Saturday, January 14, 2017

Addressing Gastroparesis-Associated Pain

One of the topics that comes up frequently in the GP support groups is the refusal of some physicians to believe that there is pain associated with Gastroparesis. It is a common occurrence for members to post that their doctor has told them, "There is no pain with Gastroparesis." 

GP-associated pain has been fairly well recognized and documented by motility experts. It is noted as one of the concerns in the Guidelines for the Management of Gastroparesis established by some of the top experts and researchers in the field and shared on the American College of Gastroenterology website ( and is further discussed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and various clinics known for their innovation and excellence in the treatment of GP (;; In addition, there are thousands upon thousands of members in our support groups who have been diagnosed with no conditions other than Gastroparesis who regularly post about their daily battle with pain.

Why then, do some physicians continue to espouse this erroneous belief? And beyond this, why do they believe it appropriate to dismiss a patient's pain even if they are "certain" it is not due to Gastroparesis? In other words, if the pain is not GP-related, then what is the true cause, and why are physicians failing to seek answers for its treatment. Whether the pain is due to GP or some underlying or accompanying condition, the pain needs to be addressed.

It is never appropriate to release a patient without acknowledging the concerns for which the patient sought treatment. To accuse patients of "faking" a symptom or of having a hidden motive (i.e. drug habit) for professing pain is to assume the ability of mind-reading. Perhaps a more responsible treatment plan would be to seek the cause of the pain, collaborate with patients to establish goals and methods for reducing their pain, and direct patients to resources for coping with the daily effects of such pain.

This is a mindset that must be altered if Gastroparesis patients are ever to be treated with the proper respect and dignity they so richly deserve. To fail to address our concerns is to condemn us to mockery and endless agony.