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July 2, 2024

How to Live Well with Gastroparesis

by Jovanna Orozco, MS, RDN, LDN

Gastroparesis, also known as “delayed gastric emptying,” is when the stomach takes longer to move its contents into the intestines. This can cause the formation of bezoars – solid blocks of food that can cause nausea, vomiting or discomfort in the intestines. This can also cause feelings of fullness earlier than usual, stomach pain and bloating.

Gastroparesis has become more common with increased cases of diabetes and the recent widespread usage of weight loss medications. One study estimates that about 24 out of 100,000 people in the U.S. has gastroparesis, with even more people possibly undiagnosed.

So, what can you do if you feel like you fall into this category? Of course, we recommend you talk to your provider or doctor about your symptoms, and they can make sure you get the right diagnosis. If you do have gastroparesis, here are some things that can help you manage your symptoms and help you feel better.

Management Tips for Gastroparesis


  • Eat small, frequent meals and snacks throughout the day as opposed to large meals. Larger meals can cause more bloating, pain and discomfort.
  • Incorporating softer foods and smoothies are easier to digest and can provide many nutrients in one meal!
  • Watch your fiber and fat intake if needed. These things can slow down digestion further and increase your symptoms of gastroparesis.

Practice Mindful Eating

  • Eat slowly and pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues.
  • Eat in a calm, stress-free environment to help you pay attention. Eat before you get too hungry and stop when you are feeling satisfied, before you get too full.

Plan Ahead

  • Having a plan for meals and snacks can help ensure you have the foods that work for you. This way you are less likely to go for those convenience or fast foods that are high in fats!
  • Meal prepping may not be for everyone, but having some prep can be helpful. Consider chopping up fruits and vegetables for snacks, batch cooking proteins or grains to help you stick to your food plan.

Hydration Tips

  • Sip on fluids throughout the day instead of large amounts at one time. This can sit in your stomach and cause you to feel more uncomfortable and can disrupt your small meal and snack schedule.
  • Reduce carbonated beverages. Fizzy drinks can cause more bloating and discomfort. Drink more water, herbal teas, or other enhanced drinks for adequate hydration.

Stress Management

  • For some people, stress can cause stomach issues to flare up. Practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can all help lower stress levels.
  • Gentle movement like walking and stretching can help lower stress, improve your health, but also improves stomach movement and digestion!
  • Get enough sleep. Aiming for 7-9 hours can also help lower stress and improve your nutritional habits the next day. Who wants to prepare healthy foods when they’re tired?!


  • When the stomach moves too much or not enough, this can affect how well your body absorbs certain vitamins or minerals. Ask your doctor if you need to take any supplements. A dietitian can also help you with this!
  • Monitor your iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D and calcium if you are concerned. A daily multivitamin can help you cover your bases, and liquid supplements may be a better choice.

If you have severe gastroparesis and have found it difficult to manage your symptoms, please talk to your doctor to explore other therapies.

For more assistance or to know how to balance these nutrition recommendations with your unique needs and challenges, reach out to an Avance Care dietitian! Please visit here for more information, or call (919) 237-1337, option 4, to speak to a nutrition coordinator.

We also provide additional support to our patients through a Gastrointestinal (GI) Support Group. In this support group, we work with specialists from nutrition, gastroenterology, behavioral health, and more to provide you information on living with and managing an array of GI conditions and symptoms. This support group also provides a space for individuals with GI conditions to connect and discuss personal health experiences, and is completely free.

Ask your medical provider, dietitian, or behavioral health specialist about the GI support group and how you can get involved!

Or you can visit here to fill out an interest form and someone will be in touch soon to get you started.



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