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Sunday, March 31, 2019

Writing a Gastroparesis Book - And Need Your Help

So, I have been debating on whether or not to write a GP book for years, now. The reason I haven't done so yet is that I remember what it's like not to have health insurance and having to choose between the doctor and medications for the month or rent. However, I have put most of the pertinent information online for free, in my blog. I am working on my outline at present, before I start writing. I want to make sure I cover a lot of ground, and I do not want to lose focus on that.

I don't believe in profiting off of sick people. If this book does sell well, and that's a shot in the dark, I don't need the money so I could send it to a foundation I trust. That's if it sells well. If it does, maybe I can start a 501(c)3 in Atlanta, and expand across GA to help people to get to doctor's appts, fight with their ins companies for them, help them get assistance or something like that. But, if it went to a great cause, like helping others in the community find rides cheaply or at no cost to them, people who could help with insurance hangups, someone to fight for you with your doctor, I mean, I've got a lot of ideas. Please fill out the form below if you are interested in helping me. I will be glad to give credit where credit is due. I really do appreciate this, because I am so tired of losing friends. We need some help and I'm not saying I'm that person, but I'm going to try my best to write something helpful, and maybe it will be published. I hope if it is, that even if they just sell one, I hope it goes to the doctor/scientist who will do research for us. That's my fantasy. I try to remain optimistic. But, the form is below. Just fill that out and again, thank you.

If you would like to contact me about the questions above, what I should include, and/or if you want to send me your personal stories with photos (I already have photos people have sent me of them before and after GP, which you can do too - or I'm working on a project on my page Gastroparesis - Emily's Stomach, "A Day in the Life of a GPer" which is an event that shows GPers without make up, hair done, no airbrushing or anything, just how we look daily with GP, if you want to send a picture like that. It's up to you).

You can email it to me at:

I know that this research is NOT scientifically accurate because I do not have access to your medical records or anything, but I still have A LOT of your Progressional Timelines that I wanted to graph and insert into the book. I would like you to email your timelines to me, but please let me know it's OK to for me to use your timeline results in my book, let me know how you want me to use your name, or if you would like me to change your name. I need a valid email address you're mailing it from, just in case I have any follow up questions. Your personal information will be respected because I respect privacy.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in (I was trying to find a correlation in us all), you can find out more information about it here:

I'm hoping, that even though my research is thorough, but not scientifically accurate, that someone will read the book who has the power to make this scientifically accurate and start up a research project.

I'm sure I may think of other questions and things later, but I REALLY appreciate any help you guys can spare. I'm going to include a very special thank you page to each person who emails me to help me with this. I believe in giving credit where credit is due. You guys are amazing and I really hope once I sit down to write this, that somehow, it will get to the right person who can do research for better treatments for us. It's not enough to survive, we need to LIVE too!

Follow me:

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Benefits of Cannabis for Gastroparesis and Other Chronic Illnesses

I was asked recently why I share and promote medical studies, clinical trials, but never anything about medical marijuana or cannabis? I am not against cannabis one bit, and I want to make that very clear. The issue is, I have not been able to write as much as I have wanted to lately, due to hospital stays, and surgeries. My spine is deteriorating quickly because of the repetitive bending I do when I vomit. It is a reflex, so I cannot stop myself from doing so, though I have tried. Today, I had an RFA, which the video below goes into detail about and the surgical procedure:

I want to write an article later about secondary effects Gastroparesis has on your body, like the fact it is deteriorating my spine from repetitive bending to vomit, but today, I want to talk about the health benefits of medical marijuana.

Image Source: On the Image

I have had this pain for a while in my spine. The doctor gave me medication, of course, but the one thing that helps me with the pain, the nausea, and the vomiting from my Gastroparesis is cannabis. It is NOT legal in Georgia yet, though Atlanta has decriminalized it. Here are the states cannabis is legal in:

Image Source: HERE


"Medical Marijuana For Gastroparesis

Updated on January 25, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist

Image Source: In Article

Image Source: On Images

Dr. Thomas Strouse, talks about the benefits of cannabis and chronic pain:

Marijuana for Gastroparesis

Everyone has had an upset tummy before. However, some people experience severe and chronic nausea and vomiting due to certain conditions such as gastroparesis, and this gets in the way of living a quality life. Thankfully, medical marijuana and gastroparesis treatment is available and could be a good option for you to help ease your nausea, vomiting and other gastroparesis-related symptoms.
What Is Gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis is a disorder affecting your stomach’s motility, or spontaneous muscle movement. You usually have strong muscle contractions capable of pushing your food through your body’s digestive tract. When you’re suffering from gastroparesis, this motility slows down or might not even work altogether, which keeps your body from being able to empty your stomach properly.

Antidepressants, opioids and other specific medications can cause slow gastric emptying and induce similar symptoms. Allergy medications and high blood pressure can, as well. These medicines can worsen the condition for those with gastroparesis.

Gastroparesis can lead to symptoms such as:

Nausea and vomiting
Interference with normal digestion
Problems with nutrition
Problems with blood sugar levels

The cause of gastroparesis isn’t clear. In some cases, it’s a diabetes complication, while some individuals develop it following surgery. While there isn’t a cure for the disorder, you can find some relief with medication and dietary changes.

Potential causes of gastroparesis include:

Multiple sclerosis
Uncontrolled diabetes
Medications like some antidepressants and narcotics
Gastric surgery with vagus nerve injury
Parkinson’s disease

Rare disorders like scleroderma — a connective tissue condition that affects your skeletal muscles, skin, internal organs and blood vessels — may also cause gastroparesis.

Types of Gastroparesis

There are several ways to categorize gastroparesis.

Diabetic gastroparesis: Around 20 to 50 percent of lifelong diabetic patients experience gastroparesis — usually linked with other diabetes complications. In fact, diabetes mellitus is probably the most common condition leading to gastroparesis.

Post-surgical gastroparesis: Some patients experience symptoms after upper gastrointestinal tract surgery.

Idiopathic gastroparesis: There isn’t any noticeable abnormality causing the symptoms patients experience, although, in some situations, the symptoms started after an infectious event such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

History of Gastroparesis

The incidence of gastroparesis-related hospitalizations in the U.S. significantly increased between 1995 and 2004 — especially after 2000.
Symptoms of Gastroparesis

With gastroparesis, you may experience:

Feeling full for quite some time following a meal
Feeling full shortly after beginning a meal
Excessive belching or bloating
Poor appetite
Upper abdomen pain

The symptoms you experience can be severe or mild. Each person’s experience is different.

Effects of Gastroparesis

Several complications can arise from gastroparesis, including the following.

Malnutrition: Vomiting may hinder your body’s ability to absorb enough nutrients, since it prevents you from taking in adequate calories.

Severe dehydration: Dehydration results from ongoing vomiting.

Unpredictable changes in blood sugar: While gastroparesis doesn’t lead to diabetes, frequent alterations in the amount and rate of food passing into your small bowel can lead to unusual blood sugar level changes. These blood sugar level changes worsen diabetes, exacerbating the gastroparesis.

Undigested, hardened food stays in your stomach: When undigested food remains in your stomach, it can harden into a solid mass called a BEZOAR. These often cause nausea and vomiting and could threaten your life if they’re keeping food from reaching your small intestine.

Poor quality of life: Acute flare-ups of symptoms can keep you from working properly and being able to handle all your responsibilities.

Mental Effects

There’s a connection between gastroparesis, poor quality of life and significant psychological distress. Furthermore, symptoms of the condition adversely link with heightened depression and anxiety, as well as impaired quality of life. One study showed the rates of psychopathology in groups of individuals with gastroparesis ranged between 21.8 and 50 percent.

