Gastroparesis and Weight Gain? Help?

I am 21 years old and I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis about 9 months ago after being sick for about a year. I was so sick that I considered leaving my university because I was in a lot of pain, continually sick and could not keep up with the work. I had a doctor who misdiagnosed me, refused to do an endoscopy and put me on a high fiber diet which resulted in me becoming sicker and since have gotten a better doctor. I have drastically changed my diet and continue to not be able to eat a lot of food, less than 1200 calories a day. In the past year I have been drastically gaining weight, as of today I have gained 70 pounds, even though I am eating very little and mostly soft or liquid foods. At this point I am obese and several doctors have told me so. I am aware that my body could have gone into starvation mode but I have since changed my diet to be nutrient rich and take several vitamins and I still continue to gain weight. I have had several thyroid tests due to family history and all of them revealed that the levels were normal. I am needing any type of advice or help that I can get. I have started to become very depressed because I feel so hopeless and my doctors continue to not take me seriously on the matter. I am extremely worried that if I continue to weight other parts of my health are being put at risk. Any advice at all would be extremely helpful! Thank you.

Report post

15 replies. Join the discussion

You should consider having a complete pituitary hormone panel (blood laboratory study). Cushings' disorder (excessive cortisol and the pituitary hormone ACTH) can be one source of weight gain even within a low calorie diet. Also, polycystic ovary disease can lend to unexplained weight gain. A consultation with an endocrinologist would provide a more complete picture of a possible source.
- Karen -

Report post

Are you taking any meds? Some meds will make you gain weight.

Report post

I was going to say the same thing as jyum, are you taking any medications? I am 26 and have always been very skinny, other than a bloated tummy sometimes. In the past 2 years I have gained alot of weight as well. I eat regular food but have never eaten alot at once and usually live off of cereal. I started on Cymbalta and started gaining weight which was extremely weird for the amount of food I was eating. I found out it was my Cymbalta however I can't go off it because I need it for pain. Eventually the weight I put on started needing more food and nutrients I guess so I do eat more now than I used to. But so much of my weight was from just the meds even though I ate like a bird. My doctors had trouble understanding that at first too. Anyways, I'm bigger now then I've ever been which sucks. So I do need to get more exercise I force myself to walk a bit in the summer but we have snow here now. We got a treadmill about a month ago but I still haven't been on it because I feel so horrible and tend to go straight from my bed to the couch and back. I sleep most of the day so I know the fact that I'm not moving isn't helping. My advice, if you're on any medications go on the Internet and see if weight gain is an added side effect, if it is see if you can switch to another drug that's similar but doesn't have that side effect. If you can't go off it, I'm pretty sure exercise is the only thing you can do. Walking is probably the easiest form of exercising there is so try walking around the block a few times, start with once every few days, and try and work up to once a day. If you're not on any meds but can't find out what's wrong either, than try walking and see if you get any results. That's way you can tell your doctors you're trying at least. Best of luck! I know how hard it is to be young and not see the same "you" in the mirror, but also realize that we are sick and our lives are far from normal! Take a look at half of the girls on here that are literally starving to death and try and be thankful it's not us! We are blessed! Lots of luck!
~ Brandi

Report post

Brandi

The reason you are able to eat more now could be because neurogastroenterologists use that class of drugs to treat functional GI disorders.

That's how I gained all my weight too.. things like paxil and celexa.

Now even those drugs don't work for me, but definitely the specialists try those when you don't respond to anti emetics and pain meds.

Report post

Jyum- so the meds literally make you more hungry and eat more? Do you know if this stops when you stop taking them?

Report post

The meds didn't make me more hungry, it took away the nerve hypersensitivity that prevented me from eating more then a cup or so of food.

I did start losing after I stopped the meds, but then the hypersensitivity got to a point where even those meds were not working for it. I dropped from 155lbs to 78lbs in the span of 3 yrs before I got diagnosed.

Even with diagnosis...they still dont have a way to treat it that works...but they know what it is.

