depression cause gastroparesis or gastroparesis cause depression?

im tired of this issue, a group of doctors says that im depressed because of my symptoms, and another group of doctors says that my depression cause my gastrointestinal symptoms.... what can i do? i know i have emotional issues but i cant feel fine neither if i have those symptoms every day till 7 years ago. i have 21 years old and i cant do a lot of things, im always with symptoms and i dont feel like i can stand anymore in the same situation, and if i will go to mayoclinic for receive the same treat i dont want it anymore. i dont care if is emotional or physiologic all i asking is for the solution, and if i cant drink medicines they need to give me another options. im in a psychotherapy with my psychologist cause i really believe in psychology but if my sickness is product of psychosomatic problem i need some diet or supplements till we found what is wrong with me. Where are the tools that i need? Why the doctors are so separately one from the another? We are one body, we arent the heart separately, the stomach, the legs, we have all together and thats who we are, what they divided all so bad? :(

(sorry about my english i dont speak english frequently)

Report post

11 replies. Join the discussion

Wow, you are sure going through a lot lady. It is not all in your head and don't let anyone convince you of that! I am glad you are getting help, but I hear your frustration. I agree with you that we are all one body, heart, mind and soul...and should be treated as such. I sure hope you get some answers. I too wonder if the Mayo Clinic has answers/help for people with GP that is different than the regular GI doctors. Can anyone who has been to Mayo address this? Take care and know that we are thinking about you and hope you find some doctors who will talk to each other-Hugs, mphotographer

Report post

Don't feel defeated. We are all here to support each other. Keep searching for a doctor who will help you. I know how difficult it is to deal with gastroparesis on the tough days... it is really wearing. I've been there. A medication that may help you is domperidone. You have to get it from Canada and your doctor can prescribe it to you under the "Compassion law" since it is not FDA approved in the US. It has helped me some. Good luck and keep your chin up!

Report post

Hi there,

I am 25 and for years had been told that GI disorders were psychological by ill informed doctors. I have suffered from this illness from 4 years of age. I don't know if it matters, but often depression and psychological symptoms can stem from long term/chronic illness. Gastroparesis is an illness that doctors (even the well informed ones) have major problems understanding. It is a disease with no true cure. I have to agree with soccamom. The best support you can get is likely from other who are suffering like you are. Us. Before I found this site I was terribly saddened because I felt alone and like a freak to be so young and sick. Take heart--you are not alone. There is bound to be a cure for all of us out there, it is just a matter of time. There are many medications you can try--some of them may help some may not. I have personally tried every medication currently available for motility disorders to no avail, however, now gastric pacemaker sare being utilized as treatment as well, so there are always choices and options. Have you tried Domperidone, Reglan, Erythramiacin, or Amitiza? I have heard that these medications are helpful to many. I guess the key is to not give up hope. I have heard great things about the Mayo Clinic. I have a friend Heather who has been treated there successfully. I also have heard awesome things about the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. It is debateable which one is better, but most say that Cleveland is the best GI hospital in the country. If you don't like what one doctor is telling you it never hurts to get a second opinion. Take heart! =P

Report post

A note on Domperidone: if you are allergic to Erythromiacin (as I unfortunately am), you shouldn't take Domperidone, according to my Harvard-trained GI.

I personally believe that there is some sort of connection to depression; the Vegus nerve is a major conduit throughout the body, after all. I have suffered on and off from clinical depression for years, but my nervous system is completely resistant or overreactive (psychotic episodes in a foreign country, anyone?) to antidepressants. I have had great success controlling both gastric and stress symptoms from a massage therapist nerve and visceral tissue specialist, however. I am totally relaxed and at peace with the world after one of her two hour sessions...

When I am depressed or stressed, my gastroparesis worsens. It is, of course, a vicious cycle - the worse you physically feel, the worse your emotional state. I work part time at a high stress job, and have to take deep breaths on many occasions; I teach developmental English to "non-traditional" college art students, who are about as thrilled as I am to have a four-hour English class once a week! I am seriously considering a career change at this point to bring my stress level down...teaching ain't for sissies! What are your stressors? Are they worth the frustration?

Whatever you do, don't give in. Accept that there will be high and low points of your disorder, just like anything else in life. You will have days (or weeks...or months...) where you will be living on Ensure, but you will also have times where you are able to treat yourself to a little gourmet pasta at your favorite restaurant (hold the veggies!).

Get yourself checked for helicobacter pylori as well, especially if you have visited or have been living in an Asian country (kinda random, I know). If you have it, get it treated asap; that stuff can make things even worse.

I am only 32, btw, and I have been dealing with gastroparesis for a little less than a year; it was apparently "kicked off' by a stomach virus with an extra dose of h. pylori for good measure.

Report post


You are right. Having these symptoms does cause depression AND being under stress and depression can cause the symptoms to become worse. It is both.

This is not all a problem in your head. Your body symptoms are real. The Dr's have a very hard time combining the whole body together. They practice in specialties often and do not seem to look at the whole picture.

It is good you are getting help from a psychiatrist for the issues you are dealing with. Keep talking with them about the problems you are having with drinking the medicines. If these people do not help you it is ok to look for new Dr's who might help.

Please do not worry about your English Cha. You are doing a great job, and we want to be here to support you. Please keep talking.

I am tired too. This is exhausting stuff. Let me give you a hug


Report post

I have found that there are many gastroenterologists who only provide basic services. They are not working with the more difficult issues, such as Gastroparesis. You MUST find a Dr. who works with GASTROPARESIS patients. Yes, it is very frustrating at the beginning, until you find more answers and get some help. No, I do not believe it is a psychosomatic disease. ANY illness that is CHRONIC is a reason for depression. You are facing so much uncertainty.