Image Source: On the Image

Gastroparesis Statistics

Statistics about gastroparesis, according to the Digestive Diseases Center, include:

Around 5 million people in the U.S. have gastroparesis.
Around 100,000 of them suffer from a more serious form of the condition.
Around 30,000 individuals don’t respond to treatment.
Twenty percent of Type 1 diabetes patients develop gastroparesis.

Current Treatments Available for Gastroparesis and Their Side Effects

To treat gastroparesis, the doctor first needs to identify and treat the underlying condition. For instance, if you have diabetes and it’s causing your gastroparesis, the doctor will give you treatment to help you control diabetes.
Changes to Your Diet

Proper nutrition plays a huge role in treating gastroparesis. Many individuals can keep their gastroparesis symptoms under control with simple changes to their diet. Your doctor may give you a referral to a dietitian who works closely with you in finding foods you can digest more easily, so you’re getting enough nutrients and calories from the food.

The dietitian may recommend you:

Chew your food thoroughly.
Eat smaller meals more often.
Try pureed foods and soups if it’s easier to swallow liquids.
Avoid well-cooked vegetables and fruits like broccoli and oranges, since they could cause bezoars.
Eat a mostly low-fat diet, adding small servings of fatty foods if you can tolerate them.
Avoid alcohol, carbonated drinks and smoking.
Go for walks or exercise gently after eating.
Don’t lie down for a couple of hours after each meal.
Take a multivitamin every day.
Drink lots of water every day.


Your doctor may prescribe you medications to treat the disorder, such as stomach muscle-stimulating medications like erythromycin and metoclopramide.

Side effects of erythromycin may include:

Slurred speech
Blurred vision
Unusual tiredness
Muscle weakness
Hearing loss
Signs of liver disease like yellowing skin or eyes, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain or dark urine
Drooping eyelids

Erythromycin can become less effective over time. (NOTE: This medication is also an antibiotic with the side effect of motility. I just wanted to interject in this article so that you would be aware that not only does it become less effective over time, but it is also an antibiotic, broad spectrum, that you may not want to build up an immunity to)

Side effects of metoclopramide may include:

A headache
Mental depression with thoughts of SUICIDE (NOTE: This medication, I wanted to interject again, can cause irreversible, neurological side effects. If you notice your hands shaking or anything like that, call your doctor immediately)

DOMPERIDONE, a newer medicine, is also available, but it comes with restricted access. It does have fewer side effects, though, which may include:

Abdominal cramps
Dry mouth

Your doctor may prescribe you medicine to keep your nausea and vomiting under control, such as diphenhydramine and prochlorperazine.

Side effects of prochlorperazine may include constipation, dizziness, anxiety, drowsiness, weight gain and more. Diphenhydramine (brand name Benadryl) may have side effects as well, such as drowsiness, dizziness, loss of coordination, dry eyes, upset stomach, blurred vision and more.

Finally, there’s another class of medications to help with nausea and vomiting. One example is ondansetron (brand name Zofran). Side effects may include:

A headache

Surgical Treatment

Some gastroparesis patients cannot tolerate any liquids or food. In these circumstances, the doctor will likely suggest inserting a FEEDING TUBE into your small intestine. They may also suggest a gastric venting tube that works by relieving gastric pressure.

The doctor can insert the feeding tube through your skin directly into your small intestine, or pass it through your mouth or nose. It’s typically temporary and only necessary if you can’t control your blood sugar levels with another method or if your gastroparesis is severe. Some individuals have to have the feeding tube through an IV going directly into their abdominal area and into a vein.

Alternative Treatments

Some people benefit from alternative treatments, but there aren’t a lot of studies on these. A few alternative treatments include the following.

STW 5 (Iberogast): A German herbal formula containing nine various herbal extracts. It eases digestive symptoms slightly better than a placebo.

Electroacupuncture and acupuncture: The specialist inserts very thin needles at strategic points of your body through your skin with acupuncture. With electroacupuncture, the specialist uses a small electrical current that passes through the needles.

Rikkunshito: A Japanese herbal remedy also containing nine herbs. It’s supposed to help decrease the feeling of being full after a meal and reduce abdominal pain.

How and Why Marijuana Can Be an Effective Treatment for Gastroparesis

Published clinical trials don’t yet exist for marijuana and gastroparesis. However, medical weed successfully alleviates digestive complaints like nausea. People have used cannabis derivatives to treat cancer.

Since people historically have smoked marijuana as their ingestion method, some worry about its potential for addiction and harm, like with tobacco smoke. However, one particular patient claimed he made the switch to cannabis and used a vaporizer to smoke it. He claimed the herb helped him keep his food down and he gained back the weight he lost when he was on the medication Marinol.

In February 2015, Current Gastroenterology Reports published a review examining cannabinoids and their place in treating gastrointestinal symptoms such as visceral pain, nausea and vomiting. Researchers in the review found targeted cannabinoid therapy could aid in GI disorder/disease management.

Image Source: On the Image.

The researchers noted endocannabinoid system (ECS) modulation, particularly the cannabinoid CB1 receptors located in the gastrointestinal system, could regulate:

Nausea and vomiting
Food intake
Stomach protection
Stomach secretion
The GI disorder-causing inflammation process
Ion transport: secretion and absorption such as maintaining adequate electrolyte/fluid balance
GI movement/motility: constipation with too little movement, or diarrhea with too much movement
The number of GI tract cells: Too many cells could be an indication of cancer or some disease process, while tissue injury can result from too few.
Internal organ sensation

This is a documentary about Medical Cannabis and Its Impact on Human Health:

The researchers also noted CB2 receptor modulation typically found in immune system cells, which prevent or help your body recover from injury or sickness, can help:

Reduce internal sensation and pain
Control certain GI illness-related inflammation
Regulate movement/motility

What Side Effects and Symptoms of Gastroparesis Can Medical Marijuana Treat?

As noted in the above-published review, cannabis and gastroparesis treatment can help with symptoms such as:

Nausea and vomiting
Poor appetite
Insomnia or other sleeping problems
Internal pain
Immune system modulation

Image Source: On the Image

It also helps with anxiety and depression, thereby improving quality of life.

The THC and CBD cannabinoids directly interact with your body’s ECS receptors to affect things such as your appetite, mood, tolerance to pain and more. A little alteration in the amount of CBD and THC in your cannabis allows you to customize your medical marijuana and gastroparesis treatment to effectively help treat your symptoms.

Image Source: On Image

Here are some videos explaining CBD oil and the benefits and side effects in regards to using it:

Several states have approved severe nausea as a qualifying condition for the use of medical marijuana.
Best Strains of Marijuana to Use for Gastroparesis Symptoms and Their Side Effects

Certain weed strains to treat nausea effectively. These include:

Blueberry Diesel (Indica-dominant hybrid)
Lavender (Indica-dominant hybrid)
Blue Dream (Sativa-dominant hybrid)
Super Lemon Haze (Sativa-dominant hybrid)

Other potentially helpful marijuana and gastroparesis strains include:

Crystal Coma (Sativa): Good for pain, depression and inflammation
Black Mamba (Indica): Good for anxiety, depression, pain, insomnia and inflammation
Goo (Indica): Good for pain, nausea, insomnia, stress, lack of appetite and gastrointestinal disorder
Blueberry Nuken (Indica): Good for a gastrointestinal disorder, nausea, lack of appetite, insomnia, stress and pain

Image Sources: On the Images

Best Methods of Marijuana Treatment for the Side Effects and Symptoms of Gastroparesis

Along with choosing your cannabis and gastroparesis strain, you also need to decide on the best delivery method. Each delivery method provides its effects. Through trial and error, you’ll be able to find the most suitable method to get the most out of your treatment.

