Gastroparesis remission


#1

It’s now been seven years since I received the diagnosis of gastroparesis (GP). Here’s my gatroparesis post on TuD from seven years ago. The diagnosing doc told me that my GP was moderate but not insignificant. My symptoms included diarrhea, heartburn, and GERD.

This was the event that led to me adopting my low carb way of eating. I took hope from Dr. Bernstein’s assertion that GP can be put into remission with sustained normal blood sugars. Dr. B was able to reverse his GP symptoms but he did say it took years to heal.

Last fall I initiated several health changes including reducing my daily carbs to < 30 grams/day. I also started meditating and doing guided breathing exercises daily. My naturopath advised me to include a good size serving of vegetables with every meal.

I hesitated to write this report since I don’t want to jinx what appears to be success. I have not had an episode of diarrhea in 2-3 weeks. My #2’s look more like they did before my GP diagnosis. I hold great hope that this trend will continue.

One of the things I discovered when my GP dominated my digestion was that eating a meal like steak often caused digestion problems. I think the stomach was unable to perform well its mechanical pulsing and squeezing and that led to the food spending too much time in the stomach. The incredible sounds my stomach made were unnerving! I gave up eating steaks but did Ok with ground beef.

Last night I had a six ounce steak with sauteed onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. It was not only delicious but my stomach and digestion proceeded without any distress, at all. My overnight BGs were excellent and I slept well.

It looks like my GP has gone into remission. I am so grateful that my focussed efforts have paid off.

I wanted to share this especially with those here who also struggle with GP. I think Dr. Bernstein is right. GP can be put into remission but it can take a long time. It’s been 7 years for me. I think the addition of veggies to every meal played a significant role in tipping me toward a healthier digestive tract. More normal BGs, however, took a long time to exert its positive influence.

We’re all different and I respect each person’s experience. I just wanted to share my story since it might help others to sustain their reach for better health. It’s never too late to restore efforts to control blood glucose better.


#2

Thats great news! I had a buddy with terrible GP. He had surgery. I’m glad you were able to avoid that. He’s also doing fine, but I know it was very unpleasant.


#3

Glad to hear that Terry. GP is a terrible complication.


#4

That’s wonderful to hear! I hope your symptoms stay away.

I’m interested to hear you say your symptoms were primarily diarrhea, GERD, and heartburn. I’ve had ongoing problems with diarrhea for several years now and have a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome. (I have had a colonoscopy to rule out serious causes, and will have them every five years since I have a family history of colon cancer.) At my last gastroenterology appointment I asked if my problems could be due to diabetes, and my doctor said yes especially since I’ve had diabetes for a long time, but I didn’t think diarrhea alone was a symptom of GP. Right now he’s trialling me on some medication to see if it helps, and if it does it could mean it’s due to a problem called bile acid malabsorption. He said all the potential causes are pretty benign aside from it obviously being disruptive to my daily life, and he’s not at all keen on expensive testing unless there’s an acute need, so I may never know for sure what the cause is. But your post makes me think maybe I will dig deeper into the possibility of GP if this new medication or other medications we might try after this one don’t help.


#5

Thank-you @mohe0001, @Jim26 and @Jen for your encouragement and response.

Jen, I started taking a drug called low-dose naltrexone that is often used to treat irritable bowel syndrome and Chron’s. This is a drug that is formulated at a compounding pharmacy.

People with GP also complain of vomiting episodes. It didn’t happen to me but I did feel a little queasy a few times. I think a GP-compromised digestive system would lead to chronic malabsorption of vitamins and minerals.

I’m so happy to be relieved of this burden. I sure hope it endures.


#6

I don’t understand the mechanics of how diarrhea could be a primary symptom if GP? Vomiting and gerd are clear connections to me…


#7

GP is caused by the degradation of the parasympathetic nervous system between the brain and all of the digestive organs. The main nerve in this system is called the Vagus nerve and has many branches. This causes confused signaling and it impairs the motility of the entire GI tract. GP not only causes diarrhea but constipation as well.

Hyperglycemia is known to damage the autonomic nervous system.


#8

Terry4,
I’m really glad you are in remission. That means there is hope for me yet. I’ve also had it for about 7 years, with pain, nausea and vomiting being my symptoms.

Over the last year things have been much worse, enough so to put me in the hospital with dehydration. It was a good thing because they ran tests and determined that my gall bladder was on the blink and needs to come out. Gall bladder and GP have the same symptoms for me.

Maybe once the gall bladder comes out the GP will settle down too. Like you I low carb, though I stay under 48g daily. And I only eat one meal a day, no red meat or anything heavy. I drink Glucerna at lunch for the calories and supplements. It also helps me keep good bg control.

GP is horrible. I hate that feeling of an unmoving rock in my stomach, the rotten egg burps. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone


#9

I wish you the best, @CalderonsGD. Your symptoms sound miserable. All I can say is to stay hopeful and keep trying to push back against GP. How you choose to respond matters!


