Does this sound like Gastroparesis? If not, what else?

I started a starch free diet several months ago due to severe abdominal bloating and distention that doctors have yet to discover a cause of. Initially when I went on the diet and even after a big meal I found myself starving only an hour later. Of course this was no surprise as my meal consisted of leeks, onion, celery, chicken/meat/fish, mushrooms, lettuce and cucumber. Being relatively young too at 24, I was bound to digest food at increased speeds to that of an older person. Anywho in the last month or so I've began noticing that after every dinner session, I'm getting a massive bulge in the top part of my abdomen (under rib cage), finding it very difficult to breathe, feeling nauseous and I feel like the food just dwells there for a good 6 hours before it proceeds downwards. The average time it takes for the bulge to move downwards and for me to be able to feel better is definitely about 6 hours as my meal time is always at 6pm and I usually feel better right around midnight. This is also happening with breakfast as of late. I've been suffering with a host of bizarre symptoms and as of yet no specialist has been able to shed a light on what's going on. I would like to add that I do not vomit nor experience pain. Lastly, I continue to feel starving even though my stomach feels full to the brink.

I'm grateful for any help!

Thank you

9 Replies

  • Do you keep the fat on the meat/fish/chicken? How big are the portions? How big are the vegetable portions?

  • The fat is always trimmed off and as for portions, all I can say is the portion size has been the same since I started on the starch free diet and I never had problems back then digesting it. In my point of view, I most probably would class my portion of food using the 'small', 'medium' and 'large' classification as something nearer to the large end.

  • The first point is that if you try to eat low fat on a low carbohydrate diet you are setting yourself up for a fall. It may seem a bit paradoxical, but it's rather like having to drink water to prevent water retention. You can only eat a limited amount of lean protein (otherwise vomiting, diarrhoea and even worse can follow). Eating low carb, as you do by eliminating starchy carbs, means you need to eat more fat.

    There are essentially two kinds of hunger you can feel. One is the lack of contentedness (often confused with fullness). This is rectified by eating sufficient protein and fat. The other is experienced as lack of energy and/or muscle weakness due to insufficient glycogen for the activities you do. Your body can make up a small deficit from protein and fat.

    Fibrous foods themselves can cause bloating and discomfort.

    You may well have a digestive problem, and that will need to be sorted with your GP. However, I would suggest you need to change the balance of your diet again. Reduce the portion sizes of your vegetables so that you are having no more than half of the inner section of a dinner plate. Eat about a palm size of protein (both in terms of area and thickness). The rest should be made up of sufficient natural fat to meet your weight maintenance needs.

  • Very helpful reply, thanks concerned !

  • Hi I have problems with my digestive system as many pain killers can interfere with the pattern on waves that the intestine pushes food through! I now find that I need to take high fibre drinks after meals quite often to "keep things moving" as I ended up in hospital with faecal impactation which was extremely unpleasant and was told it was due to pain killers! It was very painful and made my tummy look like i was pregnant! Not nice at all. :-/

    If you are on lots of pain relief maybe this is having an effect

    Madmagz x

  • Hi gaga :)

    This sounds like a number of potential things: small bowel bacterial overgrowth (hydrogen breath test); incorrect stomach acid levels/compilation (endoscopy/blood tests)(enzymes/acid) or possibly gastroparesis (stomach emptying test) am not a dr I imagine there's more possibilities too.

    I definitely think this is something you need to see a gastro to investigate.

    In the meantime, things that will help: drink a pint of water over the course of your meal between bites. Put down your fork between bites and chew for longer to assist your stomach and slow your eating. Reduce your portion right down and if you're still hungry an hour later have a second small portion. In terms of feeling hungry, this is something to investigate too but to help in the meantime: fats (good ones, such as animal fat, not transfats) and proteins are the most effective at alerting your body to being full (the receptors for these have a faster more effective feedback - remember fats don't make you fat and are very good for you and your digestion, and are the most "filling" in terms of your hunger messages to your brain) eating slowly and drinking water should also assist. The water will help your stomach process the food as will the more thorough chewing. As I said, this is just to assist you cope until you see your gastro. Good luck!

  • I would see your Gp for advice today, it could be several things.

  • Have you had a referral to a gastroenterologist? That would seem the sensible next step. I can relate to some of your symptoms and have just discovered (via an endoscopy) that I have a hiatus hernia. Although, of course, your symptoms could be caused by many other things.

  • The same thing is going on with me. Interesting. Even with a digestive enzyme taken with my dinner at 6...things don't move until 10 or 11, the following morning. I eat less so I don't get that bloated feeling. Just started reading a book about our need for healthy fat in our diets. Experimenting with ghee just this week. I wake up hungry in the middle of the night. I guess when my food is finally digested. I am glad to feel hunger again. I have not felt hunger for over a year. I eat another small healthy meal later if I get hungry. I may have a hiatal hernia as my brother and sister have who also have lupus. This makes our acid sit in the wrong spot. That's my theory anyway. the top half of the stomach is above the diaphragm , I think. Maybe that is where the acid sits and not in the other part of the stomach where the food ends up and then takes longer to digest. I need to see a gastro too. My sister who is a pediatrician says hiatal hernias can be fixed with surgery. Not an option for me as I have the worse health ins plan. Maybe eating many light meals a day with enzymes is sufficient to survive. Can be annoying, but I think it keeps me from eating too much. Good luck and would love to hear what you find out...feel better.

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