Smoking or vaping: Inhaling cannabis gives you the fastest effect, and when you’re feeling nausea, you want instant relief. Keep in mind, both smoking and vaping release harmful toxins, but vaping doesn’t produce as much as smoking. If you can wait a little bit for the effects of your treatment to kick in, you might want to try a different method, such as the following.

Patches: Patches release medication directly into your bloodstream. You’ll need to wait for the buildup of the effect, but this buildup makes them an excellent extended-release treatment.

Tinctures: Try using a cannabis tincture in a tiny proportion, like two milliliters. Before and after each meal, take a teaspoon of the cannabis tincture to help decrease indigestion and aid in a healthy tummy.

Edibles: Edibles can take more than an hour for you to feel their effects. However, if your stomach is causing your nausea, consuming edibles will go straight to the source.

Start the Medical Marijuana and Gastroparesis Relief Process

Becoming educated is a great way to begin your marijuana and gastroparesis treatment experience. After you’ve learned all the essentials, you can increase your knowledge about medical cannabis, either through doing further research or by contacting a marijuana specialist.

Once you’re ready, look up your state’s laws on medical weed. Then, it’s time to select a cannabis doctor who works closely with you to find the perfect medical cannabis treatment and continue an ongoing relationship with you. Then choose your dispensary you wish to get your marijuana products from — try out our huge database.

If you’re interested in getting more information on how to use medical weed to treat your gastroparesis or other stomach problems, book your appointment today with one of our recommended cannabis doctors in your area.


Mayo Clinic Radio did a show about medical marijuana,

Image Source: On the Image

According to P1707 - Cannabinoids Lead to Significant Improvement in Gastroparesis-Related Abdominal Pain,

According to HERBAN PLANET,

"How can Marijuana Help with Gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis is a condition where the spontaneous movement of the muscles in the stomach does not function properly. It is also known as delayed gastric emptying. Gastroparesis is actually a disorder which stops or slows down the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. The SYMPTOMS OF GASTROPARESIS include a feeling of fullness after eating a meal in a very small amount, vomiting, nausea, pain in stomach, acid reflux, and abdominal bloating.

There are different treatment methods being used to cure gastroparesis including the dose of antibiotics. However, the use of antibiotics can cause more health problems than it treats. Antibiotics wipe out even the good bacteria needed to digest and absorb the food.

Causes of Gastroparesis


DIABETES – Diabetes is the most common medical condition related to the development of gastroparesis. Gastroparesis can be a side effect of diabetes.

Damage to VAGUS NERVE – A damage caused to a nerve (vagus nerve) that controls stomach muscles, may lead to gastroparesis.

Undigested Food – Undigested food left in the stomach may cause gastroparesis.

Among the different treatment methods applied and used to cure gastroparesis, the best cure lies with the use of marijuana. Some people and health experts emphasize on the natural ways of curing gastroparesis. The natural ways to cure gastroparesis include the use of Aloe Vera, probiotic foods, apple cider vinegar, vitamin D and some others.

Marijuana may be known as a narcotic but it is actually more powerful than it seems. For people suffering from gastroparesis, marijuana can be very helpful if consumed in a balanced proportion. Marijuana promotes the digestion of food and helps repair the vagus nerve. Not only does marijuana promote the digestion of food, it also helps removing the signs of gastroparesis including nausea, pain in stomach, abdominal swelling etc. Marijuana promotes hibernation and relaxes the stomach and its muscles. As a result of which gastroparesis is eased in a very small period of time as compared to other ways of treatment.

Appropriate Dose of Marijuana

The dosage of cannabis or marijuana depends on different factors like gender, age, health, and physique. It is advisable to visit a doctor if marijuana is legalized in your state and you are a license holder of marijuana. The doctor will advise you the right amount of marijuana that will help you in your fight with gastroparesis.

You can also use cannabis tincture in a very small proportion i.e. 2ml. A teaspoon of marijuana tincture right before or after a meal will help to reduce indigestion and promote a healthier stomach. However, it is advisable to maintain a healthier diet that is not very hard or heavier for the stomach.

Excess of everything is bad. Marijuana has immense benefits for human health but all the benefits are dependent on the fact that marijuana is consumed in a balanced proportion."

Image Source: In the Image

This is a 2017, BBC Documentary on Cannabis and its medical uses:

According to Practical Gastroenterology,


There was a Michigan Q&A (question and answer session) about medical marijuana and the effects it could have on certain conditions. There are medical experts who take part in this panel to discuss frequent questions people may ask about medical marijuana and the benefits it can have on certain chronic illnesses and different conditions. The video is below.

Doctors talk about medical cannabis use for IBD patients, chronic pain (the doctors noticed that people using medical marijuana used less opioids than other chronic pain patients), and talk about a lot of interesting information:

I have received some personal stories from people regarding medical marijuana and their chronic illness. I just want to say thank you for the emails and the people who have responded to my posts about this on my page, on Facebook, EmilysStomach.

Jay gave me permission to share his story, so I posted it below.

Jay writes,

"Medical marijuana has helped me tremendously!

I was diagnosed with gastroparesis about 5 years (typical gp story of weight loss, and a miserable existence), lupus (I stayed in bed almost 2 years) and hoshimotos [sic] (the fatigue was absolutely debilitating) and I've been on a host of all the typical medications for them all even have a gastric pacemaker.

My daughter started working at a dispensary here in Florida, she so adamantly begged me to just try it and I said NO. I had only 'smoked pot' in high school, and was not interested. Well my dr had put me on the fentanyl pain patch and it seemed to help for a little while until the paranoia and depression started, I tried to stop it...I couldn't and my dr suggested that I see about getting my medical card. I did.

The result was amazing, I can eat pretty much what I want and my mentality has improved as I feel like a completely different person now, doing things that I never thought I would be able to do. I am almost off of the patch now, another 2 weeks and I should be completely off of the fentanyl! Can I get a hallelujah! This has been the darkest time in my entire life and now I see light at the end of the tunnel!

Thank you so much for the support on Facebook! Please feel free to share or use for your purpose of educating people!"

Image Source: On the Image.

There is a condition that cannabinoids can cause, called CANNABINOID HYPEREMESIS SYNDROME. The link is attached if you would like to read more about it. I wanted to bring this up because I do want to point out the positives and negatives to medical marijuana use, so that you can make a fully informed decision about it as a treatment option. I would encourage you to do your own research as well, and I know everyone is different, everyone's illness is different, so what works for others may not work for you. I just want you to have as much information about medical marijuana as you can get, because it is still against federal law, though it has been legalized in many states now. When it comes to your health, and treatments for yourself, you cannot be too careful and I believe you should research any viable treatment option and make an informed, educated decision for yourself. There is so much information out there about medical marijuana, and this article only covers a small portion of the information out there. I have always been an advocate of medical marijuana, even though it is not legal in Georgia yet, the government has decriminalized it in Atlanta. I do hope that it will become legal in all states, because I do personally believe (and this is my opinion) that the benefits outweigh the risks to me. But, I do want to talk about the risks with marijuana as well, so you will know what issues it can cause.

Image Source: On the images.