Report post

My story sound a lot like jyum. I was diagnosed with esophageal sensitivity... Dcotor tried me amtrypliiline /nortrypilline, neither worked..major side effects...But I do not want to do the j-tube. You would think since this condition is a common GI problem, pharmaceutical companies would have come up with a better drug to treat many of us with this condition.

Is there anything in the holistic area that works for this? I have tried acupuncture multiple of months for this, but it did not work. Has anyone with this condition been told "candida gut yeast" can cause more symptoms with this condition?

Report post

Mgeary9112
I am exactly like you - that's how I got my gp diagnosis - I couldn't not lose weight no matter how much exercise or diet plans I was trying. In fact all the foods I was eating was making the gp worse. I JUST found a regular primary care dr who I had heard about bc he use to be extremely overweight so he is really good at helping people. He believes I have Cushings (I know I have hypothyroid but am only being treated for T4 and he thinks I need treatment for my T3 as well) - adrenal and hormonal problems. I had a total hysterectomy about 4 years ago and this is when everything happened. I am waiting for my lab work ( he also thinks I am leptin and insulin resistant with high amounts of cortisol) - he is a godsend bc he took so much time to listen to me and could see things just by looking at my face. Right now I can eat some foods but I will feel sick the next day or swell up big time. I usually live on Shakeology drinks w organic peanut butter (just crushed peanuts no oil) and have about 3-4 per day. He said until I figure this part out no amount of exercise will help me lose weight. I will keep you updated but know you are not alone. I am exactly like you - get all the blood work done

Report post

Thank you for all the responses. I have an upcoming appointment on 2/28/13 and hopefully I can get some answers there and if not I am going to try and find another doctor who will maybe take the weight gain seriously. I also plain on asking for all blood work to be looked over for any type of hormonal imbalance or any other condition going on. I did go to the doctor earlier this week and I had lost 10 pounds so maybe it will become easier soon. Trying to stay positive!

Report post

I am now in the same boat as you and feel horrible about it! But I don't know what to do. The first year and a half I lost 40 lbs. The last year I have gained 55lbs! Therefore making me weight more than I ever have in my life! I have no idea what to do. I am taking Celexa for my anxiety and initially when I went up to 40mg, I thought that was causing the weight gain, but then I went back down to 20 mg and I am still gaining like crazy! My doctors say it is because GP friendly foods are high in carbs and because liquid calories turn to fat or something like that. I can't even exercise because my symptoms are so bad! It is really depressing me and I don't like to bring it up because I feel embarrassed and ashamed. When I talk about it with my doctors I kind of laugh it off. I don't know what to do!

Report post

mgeary, I too have Gastroparesis and have experienced weight loss initially with it followed by weight gain of 60 lbs. The weight gain I know came after having a complete hysterectomy and being treated for my depression with Abilify. I gained weight and fast. My Gastroenterologist insisted that I could not have Gastroparesis, since I was obese. When he did the Gastric Motility Study, he found I had GP in a bad way. The Nutritionist told me that there are many people who are overweight and have GP and that what my Dr. had told me was very incorrect. I hate to complain about weight gain, when I know so many with GP are losing weight rapidly, but, my situation is what it is and it depresses me as well. What I found with the GP diet is that it is totally opposite of what like Weight Watchers tells you to eat, as we can't tolerate whole grains and fresh veggies and fruits etc. I was a vegetarian prior to having GP and there is very little that I find I can eat now, especially in the way of fruits & veggies, and when I first started on the GP diet, I lost 8 lbs. the first week, but I couldn't sustain such a strict diet, almost everything I was eating was liquid and I missed chewing so badly. So, recently my GP has worsened and I finally am losing weight, but, not the way I would like to lose weight. I can't exercise as I have major disc issues in my back and SI and Other joints in the region that sublux frequently, so I am in bed most of my day. I eat laying down, which makes the GP worse and I can't exercise either. My NP told me to walk after every meal to help with the GP. My Dr. has ordered another Gastric Motility Study to be done, but, I currently can't lay flat on my back for 90 mins. to do the study. I am wondering how often other folks with GP, are having to repeat the Gastric Motility Study????? I think the Dr. is thinking again, that I can't have GP when I am obese, so I think that is why he wants me to have it done again. I don't think he believed the original results of my first study. I hope things get better for all of you on here.

