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8 'Habits' of People With Gastroparesis

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Gastro what? Gastroparesis.

Most people have never heard of this and have no clue just how life changing it is. And sadly, nobody and nothing can absolutely prepare anyone for life with this condition.

Gastroparesis is a condition that affects the stomach muscles and prevents proper stomach emptying. It affects digestion and there might be damage to the nerve that is responsible for digestion.

For this reason, this condition is very unpredictable, and causes extreme pain, nausea, vomiting and a wealth of other symptoms. I never imagined that my life would come to a screeching halt and I would have to make so many calculated choices when it comes to the foods I eat.

And because of all of this, many of us with gastroparesis develop habits to make living with this condition easier. I myself have learned I cannot eat many goodies anymore, have to take my meds daily and plan outings that require food. Every family function I attend I have to cook and bring my own foods because I cannot eat what everyone else does. Not only is it time-consuming, it is exhausting!

The comfort in all of this is that I am not alone. Many of us experience the same things and have to endure the same symptoms — it changes our lives completely. Here are some ways others have adapted to living with gastroparesis. If you have more “habits” to share, I would love to know! Share them in the comments below.

Here are some “habits” people developed because they live with gastroparesis:

1. “Knowing where all the bathrooms are, and/or a place I can get to fast in case I need to vomit. I’ve also learned how to vomit without making noise in case I’m in public, because let’s be honest when you hear someone throw up you assume [anything other than] gastroparesis, and people tend to judge.” — Amber E.

2. “Taking digestive enzymes and anti-bloating meds before you eat anything.” — Shelia W.

3. “I keep my anti-nausea meds and a glass of water by my bed at night, and carry them with me if I leave the house.” — Stormie B.

4. “When I’m invited somewhere (which is inevitable), I always get online and scour the menu to see if there is something I can eat — a hamburger bun, or some rolls or something. If there isn’t anything, I often times make up an excuse as to why I can’t go. I don’t want people to feel guilty for enjoying their lives even if I can’t partake.” — Christina E.

5. “Having to realize I have to eat kids portions and avoid certain foods… I get the mick taken out of me often…’no wonder you’re so skinny, you don’t eat properly’ or ‘omg, you’re such a fussy eater.’ I actually avoid going out to eat now.” — Emily L.

6. “The little purple portable vomit bags you can buy on Amazon are stashed everywhere. In my car, in each room, in my purse, at my parents house, etc. Also — eating ‘meals’ whose size could be part of the tiny food craze you see on the internet is key. They say portion control for ‘normal people’ is important? It’s absolutely important for us GP warriors.” — Allie H.

7. “I wear a hairband around my wrist everywhere I go. That way if I get sick so I have something to hold my hair back.” — Selena D.

8. “So. Much. Ensure.” — Tori M.

Controlling this condition is difficult, and sometimes when we think we have made progress using many of these tips and tricks, we can slide totally backwards and have to go back to the basics of an all liquid diet, which poses many challenges. And in some cases, some of us need feeding tubes because we become so malnourished and dehydrated. Gastroparesis isn’t curable and isn’t something that can be “fixed.” It is a constant daily battle we fight in order to stay not only alive, but some version of healthy. 

What would you add?

Getty image via LightFieldStudios

Originally published: August 12, 2020
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