Leafly has an article that states,
"How Cannabis Helps ‘Spoonies’ Soothe the Symptoms of Chronic Illness
Meg Hartley
May 17, 2019

Medical cannabis is known for its ability to quell seizures, dull pain, and squash anxiety. It can also aid people with less well-known—but not uncommon—conditions, ones that often come with a life-long sentence. We call ourselves 'spoonies.' In my case, fibromyalgia was the main force behind my conversion, but sadly there are a lot of ways to join the ranks.

The term was coined at a diner, when a lupus fighter named Christine Miserandino who tried to explain the challenges of living life with the disease to a friend. Her friend knew the facts, but wanted to know what it felt like as an ongoing experience—as a lifestyle. Christine was a bit stunned: trying to sum up the limitations that affect every single aspect of your life is an overwhelming task.

Cannabis is a very common medical aid and ally to spoonies, offering soothing powers to all kinds of symptoms through the power of the body-wide endocannabinoid system.

She then grabbed a bunch of spoons from surrounding tables. She handed her friend the utensil bouquet, telling her that life with chronic illness is like only having so many spoons to get through the day—far fewer than the average person. If she borrows from tomorrow, she might be able to swing what she needs to get done today; but tomorrow has just as few spoons, so she’ll run a high risk of running out. And running out of spoons/overdoing it means big-time symptom flares and even less spoons. Maybe for weeks.

Christine asked her friend to go through her day, removing spoons appropriately as each activity demanded: getting up, showering, getting dressed, eating, etc. Half of her friend’s spoons were gone before she even left the house. Christine told her she had to decide what to miss out on in order to conserve spoons—run errands or make dinner? Wash the dishes or your hair? See a friend or catch up on work?

Her friend became sullen and asked how she possibly dealt with those limitations every day, forever.

A Best Friend to So Many Kinds of Spoonies

Christine answered her friend’s serious question with a serious answer, and told her that spending her precious spoons chilling together was always a wise expenditure. Personally, I would have added: 'And there’s no effing way I could do it without cannabis.' Though it can’t give me desperately needed spoons, cannabis makes getting through a regular spoon-starved day a whole lot more palatable—and a full-blown flare less horrific.

Cannabis is a very common medical aid and ally to spoonies, offering soothing powers to all kinds of symptoms through the power of the body-wide endocannabinoid system. We’ll touch on five conditions that can turn someone into a spoonie, as well as how cannabis is said to help treat symptoms.


In the disease fought by Christine, the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissues, and organs. It affects many different systems, resulting in many different symptoms. These may include extreme fatigue, headaches, painful and swollen joints, fever, anemia, confusion and memory loss, swelling, pain in the chest with deep breathing, hair loss, light sensitivity, abnormal blood clotting, ulcers, and more—including very serious issues like organ failure.

Science is extremely behind the ball when it comes to studying how cannabis can assist chronic illnesses, and the lupus community has not been served in this effort. However, there has been promising resultsin regards to cannabis aiding other diseases that affect the immune system and inflammatory response. Lupus is nicknamed 'The Great Imitator' due to sharing symptoms with other diseases, and science has proven that cannabis aids in many of these shared symptoms. The next disease is one such example.


This is the bugger getting me down. Many kinds of physical pain are involved with this disease, whose cause is unknown. I could write a whole essay on the different kinds of pain, but instead I’ll share that when I broke (nay, shattered/comminuted fracture) my foot a while back I walked on it for ten days because it hurt less than the rest of my body, so I figured it was fine. Oops. And then there’s the mental confusion of 'fibro fog,' fatigue, insomnia, and other fun stuff like depression and IBS symptoms.

My dear friend cannabis helps ease the pain, turning cutting shards of glass in my body into warm melty goo. It aids in lifting my spirit, which helps me push through the exhaustion, then gets me to eat through nausea. When I can do no more—when I become spoon-less—cannabis helps me emotionally handle the extreme amount of rest dictated by this advanced stage of the disease. And science backs me up here, with one fibromyalgia study showing so much improvement using cannabis that half of the participants quit their other medications completely.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)

Referred to by some as chronic fatigue syndrome, ME causes severe exhaustion, a debilitating symptom that’s often minimized by culture and, deplorably, even by the medical community. The cause is unknown. Rest and sleep don’t improve overwhelming ME fatigue, and it worsens with physical and mental activity. Sufferers also battle headaches, poor memory, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, nausea, palpitations, insomnia, and sore throat or glands.

Unfortunately, science has not studied ME much in general, and not at all in relation to cannabis, but it has been recorded
as anecdotally helpful by scientists. Another fibromyalgia study also showed improvement in many overlapping symptoms. Because of the sedative effects of certain cannabis strains, it’s said that using an energizing strain during the day can be crucial factor in improving symptoms of ME. Modest dosing can also prevent feelings of sluggishness.

Crohn’s Disease and Colitis

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are the two primary forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). They are both characterized by chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, though colitis is limited to the colon and Crohn’s can occur throughout the digestive system. Both diseases can result in abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, anorexia, and malnutrition.

Cannabis can lend a hand in living life with colitis or Crohn’s. It’s often a qualifier
in medical cannabis states, with patients using it to fight the full range of symptoms. Cannabis is an effective IBD aid largely because of its ability to reduce inflammation. A small-but-promising study on Crohn’s disease found that participants needed less surgery and reduced bowel movements while using cannabis, as well as drastically reduced need for other medicines.


A woman’s uterus has endometrial tissue that builds up throughout her hormone cycle, then breaks down and sheds—a never-particularly-fun process called menstruation. In endometriosis, this tissue grows outside of the womb, spreading itself on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and other organs. When it’s time for the shedding of blood and other cells, they become painfully trapped in the body.

This problem can result in severe menstrual cramps, chronic lower-back, abdominal, and pelvic pain, painful intercourse, painful urination or bowel movements, IBS symptoms, and infertility. Traditional treatments (including risky surgeries) only try to keep the endometriosis from advancing, but cannabis has actually been shown to stop cell growth
in mice as well as helping symptoms, especially pain.

We’re More Common Than Culture Regards

There’s many more ways to become a spoonie: Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, Ehlers Danlos syndrome, or Hashimoto’s—all four (and potentially many more) may be aided by cannabis via the body’s widespread endocannabinoid system. It’s frustrating that science doesn’t understand these illnesses quite yet, regardless of the stunning amount of promise it shows in improving the lives of spoonies.

When you total the numbers of Americans estimated to be suffering from the eight diseases mentioned in this article, and there’s many more, you get 91.5 million—that’s about 27% of Americans. Though there is comorbidity to be factored in (people who have more than one of these diseases), there’s also millions still searching for a diagnosis, as well as many conditions that weren’t mentioned.

We’re talking about a lot of people suffering from conditions that are barely regarded by society here. A whole lot. And they are generally invisible illnesses, which adds another dimension to feeling ignored. It’s like we’re drowning a world of problems that only we can see. Hug your spoonies (and maybe smoke ‘em out), because you probably know at least a couple—whether you’re aware of it or not."

There are more resources here:

For more information about The Spoon Theory, please visit:

For more information about Fibromyagia, please visit:

For more information on Lupus, please visit:

For more information on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), please visit:

For more information on Crohn's Disease, please visit:

For more information on Colitis, please visit:

For more information on Endometrosis, please visit:

if you would like to email me about this topic, share your personal experiences, or any other questions you may have that you would like me to research or look up, please email me at: I am happy to help, and will do my best to help!

We also have support groups you can join to talk about this and other topics. You can find them below:

Stronger than Gastroparesis (GP Warriors)
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This group is for the newly diagnosed who have Gastroparesis and for those who have had Gastroparesis for a while. We really want to help those who a...