Report post

It sounds like a thyroid problem really, that can make you gain weight and make you feel even worse than you already do. I think you should persue this for sure, especially because u have a family history of it. I wanna give you your props though you are a very strong person to be doing all of this with gp. I am 21 and am bed bound for the moment because I am recovering from surgery. I am here to listen and help in any way and feel free to vent. I know that helps me a TON! Good Luck

Report post

I find the same thing. I have gained a lot of weight from my meds, Cymbalta to be specific, and I was always an extremely tiny person before! I Was always skinny and petite and now I am not. At first I was eating the same as I always had, very little like a bird, and was gaining weight. Me and my mom couldnt understand how I could possibly be gaining weight without eating more. Now the fat on my body tends to believe it needs food so I do eat a bit more. I feel the same way, i can't exercise because I feel so horrible and spend most of my day in bed. After I eat I have to lie down because of how bad I feel, with the pain, nausea and bloating, but of course that doesn't help the motility. I'm 26, live with my parents, can't leave the house, and therefore don't have a good chance of finding someone and getting married. It's definitely depressing. My Cymbalta helps my pain so I can't go off it, however I was finally able this week to cut it down a bit. Id almost rather increase my narcotics just to get off this stuff. But even going off won't help the weight because it's already been put on. I wish when you stopped the meds, the weight would fall right off. I am hoping once the weather is much better that I will be able to go outside for a walk with my puppy every once in awhile and that that will help, I'm also trying to eat a bit less. It definitely isn't fun. Glad to know there are people in the same boat, and that I'm not the only one with GP that is not underweight, but gaining weight instead. Hopefully we will be able to change whatever it is that is causing the weight gain.

GraceGrace - ask your doctor why he feels the need to redo the gastric emptying study and explain that you don't feel it's necessary as it cant change anything, and you know you will experience pain with having to lie down for 90 min. Don't bother doing it if u don't feel it's necessary and the doctor doesn't give you a good reason as to why he wants you to do it. The test won't change anything, you still have GP and no matter if the time is different by a little more or a little less, it won't be able to help with anything. If your stomach is slow, it's slow. Best of luck!

Evictionofpancreas - it's nice to see another young face on here. Althought at the same time, it also makes me feel for you! You're so young to have your life taken from you like this. Hope you recover well after your surgery! Good luck!

~ Brandi

Report post

I also have GP and initially before diagnois I also gained weight over a four year period of 50 pounds. And then it went the other way and I lost 50 in a year. I also feel this must have something to do with hormones, thyroid, etc. But doctor has told me all my thyroid test have come back within normal ranges. I still think there must be something there being missed. My diet for the past two years now consists of Orgain protein drinks (seems to be the only drink that I can tolerate); green smoothies; soups; mashed potatoes; cream of rice - I know I can eat a little chicken, fish - but sometimes it will make me nausea. But on the positive side - I know I could eat anything, just know I will be nauseated - it's not going to kill me LOL.
If you haven't found Crystal Saltrelli Living well with Gastroparesis yet - please check out her websitehttp://livingwithgastroparesis.com/ . Full of great information and she has a couple of great books. She was a life saver for me when I was first diagnoised a couple of years ago.

Report post

Thanks BrandiFaith: I am going to do exactly as you suggested and ask the Dr. why he wants to do the Gastric Emptying Study given the results won't change the lack of treatment options & that I can't lay down for 90 mins.

Thank you also Pikvas, for sharing the information about Crystal Saltrelli Living well with Gastroparesis. I appreciate the info.

Wishing everyone well, who is on this site! May God strengthen each of you for your journeys!

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

Advertisement

Advertisement

Discussion topics

Helpful links from AGMD

Community leaders