How to gain weight with Gastroparesis

Has anyone had success in gaining weight while suffering from gastroparesis? If so, how did you do it, both in food choices and amounts?

I've been suffering from gastroparesis for four years but only two months ago found out I had it. The two hour gastric emptying test revealed that 45% of the meal moved on while it should be at least 60%, preferrably 80%. My GI doc said that my emptying rate is not bad enough to warrant motility drugs, but despite this I tried Reglan but had massive anxiety attacks so I stopped. I also had an H.pylori infection but took antibiotics for 2 weeks and it should be dead now. The big problem is I am losing weight and cannot seem to gain weight, let alone maintain. I'm 23yrs old, 5'10, and was 144lbs on Jan 8th but as of this morning I'm 122lbs.

I am literally slowly killing myself and hate it because I get stomach pains and/or nausea so bad that I cannot eat. I am constipated most of the time but once every week or so I have a massive bowel movement, likely due to all the buildup of crap in my body due to the gastroparesis. I feel tired, weak, and out of it most days due to this and the fact that my sleep is bad due to my stomach issues. I've tried ensure, boost, and glucerna, but they make it worse so I don't drink any calories. I can eat well for a couple days but then it all goes downhill for one or two after that. I think I have SIBO but am not sure, is the test for it complicated?

I'm just so frustrated and looking for some help and guidance. I am currently working as a credit analyst at a bank but I still live at home. I want to move away and get a different start and start my own life, but I am being held back by this. If anyone has any advice I'd greatly appreciate it.

Edited August 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm

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I was able to at least maintain, before I gained again after the stimulator placement, was by going on pretty much straight liquids. I used a couple of products from Nestle that pack in a good deal of calories in a small amount.

http://www.nestlenutritionstore.com/departments/supplemental-nutrition/calo ries/calories?catpath=supplemental+supplemental.4.2&start1=1&rows=1000

I used the Breeze and Benecalorie at the bottom, as well as Beneprotein under the protein supplements. I would mix one box of Breeze with one bottle of either diet ginger ale or sprite, to help cut the sweetness and help with the film the protein would leave behind.

The Benecalorie is only 1.5 ozs, and mixes into anything room temp or cold. Found out the hard way it DOESN'T mix in warm or hot items (separates and gets oily tasting). The Beneprotein is a powder that mixes into everything.

When I was using the Breeze, I didn't drink it all at once, but slowly sipped it over several hours. And I would slightly flatten the soda.

Diana

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I gained weight every time I eat human food but it would not take long to get a flare then I'll lose it all again. It's really hard to gain on GP food...unfortunately...I wish I could be more helpful...I have the same problem... HUGS!!!!

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Hi, I was continually losing weight , about 25 lbs, to 110. Then I went on Lyrica to control the retching and started gaining weight like crazy. Now I weigh 150- the most I have ever weighed in my life. It seems impossible to lose. I guess it is the Lyrica. I wish you the best.

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Is your GI doctor a motility specialist? Sound like you need a motility doc and a 4 hour emptying study to really get to the diagnosis. Without that, you can't move on with treatment options, such as domperidone for motility. Some providers use Remeron for nausea and it has a side effect of weight gain in some people and increased appetite. (I've been on it but did not regain any weight.)

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@my4heathens: The problem with supplement drinks is that most are filled with sugar, and I have found that alot of sugar does not sit well with me, which is why ensure, boost, and glucerna do not work. Benecalorie looks good though, I'll check the stores around me to see if they carry it, thanks for the suggestion!

@sapphire0698: I feel your pain. My scale shows like a 2-3lb gain after eating well for 5 days, but then I have a bad day calorie-wise and have a huge bowel movement and it's back to square one. I can see undigested bits of food, specifically any kind of carbs, in my stool, which suggest malabsorption, but I'm not sure what to do to help digest my food better.

@MerriJ: I don't throw up, I just have a feeling of nausea and don't want to eat some times, so not sure if I could be prescribed that. Once you stopped retching did you have an appetite again?

@Klprn: I don't think he is, but he is a well-known GI doc and was able to diagnose the issue. The problem is that in my talks with my doc he said that my emptying is not slow enough to warrant a motility drug, and it's best to avoid using them due to the severe side effects. Honestly, using Reglan was frightening, I wanted to tear my eyes out; that's how bad the anxiety was. But I know I need something. Is there a big difference between a 2 hour and 4 hour emptying study?

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Under the diabetic tab on the Nestle site, there is a supplement that is low in sugar, but haven't used it so don't know how it tastes or anything like that

Diana

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I will check that out, thanks my4heathens!

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A good protein drink that has lots of healthy nutrition, all good ingredients, not all sugary is Orgain. I had lost a lot of weight and was not able to gain it back until I started exercising again; then within a few weeks I gained back all of the weight I'd lost.

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Hi,
I am having the same problem with weight lose. I have lost 25 + & am still going down.I know that they say you are supposed to eat every 2 hours. That would be pretty near impossible for me to do. The meal replacement drinks don't agree with me. I think it is the soy. I am going to check out the Nestle Nut. store website. Thanks for the info.
You folks are the best!