Gastroparesis Fails
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This group is for humor purposes. It is so that we can post our GP fails into the group to make others laugh or commiserate with others who have gone...

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This group is for posting funny pictures, jokes, stories, and videos. It's to keep the chronically ill cheerful, which is important for their health....

Monday, March 11, 2019

Information About The Different Kinds of Feeding Tubes Part 2

If you would like to read part one of the article, you can do so here: ino

I had to split it up because as one article, it would just be too long. I went about writing this article a bit differently. I posted a survey and had A LOT of responses, so if you participated in the survey, I wanted to say thank you. I also want to thank people who have sent in pictures and stories about this topic, to spread awareness and also to answer any questions you might have. I asked for stories, tips, and tricks from Gastroparesis Warriors with feeding tubes, since I do not have that personal experience to supplement into my research. I apologize because this is going to be a long article. There are a lot of topics to discuss but also a lot of things to share. Again, I want to say thank you to everyone who participated in the surveys, shared their stories and pictures, and for the emails. It helped me understand what I should research. So, let's get down to business and talk about the personal aspects of living with a feeding tube or the inability to have one because of preconceived notions.

I do not want to disparage doctors, at all. I think they have a really important job and they do their best to help people and save lives. However, there are a lot of doctors who may know about Gastroparesis, and other chronic, invisible illnesses, but they may not know how to treat them. My Gastroenterologist, for example, knew enough about Gastroparesis in 2012 to test me for it, but not treat me for it. Since then, awareness for Gastroparesis has come a LONG way, but we still have a long way to go for better treatments and ultimately, a cure.

Weight Issues and Starvation

I want to tackle the "weight issue" a lot of people have with doctors. This issue comes up in my support groups and on my pages. People have shared their stories with me and have messaged me asking for advice. I had one person who messaged me because her doctor told her she needed to lose weight before he would treat her for Gastroparesis. She is diabetic as well. She said that the doctor basically told her to starve herself and messaged me for advice on what to do, going forward. Her story broke my heart and I tried to give her the best advice I could, but I am not a medical doctor. I am a certified pharmacy tech and I have my license, but you should always consult your doctors with questions. Additionally, do your own research and question everything that you are told. You have to be diligent and be your own advocate because sometimes, doctors do make mistakes. We are all human, but I digress, so let me go back to my original point.

That is just overly bad advice, and I do not know how many people this doctor has told this to. Weight has NOTHING to do with Gastroparesis (If you are curious about Gastroparesis and what it does, here is another article I have written:

Furthermore, she told me that her doctor told her that your body going into "starvation mode" is not real. I want to address this because your body does weird things when you are starving. There is such a thing as "starvation mode," it's very real, and I am going to cite some sources so that you can educate yourself and others on what happens when you starve, and also to show your doctor if he or she says that this is not a real problem.

I love learning new things and educating myself as I do research on different topics because it helps me understand people going through these issues that I have no personal experience with them.

Survey Answers

Personal Accounts

"My name is Laura Biernacki and I have a PEJ feeding tube. I first started out with a NJ tube. Due to my gastroparesis , I was not getting the proper nutrition. So my gastroenterologist decided to try an NJ tube.
I had my NJ tube inserted by a radiologist. The reason he did it versus a nurse is that it goes all the way down to the jejunum. He had me lay down and guided it in via x-ray. I was really nervous, however the nurses were really helpful and kept spraying the back of my throat with numbing solution every time I felt like gagging. They also put a numbing solution in my nose so it wouldn't hurt too much. I felt like it was uncomfortable. However once they put it in, I felt relieved.

It did take a couple days to really get used to something in my nose. I did end up in the hospital for nutrition because I couldn't stop vomiting. But that was due to the gastroparesis not the feeding tube.

I did need to sleep somewhat upright in order to not gag on the tube. I also had to feed 24 hours a day so I wore a backpack with my pump. I will recommend you are very careful with any extra tubing hanging or dangling. It can get caught up on something. You really don't want to pull it out accidentally!

I did try eating small amounts of grits or cream of wheat, but I kept gagging. So I didn't really eat. However my gastroenterologist told me that he has had patients who were able to eat. I also was careful of my skin on my face where I would tape the tube. I used tegaderm which seemed to help protect my skin from irritation.

I hope I answered questions regarding a NJ tube.

I currently have a PEJ tube, because I needed something more permanent. So I will write about that.

I then got a PEJ tube the next month, because I was unable to maintain my nutrition any other way due to the gastroparesis.

So my gastroenterologist put in a PEJ tube via endoscopy. When I woke up it was painful, because I had an incision in my jejunum. Plus he had to put a plastic piece around the site to keep the tube in place and help it heal. Unfortunately it had to be tight, so it was uncomfortable. He was able to loosen it after a week or so. That did help ! I have had it since June , so I am now really used to it.

I did have problems with fungal infections at first. But that was due to the fact that I have Lupus and have to be on chemo treatments. Therefore my immune system is not working. However my immunologist put me on a weekly infusion of immunoglobulin, so the infections have subsided.

I do make sure my site is always clean. I clean around it in the shower in the morning. I also make sure it is clean before bed. I usually try not to put bandages around the site unless I have to use ointments for an infection. I was told keeping the site open to air helps prevent infections from starting

I live mostly on tube feedings, so I do wear a backpack in the later afternoon so it will finish by morning. Again make sure if you are out and about, don't let any tubing dangle, because it would hurt like crazy to have it accidentally pull out.

I do leak bile from time to time which can stain clothes and cause skin irritation. If I have to dress up, I will use a split sterile sponge to cover the site, so I don't hurt my clothes. But that doesn't happen too often. I hope I have helped. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. I will try to help 😊 😊
Thanks so much for listening to me 💚💚💜💜"

Image Source: Laura Biernacki's PEJ Feeding Tube

Source: Laura Biernacki's NJ Feeding Tube

Weight Gain, Starvation, & Gastroparesis

A friend of mine sent me a message about two months ago asking me questions about Gastroparesis because she was scared. The Gastroenterologist she saw told her a lot of different things that did not sound right to her, so she questioned it. I am very glad she did because he gave her a lot of misinformation that if she would have listened to, she might have died. The doctor she saw for her Gastroparesis told her she was too overweight for him to treat her.

He suggested that she go on a diet and starve herself a bit before he would consider treating her. She told him that she was starving and that her body was starving itself because she was unable to keep down food, which is why she went to the doctor. He told her that "starvation mode" was not a real thing. I was flabbergasted when she was relaying to me what he said. Additionally, she is also diabetic, so she cannot exactly "starve" herself (There is a lot of controversy regarding whether or not "starvation mode" is real. There are arguments on both sides but I will write about it, with arguments from both sides, and share sources, for you to make up your own minds).

I told her to see another doctor immediately because I know "starvation mode" is a real thing. My own doctor has told me that my body is starving itself from all of the vomiting and barely eating. I came home and did research immediately.

Some medical professionals see that patients are overweight and because they have this preconceived notion of what Gastroparesis is supposed to look like, they do not take the heavier Gastroparesis warriors seriously. I want to clarify that people can gain weight with Gastroparesis and they can also lose weight with it, too.

