Post Viral Gastroparesis? Our GI "fun" continues!

by Jennifer Mitchell Wilson B.S. Dietetics, Dietitian, Health Professional

Today you are in for a surprise.
I am not writing about our two AR babies but am penning this adventure about Ava.
Our "easy baby" decided to give us a bit of GI drama last month and I thought I would share the information we learned with each of you.

As you all know it's that time of year again.
Melina, our First grader, brought a stomach virus home from school.
Everyone in the house had their turn with it and Ava was the last in line.
Each of the kids was sick for about 24 hours.
Not Ava.
She just didn't seem to be able to get over it.

After the initial portion of the illness Ava started what we thought was a weird variant.
She would eat well for 48 hours or so and then throw up everything in her stomach.
After dealing with this for just under a week we took Ava in to her pediatrician.
He examined her and told us about the possibility of post viral gastroparesis being the cause of her inability to keep food down for more than a couple of days.
She had very little movement sounds in her stomach at a later follow up which indicated that normal peristalsis was impaired.

Post viral gastroparesis occurs when a virus "shocks" the stomach into being unable to empty properly.
The stomach contents do not empty into the intestines like they should and the food just sits until the child can no longer keep it in and... up it comes.
In our case it came up all over the house, Ava, the car and various other not-so-fun places!
(I could write you a whole blog entry on how to clean puke out of a car seat).

If this is sounding familiar to you it is because gastroparesis is also another name for delayed emptying, a condition that can go hand in hand with AR.
In fact Melina and Ella had issues with emptying as infants and it caused vomiting, failure to thrive, constipation, aspiration and worsening of their GERD symptoms.
They were treated with Reglan for a short while and while it worked wonders for Ella, Melina did not tolerate it well.

So far Ava is doing well with small frequent meals.
If she eats more than about
½ cup of food at a time she tells me she is "too full".
That is usually my clue that if she eats more it won't stay down.
Thankfully she can articulate more to me at age 3 than Ella and Melina could when they were infants dealing with gastroparesis.

Thankfully most kids who deal with post viral gastroparesis recover fairly quickly.
For those who don't they may have to have a feeding tube placed which bypasses the stomach until they are able to digest food normally again.
Due to the fact that this can happen more frequently in kids or adults with other GI issues I thought it was important to blog about this month.

As we have all been told "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".
So make sure to utilize proper hand washing techniques and especially if you have or care for someone who has medical problems.
I'll be praying we all stay healthy this cold and flu season!

Jennifer Mitchell Wilson
Meet Our Writer
Jennifer Mitchell Wilson

Jennifer Mitchell Wilson is a dietitian and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and has done graduate work in public health and nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.