lying down after meals can also exacerbate the condition. GERD sufferers usually experience indigestion and heartburn as a result of stomach acid leaking backward into the esophagus.
Many of the symptoms of GERD and gastroparesis can overlap, and both conditions tend to occur after meals. And, to make it even more confusing, irritable bowel syndrome can have very similar symptoms to these two illnesses.
Gastroparesis and GERD can cause long-term health problems. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and are not under a doctor’s care, I ask you to consider contacting my office to discuss. For your convenience, you may request an appointment here.