These are both complex issues with complex answers. I am glad my friend reached out to me to ask questions instead of following her doctor's advice to the letter, because I really do not know what would have happened to her if she had. I am so glad she was curious and smart enough to question the advice she was told, and went to get a second opinion. Sadly, this is not the first time I have heard this story. I have had a lot of people tell me that their doctors wanted them to lose weight first, before they would treat them, and/or some alternate versions of they did not need a feeding tube because they were too overweight for one. Let me make this VERY clear, your weight has nothing to do with malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, or anything like that. I really hate it when medical professionals bring up weight, because it really sounds demeaning, patronizing, and I feel like I am being judged.

I made a survey to ask people with Gastroparesis whether or not they were treated differently because of their weight. I received sixty-three responses, which is amazing. They can be found HERE. To summarize the surveys I received, basically some doctors (not all), friends, and family members do not believe people have Gastroparesis if they are overweight. When you have Gastroparesis, you can gain weight or lose weight. Let's talk about weight gain first.**

“Eating too few calories, for too long of a period will cause your metabolism to slow down so much that it will prevent weight loss and even cause weight gain.”

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Weight gain can not only be attributed to starvation mode, where your metabolism slows, but could be caused by stress and anxiety in addition to your metabolism rate:

Some of these sources refer to weight gain and starvation mode for dieting for healthy people, but it can be applied to Gastroparesis as well, since we do not have the luxury of eating to consider a diet.


Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death, according to the World Health Organization. The bloated stomach represents a form of malnutrition called kwashiorkor which is caused by insufficient protein despite a sufficient caloric intake.

My article called, "What Gastroparesis Does to the Body" that you can find HERE.

My article on Vitamin Deficiencies can be found HERE.

According to MedLine Plus,

"Kwashiorkor is a form of malnutrition that occurs when there is not enough protein in the diet.


Kwashiorkor is most common in areas where there is:

Limited food supply
Low levels of education (when people do not understand how to eat a proper diet)

This disease is more common in very poor countries. It often occurs during a drought or other natural disaster, or during political unrest. These conditions are responsible for a lack of food, which leads to malnutrition.

Kwashiorkor is rare in children in the United States. There are only isolated cases. However, one government estimate suggests that as many as 50% of elderly people in nursing homes in the United States do not get enough protein in their diet.

When kwashiorkor does occur in the United States, it is most often a sign of child abuse and severe neglect.


Symptoms include:

Changes in skin pigment
Decreased muscle mass
Failure to gain weight and grow
Hair changes (change in color or texture)
Increased and more severe infections due to damaged immune system
Large belly that sticks out (protrudes)
Lethargy or apathy
Loss of muscle mass
Rash (dermatitis)
Shock (late stage)
Swelling (edema)

Exams and Tests

The physical exam may show an enlarged liver (hepatomegaly) and general swelling.

Tests may include:

Arterial blood gas
Complete blood count (CBC)
Creatinine clearance
Serum creatinine
Serum potassium
Total protein levels


Getting more calories and protein will correct kwashiorkor, if treatment is started early enough. However, children who have had this condition will never reach their full potential for height and growth.

Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. People who are in shock need treatment right away to restore blood volume and maintain blood pressure.

Calories are given first in the form of carbohydrates, simple sugars, and fats. Proteins are started after other sources of calories have already provided energy. Vitamin and mineral supplements are essential.

Since the person will have been without much food for a long period of time, eating can cause problems, especially if the calories are too high at first. Food must be reintroduced slowly.

Many malnourished children will develop intolerance to milk sugar (lactose intolerance). They will need to be given supplements with the enzyme lactase so that they can tolerate milk products.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Getting treatment early generally leads to good results. Treating kwashiorkor in its late stages will improve the child's general health. However, the child may be left with permanent physical and mental problems. If treatment is not given or comes too late, this condition is life threatening.

Possible Complications

Complications may include:

Permanent mental and physical disability

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if your child has symptoms of kwashiorkor.


To prevent kwashiorkor, make sure the diet has enough carbohydrates, fat (at least 10% of total calories), and protein (12% of total calories).

Alternative Names

Protein malnutrition; Protein-calorie malnutrition; Malignant malnutrition

Kwashiorkor is a condition resulting from inadequate protein intake. Early symptoms include fatigue, irritability, and lethargy. As protein deprivation continues, one sees growth failure, loss of muscle mass, generalized swelling (edema), and decreased immunity. A large, protuberant belly is common. The incidence of kwashiorkor in children in the United States is extremely small and it is typically found in countries where there is drought and famine.

Image Source: In the Article


Ashworth A. Nutrition, food security, and health. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 46.

Kumar V, Abbas AK, Aster JC. Environmental and nutritional diseases. In: Kumar V, Abbas AK, Aster JC, eds. Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 9.

Manary MJ, Trehan I. Protein-energy malnutrition. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 215.
Review Date 2/19/2018

Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team."

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I had no idea there was a hunger scale, like the pain scale, until I started doing research for this article.

According to Medical News Today,

"Malnutrition results from a poor diet or a lack of food. It happens when the intake of nutrients or energy is too high, too low, or poorly balanced. Undernutrition can lead to delayed growth or wasting, while a diet that provides too much food, but not necessarily balanced, leads to obesity. In many parts of the world, undernutrition results from a lack of food. In some cases, however, undernourishment may stem from a health condition, such as an eating disorder or a chronic illness that prevents the person from absorbing nutrients."

According to Fitness,

"Starvation is dangerous to deal with and leads to all sorts of problems, both mental and physical. Want to know what they are? Read this post and find out about the harmful and potentially dangerous side effects of starving yourself.

Starvation is a condition that is often accompanied by severe deficiency in your calorie intake. Starvation can be self-inflicted (hardcore dieters) or due to the presence of other conditions like anorexia or bulimia. Starvation can also lead to severe malnutrition and may permanently damage your internal organs.

Starvation isn’t something pleasant, and you should try and refrain from starving yourself, especially under the pretext of following a diet regime. To discourage you further, let’s look at some of the adverse effects of starvation in detail:


This is perhaps the most damaging effect of voluntary or forced starvation. Malnutrition is a terrible condition, and it affects most children in developing countries. Starvation usually means that you don’t eat much at all. This leads to many essential nutrients and vitamins being excluded from your diet. Malnutrition can lead to various mineral and nutrient deficiencies like Night blindness (vitamin A deficiency), Scurvy (Vitamin C deficiency) and even Anemia (Iron deficiency) (2).


The second most obvious result of starvation; just like a lack of food induces malnutrition, a lack of water can induce dehydration. This dehydration may in turn aggravate other problems and lead to cracked and exceedingly dry skin, along with other conditions like constipation, among others. Thus, it is important to remember to drink enough water, even if you are on a starvation diet. Starvation and dehydration depletes glycogen levels and disturbs electrolyte balance (3).

3. Decreased Resting Metabolic Rate:

Starvation can lead to a reduced resting metabolic rate. Your Basal metabolic rate or BMR is defined as the minimal rate of energy expenditure per time unit while you rest. Tests found that fasting prior to rest can lead to an increase in white adipose tissue (WAT) and decrease in flow to the brain. Other studies determine that starvation can induce a decrease in your basal metabolic rate.

4. Loss Of Monthly Menstrual Periods:

Starvation leads to many problems. One of these problems is it upsets how your periods are regulated. So, for those of you thinking about starvation diets, you might want to consider this before you begin. In some cases, if you are too underweight your body may simply cease to produce estrogen. A lack of fat can restrict your cells from converting cholesterol to extra estrogen. As starvation can lead to organ damage, body processes tend to slow down, which usually causes menstruation to stop (4).

