Request Demo

August is Digestive Tract Paralysis Awareness Month

Digestive Tract Paralysis Awareness Month, observed in August of each year, is a time to focus on important health messages about the diagnosis, treatment, and symptom management so that they can get back to living life without limitations caused by this debilitating condition. This includes improving understanding of gastroparesis to help patients and families manage the condition and encouraging preventive strategies.

This awareness campaign aims to raise awareness about digestive tract paralysis (DTP), an often-overlooked medical condition that causes painful stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is a chronic digestive disorder in which food moves too slowly through the stomach and intestines. People with DTP  may experience symptoms such as nausea, bloating, and abdominal pain that are relieved by eating small frequent meals. They may also experience constipation or diarrhea. It can be caused by diabetes or other autoimmune diseases like celiac disease or lupus; however, it can also occur for no known reason.

It is estimated that up to 20 million people in the United States may be affected by DTP at some point in their lives, and it affects 20–50% of the diabetic population. Its symptoms can dramatically impact the overall quality of life - negatively affecting work performance, family relationships, social interactions, mental health, and more.


What is Digestive Tract Paralysis?

Digestive Tract Paralysis refers to an erratic movement of certain parts of the digestive tract, which in turn poses challenges to the smooth operation of the gut. When you take in food, peristalsis ensures that the food is pushed down from your throat to other parts of the digestive system so that further action can be taken on the food material. This smooth movement of food through the system is lacking in individuals with digestive tract paralysis. The muscles cannot facilitate the push of the food further down for more action, thus slowing down its movement. This condition can manifest in either gastroparesis, partial paralysis of the stomach, or intestinal pseudo-obstruction, a paralysis of the intestines. The following are symptoms and treatments of digestive tract paralysis.


What are its Symptoms?

If you have digestive tract paralysis, you will notice several symptoms, including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling of satiety
  • Heartburn
  • Sweats
  • Lack of appetite

There are also several secondary conditions, including malnutrition and dehydration resulting from vomiting and lack of appetite. Individuals with chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction will present with constipation, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and loss of appetite. These symptoms, however, will not show at the same time and will, to a large degree, depend on the part of the small intestine that has been affected.



Knowing what causes bring about the condition is essential to find out how to treat it. Both conditions of digestive tract paralysis have an array of causes associated with each, most of which are common. They can either be triggered by a problem in the nervous system or the loss of muscle function. In some cases, these disorders can be inherited. Likewise, individuals who have undergone treatments for chemotherapy or even illnesses like Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis can easily get the disease.

Most treatments of this ailment focus more on easing the symptoms. Aside from medication, changes in eating patterns are some of the approaches used to combat both conditions of digestive tract paralysis. A good chunk of relief comes when the digestion is sped up by watching your diet. For instance, you should avoid fats and fiber. Fats lead to the production of certain hormones that impedes digestion, while fiber generally is slow to be digested. Better still, have small meals at regular intervals to hasten digestion.

Medication, on the other hand, often depends on specific symptoms. If you present with nausea, then you will be given anti-vomiting medication. Similarly, when you present with diarrhea, kinetic comes in handy. Prokinetic drugs are also vital in improving bowel movements and reducing nausea and bloating. In more advanced cases, you may need hospitalization, where you will be given intravenous nutrition for some time before you can manage the condition on your own. Studies are also still underway to test the viability of specific treatments. There are also a variety of approaches that can work excellently to bring relief. If you suffer from this condition frequently, you have a transient condition triggered by stress. Meditative chanting, among other activities, can help to relieve stress and ultimately digestive tract paralysis.


Filed Under: Events, awareness, event, gastroenterology