First, I'd suggest you do whatever you must to up your nutrition. You can get weak and confused and more depressed without it. Look for liquid vitamins, mix up drinks with as much nutritional value as you can. Be sure you are getting adequate sleep, and a little exercise- walking is a good way to get your circulation moving. Be sure your bowels are still working.

Second, look for a Gastroenterologist who specializes in GI MOTILITY. You want specialized tests: colonoscopy, scopes, the Smart Pill (a camera that is pill sized that you swallow), ERCP, gastric emptying study. You need a doctor who is advanced enough to use these studies. That way they get a picture throughout your whole gi system.

Do you suffer from pain? If so, ask for a pain management specialist. Getting meds you can use to control the pain will bring you relief and HOPE!

One day at a timenow, just one day at a time. The future will be there for you, but for now, work away at your issues to find some relief of symptoms and keep you alive. We are all going through it and are here for you too.

Take care, Katherine

Report post

I know exactly how you feel. I have had depression all my life, and now I have gastroparesis and IBS-D. Along with ashma, sinus problems(requiring surgery every few years) carpel tunnel syndrome, and very bad allergies. My depression has gotton so much worse since I got sick in 2005. I haven't been able to work at all. I am convinced that these disorders (the gastro ones) are stress related because I had a mental breakdown and then immediately after I was sick with diarreah. The main symptom of my IBS. I have it everyday, but I am taking medication to control it. But the meds cause bad heartburn. So you see, I completely understand. Try to get your medication for depression adjusted. It might help. Keep us up to date.

Report post

i didn't have any depression problems until about a week after i started reglan. i took it for two months, and it actually made my GP symptoms MUCH worse.
the day after my GI took me off it - no more hysterical crying jags or hoping i would just starve to death and be done with it.
sadly, it took almost two months for the weird sunburn feeling leg pain to go away
but when my coworkers decided on a random surprise trip to a restaurant [loaded into cars and the organizers wouldn't say where we were going] i had to leave the restaurant. food is social. not being able to do the things that everyone else is doing in a social situation puts a lot of anxiety on people. GP affects almost everything you do in life, from spending time with friends and family to the position you sleep in.

of course it can cause sadness and depression.

but also, it could depend on other factors. as a diabetic i am constantly checking my blood sugar. did you know stress raises your blood sugar? even for non diabetics. it's the body getting ready for 'fight or flight' by releasing stored sugar for fuel. high blood sugar makes my GP worse. if my blood sugar gets above a certain point i pretty much know that i'll be vomiting the rest of the day
so if you are feeling depressed and stressed out, the two problems could be feeding off each other

Report post

You're going to be OK. You can get your life back.

It doesn't matter what came first- the depression or the GP. I'm sorry, it's just my two-cents,but I think this whole psychosomatic view of GP is an excuse for the doctor not to treat the patient. It took literally years for me to be diagnosed with GP, and then the cause was "idiopathic." I was not depressed until I received that phone call that said my stomach simply did not function. So, what to do about it? Therapy helps, but it has to be with a supportive therapist and not someone who treats you like you are a lost cause. Meditation is helpful, but I found it hard to turn off my mind-- I like moving meditation, like yoga and chi gong, or tai chi. I've read enough messages from support groups to say that everyone who has GP has different symptoms and responds to different treatments. After all, we all have GP for different reasons- diabetes, surgery, autoimmune disease or whatever. Keep trying things. Keep trying different foods. Pureed foods work for a lot of people- for some it doesn't. And you may have to deal with some pain. After awhile, the pain didn't rule my day anymore.

Report post

I do believe stress can cause alot of things- headaches, stomaches, diarrea, high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks, even cancer.
But I (just my opinion) have a hard time believing it could cause GP and motitity issues. Mine get worse when I am stressed but that is because I eat when I am stressed. I think a lot of doctors who don't understand rare health conditions write them off as psychosomatic. My GP told me that it was diffinetly NOT THAT.

Report post

Cha, I'm sorry you're having a rough time. I too have clinical depression and GP and many times they collide. I was diagnosed with clinical depression 12 years ago. I also have been on every antidepressant medications since. My doctor actually waits for a new drug to come out to try on me as nothing seems to be working. This may be a two edge sword as when I was diagnosed with GP (about a year ago), they said the main causes were Diabetes, long term use of antidepressants and long term use of pain meds. (I was in a bad car accident in '96 and have been on pain meds on/off since). I don't have Diabetes, but I qualify with the other two problems. It's my understanding that the Vagus nerve gets damaged because of one of the three above mentioned causes. If anyone knows something different about the cause of GP, please let me know. Cha, it's very difficult and you are not alone. Sometimes it comes to which came first depression/GP. I do know feeling sick and not getting enough nutrition will cause most people to get depressed. That is considered situational depression. If you need somebody to talk with about the depression, please contact me. I'm just learning about the GP, so others on this site are far more knowledgeable about that. Just know the people are this site are very compassionate and well informed. Take care and I'll talk to you anytime you need when depressed. Cathy

Report post

This discussion is closed to replies. We close all discussions after 90 days.

If there's something you'd like to discuss, click below to start a new discussion.

Things you can do

Support AGMD

Help the Association of Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders reach its goals and support people like yourself by making a donation today.

Donate to the Association of Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders



Discussion topics

Helpful links from AGMD

Community leaders