5. Constipation:

Starvation can also induce constipation in many individuals. Studies on many anorexic individuals conclude that people who suffer from the disorder may suffer from severe starvation, which can lead to many disorders and requires the use of regular laxatives to be treated wholly. A case study on three severely anorexic women found that these women needed regular laxatives or enemas to help flush their colon. These women also ran a higher risk of suffering from rectal prolapse due to the overuse of laxatives (5).

6. Bone Loss:

A starved or starving individual may continue to lose weight at an alarming rate. Although the changes in your skin and musculature are quite obvious, but what about the changes in your bone structure! Did you know that starvation may lead to bone density loss? Well, usually when you consume a calorie-restricted diet, your bones are remodeled. The older bone breaks down and new bones form rapidly. However, your bone density reduces, which can lead to fragility (6).

7. Fatigue:

One of the most common side effects of starvation is fatigue. You have all heard about ‘eating to keep your strengths up,’ this idiom cannot ring any truer as eating a balanced diet helps provide energy for the body primarily, while helping keep diseases and infections at bay. Starvation upsets the balance of essential vitamins in your body and slows down physiological processes, which can also lead to fatigue and a feeling of faintness. Starvation is often associated with a feeling of lightheadedness (7).

8. High Blood Pressure:

Malnutrition and starvation can subject your body to many conditions, including high blood pressure. When you starve, essential nutrients like potassium and vitamin D aren’t consumed, which leads to a spike in blood pressure and many other deficiencies. All these factors ensure that starvation inevitably raises your blood pressure. In a study conducted on three groups of children, it was found that two groups: one malnourished and one recovering from malnourishment had significantly higher blood pressure readings than the children who weren’t malnourished at all.

9. Electrolyte Imbalance:

Starvation leads to a loss of nutrients, which results in the consumption of fewer electrolytes with each passing day. Heart-healthy Minerals like potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium that promote proper heart function and heart health aren’t consumed when you don’t have enough food. Starving not only results in lesser nutrients, but also promotes electrolyte imbalance. Thus, remember to have mineral supplements if you are on a starvation diet.

10. Affects The Brain:

There have been many studies on how starvation can affect cognitive abilities and make you feel depressed. Try and recall how your friend snaps at you when she’s on a starvation diet. When we miss a meal, we often find ourselves dwelling on food and how it would feel to be properly fed.

You know that starvation can lead to many other physical symptoms like dehydration and fatigue that can impair your thinking abilities and also make you aggressive and jumpy. Starvation can also affect how you react to stress and can induce feelings of anxiety, irritability and even lead to chronic or clinical depression in some cases.

Now that you know how starvation can adversely affect your body, we hope that you will rethink about those starvation diets. They are just a quick fix and offer little long term benefit. Opt for a balanced regimen to lose weight."

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According to Health Line,

"Is 'Starvation Mode' Real or Imaginary? A Critical Look

Weight loss is generally seen as a positive thing. It can bring improved health, better looks and all sorts of benefits, both physical and mental. However, your brain doesn't necessarily see it that way. Your brain is more worried about keeping you from starving, making sure that you (and your genes) survive. When you lose a lot of weight, the body starts trying to conserve energy by reducing the amount of calories you burn. It also makes you feel hungrier, lazier and increases your cravings for food. This can cause you to stop losing weight, and may make you feel so miserable that you abandon your weight loss efforts and gain the weight back.

This phenomenon is often called 'starvation mode,' but is really just the brain's natural mechanism to protect you from starvation.

What Does 'Starvation Mode' Imply?

What people generally refer to as 'starvation mode' (and sometimes 'metabolic damage') is the body's natural response to long-term calorie restriction. It involves the body responding to reduced calorie intake by reducing calorie expenditure in an attempt to maintain energy balance and prevent starvation. This is a natural physiological response, and isn't really controversial. It is well accepted by scientists, and the technical term for it is 'adaptive thermogenesis.' I will use the term starvation mode in this article, although it really is a misnomer because true starvation is something that is almost completely irrelevant to most weight loss discussions. Starvation mode was a useful physiological response back in the day, but does more harm than good in the modern food environment where obesity runs rampant.

Calories In, Calories Out

Obesity is a disorder of excess energy accumulation. The body puts energy (calories) into its fat tissues, storing it for later use. If more calories enter the fat tissue than leave it, we gain fat. If more calories leave the fat tissue than enter it, we lose fat. This is fact. Pretty much all weight loss diets cause a reduction in calorie intake. Some by controlling calories directly (counting calories, weighing portions, etc), others by reducing appetite so that people eat fewer calories automatically. When this happens, calories leaving the fat tissue (calories out) become greater than the calories entering it (calories in). So we lose fat. However, the body doesn't see this in the same way as you do. In many cases, it sees this as the beginning of starvation. So the body fights back, doing everything it can to make you stop losing.

The body and brain can respond by making you hungrier (so you eat more, increasing calories in), but what is most relevant to this discussion here is what happens to the amount of calories you burn (calories out). Starvation mode implies that your body reduces calories out in an attempt to restore energy balance and stop you from losing any more weight, even in the face of continued calorie restriction. This phenomenon is very real, but whether this response is so powerful that it can prevent you from losing weight, or even start gaining despite continued calorie restriction, is not as clear.

What people refer to as 'starvation mode' is the body's natural response to long-term calorie restriction. It involves a reduction in the amount of calories your body burns, which can slow down weight loss. The amount of calories you burn can change.

The amount of calories you burn in a day can be roughly split into 4 parts:

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): The amount of calories your body uses to maintain vital functions, such as breathing, heart rate and brain function.

Thermic Effect of Food (TEF): The calories burned while digesting a meal. Usually about 10% of calorie intake.

Thermic Effect of Exercise (TEE): Calories burned during physical activity, such as exercise.

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT): Calories burned fidgeting, changing posture, etc. This is usually subconscious.

It involves a reduction in movement (both conscious and subconscious), and a major change in the function of the nervous system and various hormones.

There are several ways that the body burns calories. All of them can go down when you restrict calories for a long time. Studies Show That Calorie Restriction Can Reduce 'Calories Out.' Studies clearly show that weight loss reduces the amount of calories you burn. According to a large review study, this amounts to 5.8 calories per day, for each pound lost, or 12.8 calories per kilogram. What this means, is that if you were to lose 50 pounds, or 22.7 kilograms, your body would end up burning 290.5 fewer calories per day. The reduction in calorie expenditure can be much greater than what is predicted by changes in weight. For example, some studies show that losing and maintaining 10% of body weight can reduce calories burned by 15-25%. This is one of the reasons weight loss tends to slow down over time, and why it is so difficult to maintain a reduced weight. You may need to eat fewer calories for life! Keep in mind that it is possible that this metabolic 'slowdown' is even greater in some groups that have a hard time losing weight, such as postmenopausal women.

Muscle Mass Tends to Go Down

Another side effect of losing weight, is that muscle mass tends to go down. As you may know, muscle is metabolically active, and burns calories around the clock. However, the reduction in calorie expenditure is actually greater than can be explained by a reduction in muscle mass alone. The body becomes more efficient at doing work, so less energy than before is required to do the same amount of work. So calorie restriction makes you expend fewer calories for the physical activity (whether deliberate or subconscious) that you perform.

Weight loss and reduced calorie intake can lead to reduced burning of calories. On average, this amounts to about 5.8 calories per pound of lost body weight.

How to Avoid the Metabolic Slowdown

Keep in mind that your metabolism slowing down is simply a natural response to reduced calorie intake. Although some reduction in calorie burning may be inevitable, there are a number of things you can do to mitigate the effect. The single most effective thing you can do is resistance exercise.