#10

This is beneficial for anyone, regardless of other health issues, and benefits the whole body.


#11

Food really is medicine!


#12

Terry4, how much do you believe the LDN supplement actually contributed to your getting better rather than the change in diet? I have neuropathy (from Type II diabetes) and tried it for 3 months, but it did not make a difference for me. I have heard LDN helps more with autoimmune disorders.


#13

That’s a good point. I started taking LDN on February 7 and my GP symptoms disappeared since then. I don’t notice any obvious positive results from taking LDN but the time frame suggests it could have helped. I think it’s hard to attribute with my addition of vegetables to every meal starting last November. Maybe the gut changes that caused took a few months to take effect.

LDN success with treating Chron’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in many people makes me wonder about LDN and GP since GP shares many of the digestive symptoms with Chron’s and IBS.

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to attribute with confidence whether one factor predominates in my GP remission or possible it’s a combination of the LDN, increased vegetable consumption and long-term normal blood sugars. Perhaps if I stop taking LDN and the GP symptoms return, that could provide persuasive evidence of its efficacy. Either way, I’m thrilled to recover an important aspect of my health.


#14

congratulations Terry on your recovery.
I am 20yr type 2 diabetic. My A1c numbers are less than 6.6, but I take long acting insulin as precaution and as prescribed by Dr Bernstein (I saw him in 2008). I had a six month episode of mild indigesation and diarrhea last year. I am much better now, but my digestion capability of meat is very poor. As such, I only eat carbs and veges. Thanks for pointing out the possiblity of GP. I probably had mild GP and may be that is why it took 6-7 months for diarrhea to abate. Thanks to you, I will double down on my efffort to contol BG. I agree there is no other solution. thanks again


#15

Terry. I love your posts.

I really think we can reverse some of our complications if we normalise our BGs, even after many years. And I think your story and Dr Bernsteins are wonderful examples of this. And your mentioning that it took seven years is important.

I’ve been reading about how glomerular remodelling and tubular remodelling (kidney) occurs 10 years after pancreas transplantation in people with t1d. It takes a long time but it’s fascinating that it can occur.

I started looping with OpenAPS nine months ago and my HbA1c finally reduced from an average of 8.5 for the best part of 38 years, to the low 6s. If I’d known about low carb I think I could have got some much better results years earlier, but I was on a carb rollercoaster and despite my best efforts could not control my BGs due to high insulin sensitivity and extreme BG volatility.

Anyhow, I’m raving on :slight_smile: But I think it’s a great time for people to feel positive about what might just be in store in the future. And I’m so glad for the newbies that times have changed finally and we have great tech and great advice these days.

A lot of it comes from people like you.


#16

Thank-you for your kind words.

Happy to read that OpenAPS is helping you. I find automated insulin delivery not only offers better control but takes much less effort and attention. It boosts quality of life.


#17

I had a similar form of it, without the diarrhea. Six months ago I began a regime of walking 10,000 or more steps a day in a very hilly community, with one or two days rest. My symptoms of gastroparesis have almost disappeared and my A1c is down to 6.3.

I have to zero out my basal before start of walking till a little after returning home. So far, I haven 't been able to complete the walk without having to eat fast acting carbs like an apple or soft candy. That is how heavy is the exercise I’m doing. I also must admit, it’s so far difficult to know how much insulin to take for dinner. I will get that worked out. It depends on what hills I choose to walk that day. I also am half way toward my weight goal.


#18

I understand OpenAPS requires an older Medtronic pump, MiniMed Paradigm REAL-Time 522/722 or older. Is that correct? I have the 530g and understand it won’t work with the system.


#19

I’m so happy to hear you’re doing better, @Terry4!

Gastroparesis is brutal and I too suffer from a mild form of it and I hear it’s quite common amongst us old-timer T1s.

Like you, I was also able to reduce the frequency of symptoms by eating very strict low carb for a few years but so far I haven’t been able to eliminate them completely so at least a few times a year I will experience bouts of it that include symptoms like going low post a meals, then what appear to be BG spikes 8-10 hours later. I also get nauseated after meals and unfortunately the last time I experienced GP I ended up feeling so sick at 4-5am that I threw up what seemed like a day’s worth of completely undigested meals. Immediately after that episode my BG spiked rapidly (I was very stable all night long until then).

I also have some of the other symptoms you mentioned, all come and go.

Dr Bernstein says it can take up to a decade of nearly perfect BG numbers to reverse this complication so I’m sticking with it! Thanks for sharing your story and progress, it’s very encouraging to read! :pray::raised_hands:


#20

I’m familiar with your glucose control and surprised you struggle with GP, too. Diabetes sucks in so many ways! Good luck with your continued focus on keeping glucose in range. I hope to read in the future your report on GP remission.