Gastric Emptying Study

This was originally posted to my blog, Diabetes Odyssey.

Let’s say you’ve been having some tummy troubles and your doctor has ordered a gastric emptying study. You have never had one of these studies so you are a bit nervous because you don’t know what to expect. No worries, I just had one done and I’m here to let you know what you can expect.

The first thing you need to know is that this study takes about four hours and there will be a lot of waiting time. Make sure to clear your day and bring along a book, crochet, phone, pillow, kitchen sink…or whatever you need to help pass the time.

Be prepared to stop taking any pain medications at least 48 hours prior to your test. Also, you will need to completely fast (and I mean absolutely no ingestion of anything whatsoever, food, water, pills, anything at all) for 8 to 12 hours prior to the test.

When you first arrive they may ask you to fill out a quick questionnaire that will ask things like what your symptoms are, if you are diabetic, what medications you take, if you followed the preparations for the test, etc.

You will be happy to know that the next thing they will do is feed you! I was given scrambled eggs, two slices of white bread toast with jam, and 9 oz. of water. The food is laced with a small amount of radioactive isotopes. This stuff makes the scans of your stomach clear enough to see the food activity.

They will tell you not to eat or drink anything else until the test is completed.

As soon as you are done eating they will do the first scan. You will be asked to stand between two imaging screens. You need to stand still for one whole minute while the picture is taken.

Then you are sent to the waiting room to pass thirty minutes of time…

After thirty minutes another scan is done, more standing still for one minute.

Then you are sent to wait for thirty more minutes…

After thirty minutes you are scanned again.

Then you are sent to wait for one whole hour…I hope your book is a good one…

After one hour you are scanned again.

Then you are sent to wait for two complete hours…Your blanket you are crocheting is just about done, right?

After two hours they finally do the last scan and now all you have to do is go home and wait for the results.

Good luck! :slight_smile:

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good to know, so it’s not invasive at all. just time consuming.

Looking forward to hearing about your test results…

Thank you for explaining this procedure . Good luck with the results. Nancy

Cool. Keep us posted on your updates if you don’t mind sharing - really curious to see what exactly they’re looking for/suspect.

This study is used to check for many different stomach related issues. For me personally they were testing to check how severe my gastroparesis is. The results came back with moderate gastroparesis. My doctor said everything I am already doing (blood sugar control, small portions, easily digested healthy foods, not laying down for two hours after eating, ect.) is good enough; I don’t need medication. And hopefully I can keep it from getting worse…or at least from progressing quickly.

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I am happy to hear that your gastroparesis has been clinically classified as “moderate” and not “severe”. Despite not having gastroparesis myself, I can empathize with your response to having your gastroparesis become an “official” diagnosis, even in the face of knowing that you already had it. As with your T1D and its other complications, your knowledge, determination, and healthy choices will continue to give it a run for its money.

It stands repeating: I so appreciate the support and inspiration you provide on this Forum, Tamra!

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