Starvation mode is real, but it's not as powerful as some people think. It can make weight loss slow down over time, but it won't cause someone to gain weight despite restricting calories. It's also not an 'on and off' phenomenon, like some people seem to think. It's an entire spectrum of the body adapting to either increased or decreased calorie intake. Starvation mode is actually a terribly inaccurate term. Something like 'metabolic adaptation' or 'metabolic slowdown' would be much more appropriate. This is simply the body's natural physiological response to reduced calorie intake. Without it, humans would have become extinct thousands of years ago. Unfortunately, this protective response can cause more harm than good where overfeeding is a much, much greater threat to human health than starvation."

Let's talk more about starvation mode. I want to quote a couple of different sources, and they may say similar things, but I want to look at this closely since my friend's doctor said it wasn't a real thing or problem. I just do not believe that. My doctor, when I was in high school (when I first started vomiting and getting sick, but didn't know what was wrong) told me that my body was starving itself. He had to explain to me what that meant and at that time, I was sixteen and ninety pounds (I am 5'4"). He told me I had to supplement what I ate with Ensure, so I had to eat an entire meal and drink Ensure on top of it. I actually really started gaining weight in 2009, when I fell down a mountain and broke both of my knees. But, I digress, because that isn't the point.

The point is, I had a doctor confirm to me, personally, that starvation mode is VERY real and people's bodies handle it in different ways. My body was feeding off of itself, consuming my muscle mass and things like that. Starvation is VERY real and VERY dangerous. It is SO dangerous for medical professionals to tell anyone that.

You have to be your own advocate and research things that you may not understand, that you may have questions about, and/or even doubts about.

I do not want to disparage doctors in any way, but they do not know everything. They do their utter best to rule things out and to help you as much as they are able to, and there are REALLY great doctors out there who care, but there are also doctors who do not even know about Gastroparesis or the effects it can have on someone (and given as much knowledge as they have to retain, I do not fault them for this). I do not want to alienate any medical professionals out there, as I respect the job that you do. This article is mainly to help misunderstandings and to educate the medical professionals, hopefully, that told my diabetic friend with Gastroparesis, to lose some weight before he would treat her for Gastroparesis, and that 'starvation mode' did not exist. Well, I'm going to research it and prove it does.

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According to InBodyUSA,

"Research indicates people who used starvation diets for weight loss, eating 50% of their energy needs for three weeks, did decrease their body weight overall. However, they also reduced their lean muscle mass by 5%. If the state of starvation is maintained chronically, lean muscle mass and organ size are decreased by 20%.

Likewise, a study on mice found lean mass and lean muscle mass were sacrificed during starvation; however, body fat stores were relatively the same in mice on a control diet and obese mice on starvation diets.

Weight loss via starvation causes individuals to lose significant amounts of lean muscle mass and Lean Body Mass, which encompasses water, bones, organs, etc. Reducing the mass of your bones is problematic, as that decreases bone density and can make you more prone to injury. Conversely, increasing Lean Body Mass increases bone strength and density, a common concern for many Americans as they age.

One study using human participants indicated dropping significant amounts of calories from the diet lead to significant weight loss and decreased lean muscle mass. However, participants also gained back nearly all of the fat they lost, within 8 years.

This prompts the discussion and understanding of an important topic- metabolism. More so, chronic starvation leads to changes in metabolism. Metabolism and resting metabolic rate are directly linked to Lean Body Mass. A person with greater body mass will require more energy to function day to day, thus will have a larger basal metabolic rate (BMR). As weight decreases, so does BMR.

This means that there’s a certain number of calories necessary to maintain your lean mass. If you go below this number, your body will be forced to break down these muscle stores in order to create energy.

Starvation diets have far-reaching negative effects on the body. Starving to lose weight changes the metabolism, reduces lean muscle, reduces bone density, and decreases strength."

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There is an interesting book about Starvation Mode by Leigh Peele (that is in ebook form, too). This is her research and take on Starvation Mode and the Effects and Symptoms,

"Different Effects and Symptoms of Starvation Mode

Starvation happens when the body is deprived of the essential nutrients it requires for proper function and survival. When the body does not receive these nutrients that come from food and liquids, side effects occur. One of the effects of starve mode is weight loss and many people use this method to lose unwanted weight. This is often done as an act of desperation because of stubborn weight that they are unable to lose with all other weight loss techniques they have tried in the past. Going on starvation mode is not recommended to be done often since it can have irreversible effects that could eventually lead to death.

On starvation mode, the body feeds itself with what is inside it. Because you take in only a few calories, you lose weight. It should, however, be noted that when few calories enter the body, the metabolism also slows down. Because the metabolism burns calories, it burns only a few calories once it slows down. The moment you start consuming food regularly, the weight will come back. This is because the body begins to comprehend that it is starving and so it shuts down your weight loss efforts for it to survive.

Some of the bad effects of starvation mode include failed diets and other mental and physical ailments. These results are brought about by the malnourishment and depression. Eventually you will gain the weight that you lost back due to your coping mechanisms when you are depressed.

Starvation obviously makes you lose weight. The body does not have any sustenance inside it. You can lose up to two pounds a day with starvation. While it may initially sound good, the effects of such drastic weight loss might result in a medical emergency. Your body and your organs might not be able to cope with not having sustenance for days at length.

Starvation can cause dehydration because the body lacks fluid it needs. It then uses water and fluids already stored in your body. The first organ to be affected is the kidneys and they shall fail and eventually stop working once your urine output stops. Your skin will lose rigidity and turgor and shall become extremely dry and stiff. When you become dehydrated, your heart rhythms become irregular and this shall lead to heart diseases.

Another one of the effects of starvation mode is electrolyte imbalance. Because there is loss of fluids and nutrients, there is no fuel available for the body to work properly. Electrolytes make the heart, nerve impulse and muscle impulse function properly. They also make oxygen flow steadily in the body. If the flow is disrupted severely, you may slip into a coma. Blood sugar levels quickly drop because of the absence of glucose even if the pancreas produces just a small amount of insulin.

During the ultimate stage of starvation, severe muscle atrophy happens. The muscle crumbles and lessens because the body feeds from itself. It uses its muscle mass so as to give energy to the bloodstream so that the organs will not shut down. Muscle spasms and twitches happen when the potassium level becomes dangerously low. Extreme weakness and paralysis may also happen. When the muscles break down, the nerve cells deteriorate, especially those in your spinal cord area which regulates movement. If the muscles are weak and do not function, you may not move freely at all.

Low blood pressure or hypotension is also a side effect of starvation mode. Aside from such bouts, the temperature of the body also drops. When the blood pressure becomes so low, shock may happen and this is a very dangerous condition because the body shots down just to survive. If hypotension is left untreated, death or coma will happen."

Gastroparesis can effect everyone differently. Everyone's bodies are different and so Gastroparesis is harder to treat because it varies so widely from person to person. I wrote about this in detail, and if you would like to read that article, you can find it here:

For the many different causes of Gastroparesis and the available treatment options, you can read here:

I also do not want anyone to think that Gastroparesis is an eating disorder. It is not. It can be caused by an eating disorder, but Gastroparesis, itself, is a chronic, invisible illness. For specifics on the differences between the two, please read this article:

More sources can be found at:



LIVESTRONG.COM. "A lack of food can cause the body to go into starvation mode over time. Starvation mode is a metabolic response to the body being deprived of food, which may occur during periods of famine or economic depression, when using a fad diet, or when suffering from anorexia nervosa. A variety of specific signs and symptoms affect those whose body has gone into starvation mode."




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