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I don't throw up either. I physically am unable to due to my fundoplication. I just retch and retch retch continually without the Lyrica and phenergan. With the Lyrica I feel hungry most all the time, even when I am full. I think to suppress the gag reflexes it also suppresses the part of the brain that tells you that you are full . .Does that make sense ? . . often I am too nauseous to eat but still want to . . .

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Im a diabetic, so I use Boost, Calorie Smart. It has only 4 g of sugar...maybe you could try it.

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@Genghis: I checked that out and my Wegman's carries it, but it does have some sugar. It's less than the other MRP drinks so I'll try one, thanks!

@Redmoe: I cannot eat every 2 hours either. I just try to have three wholesome meals a day. Since my gastroparesis is not AS bad, I can do this, but eating more frequent meals doesn't happen for me because my stomach empties too slowly.

@MerriJ: That does not sound enjoyable at all, sorry to hear you go through that. It does make sense, and I get the same feeling with nausea but wanting to eat since my body is starved for nutrients. It just sucks that I cannot feed it at times.

@bsuthn36229: I have never heard of the calorie smart version, I'll see if the Wegmans or Target near me carries it.

Thanks all for the advice, it's been very helpful!

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These are some places that carry calorie smart boost: Walmart, Walgreens, CVS (probably all drug stores, sometimes they are on sale), HEB. I dont know about wegmans and I looked online for you at Target and I couldnt find it, but maybe they have it in the store. Let me know how it goes.

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IN MY CASE TPN SEEMS TO BE THE ONLY WAY I CAN GAIN WEIGHT.
I DON'T TOLERATE SUGAR, DAIRY OR FIBER AND MORE THAN 1 OR 2 BITES OF "REAL FOOD" PUT ME IN PUKEVILLE--SO I CAN'T GAIN BY EATING.
I HAVE A J TUBE AND WAS DOING ABOUT 1500 CALORIES A DAY AND LOSING SO I AM NOW ON TPN.
BUT HOPEFULLY YOU CAN FIND SOMETHING

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@bsuthn36229: Thank's for checking that out for me, I appreciate it. I checked Wegmans yesterday and could not find it, but I do have a CVS 15 minutes away so I'll check that out.

@ficklepickle: What's TPN?

Just wondering: can you guys tolerate oatmeal? Also, do you take Miralax? I've been taking it for five months but there's no way it can be good. I think it probably makes your digestion dependent on it, but my GI doc says it doesn't, but I've read online that it does....kind of confused.

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I hope you find the Calorie Smart Boost, it taste pretty good too.
I was wondering myself about oatmeal. I have eaten some twice and have the burps, but no diahrrea. Im on domperidone and it helps a lot with nausea. Thank God! But the ins. doesnt pay for it.
Do you guys know if I cant eliminate completely should I take some miralax? My brother is a pharmacist and he says that any drug that you take on a continuous basis will cause your body to become dependent, or in other words your body will need it to do that particular job. but who knows how much or how many times before that happens. I have that worry also.
I start back to work on Monday and Im so anxious. How am I going to teach and do 6 meals a day and go to the bathroom when necessary? I have a letter from my gi but who knows how administration will take it!

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Try Domperidone...it works somewhat for me! But ins doesnt pay for it.

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I got a script for domperidone but I honestly cannot stand side effects like the ones Reglan gave me, so I'm not going to try it. My understanding about gastroparesis is that, depending on the person and their symptoms, not completely emtpying the bowels is somewhat normal unfortunately. I suffer the same thing, and also was backed up alot, so my doc told me to take Miralax. I've been taking it for like 5 months now and think I am doing irreversible damage in that my body will depend upon it to have bowel movements. If your brother knows that for a fact then I would say use if sparingly if it gets bad enough but avoid it if you can help it.

Don't stress out about work, it will only make gastroparesis worse. Try to take things as they come, don't anticipate what will happen.

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I am slowly learning how to not stress out about everything, but it is hard. Should I take the drugs?
Should I eat this or should I eat that? I am not getting enough protein! I am not getting enough calories! Will I wind up in the hospital on TPN?
I was driving myself crazy, and definitely making myself sicker. JBSKI52 is right on the money. Try not to anticipate.
A friend of mine recently sent me a card with the following saying on it "Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength & joy". I read it everyday to try to keep me on track.
Praying for you all!

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Okay, for the miralax, yes, with anything you take often enough, your body can become dependent. However, because it's an osmotic (moves water into your bowel) and not a stimulant like senna or ducolax etc, you're less likely to become dependent. I have been taking it for over a year, and have had to increase it a couple times, but have not had any issues with it. I do tend to get stopped up if I miss more than 2 doses (I take 3 doses a day, all 3 at once mixed into a big water bottle, sipped throughout the day). But I also tend to barely get enough fluids in, so I tend to be dehydrated all the time anyway, which doesn't help when you miss those doses.

TPN stands for Total Parental Nutrition. It's nutrition through an central line. There is another version of it, PPN (Partial), for those who can tolerate SOME food but not enough to maintain. However, it is generally only given through a peripheral IV, so not very practical for at home like many here use TPN.

Diana

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