There’s no doubt that kratom is becoming more and more popular each day. This is not only thanks to its properties, but also due to the polemic news around the plant. Most experienced kratom users know that kratom can be a great ally to combat pain, anxiety and to get off opioids. And they also know that kratom must be used wisely and with caution, since, like any other natural remedy, it can have unpleasant side effects if used incorrectly. Recently, we received a query asking if kratom can cause gastroparesis? Unfortunately, this is not an easy question to answer, but after doing a lot of research, we believe that we can bring some light to this subject. So, if your question is “can kratom cause gastroparesis?”, keep reading below to learn more.
What is Gastroparesis?
To understand if kratom can cause gastroparesis you must know first what gastroparesis is. Typically, a healthy stomach takes 1-2 hours to empty itself after you eat something. Gastroparesis is a condition that causes your stomach to take too long to empty itself after eating.
How does the digestive process work?
An empty stomach is like a bent empty bag. After you eat, your stomach distends and adapts itself to the volume of the food that you put in it. Then, your stomach crushes the food into small particles with a series of potent contractions. These particles will be propelled to the intestine where they will be absorbed into your bloodstream.
People who suffer from gastroparesis experience fewer stomach contractions. Consequently, the digestion process is slower and more ineffective.
To be able to determine if you suffer from gastroparesis, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and will perform a physical examination. Additionally, your doctor could require you to undergo some tests. A few examples below:
- Barium X-Ray: you’ll need to drink a substance (barium) that will coat your stomach and other organs before the X-ray test. This will allow your doctor to see your stomach condition.
- Gastric manometry: This test will allow your doctor to study your stomach movements. It will determine if your condition is caused by your muscles or your nerves. To be able to do this, a thin tube will be passed through your mouth into your stomach.
- Radioisotope gastric-emptying scan: You will be given food with a minimum amount of a radioactive substance (radioisotope). Then, a scan will be performed on you to see if you still have food in your stomach. If you have more than 10% of food in your stomach after 4 hours, you’ll be diagnosed with gastroparesis.
Causes of Gastroparesis
Gastroparesis happens when the stomach muscles or nerves are damaged or don’t work properly. Sometimes the cause for this damage is unknown (idiopathic gastroparesis), but other times there are underlying conditions that may be causing it. The most common causes of this condition include:
- some chronic gastrointestinal disorders, i.e.: intestinal pseudo-obstruction
- Parkinson’s disease
- multiple sclerosis
- brain damage
- gastric surgery with injury to the vagus nerve
- long-time use of some drugs, including tricyclic antidepressants, calcium channel blockers, and opioid painkillers
Symptoms of Gastroparesis
People who suffer from gastroparesis, typically experience some of the following symptoms:
- feeling full after eating even small quantities
- weight loss
- abdominal bloating
However, mind that experiencing one or more of the above symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that you suffer from gastroparesis, as they are also symptoms of other ailments. So, if you suspect that you may suffer from this condition, it is recommended to ask your doctor.
Can Kratom Cause Gastroparesis?
Now that we know what the symptoms and causes of gastroparesis are, let’s explore our main subject: Can kratom cause gastroparesis?
As we already mentioned above, it is not easy to determine if kratom can cause gastroparesis, since there is no research on this. Most people won’t experience this problem. However, it is known that kratom can help relieve conditions such as chronic diarrhea caused by Crohn’s disease and IBS. The plant has astringent properties that will make your stool harder and more difficult to pass.
On the other hand, kratom has similar effects to opioids. As we mentioned when we talked about gastroparesis causes above, some opioid painkillers may cause gastroparesis after prolonged use. So, if you are prone to constipation, you should use kratom with caution.
How to Prevent or Mitigate Kratom Constipation?
Although it is not clear that kratom can cause gastroparesis, you may experience constipation while using kratom. To prevent or mitigate this problem, you can follow some useful tips:
- Don’t take too large doses. As we always say, with kratom less is more. Keep your dose to a minimum and don’t overdo it. If you are already experiencing constipation, avoid using extracts and enhanced kratom.
- Drink plenty of water when you are using kratom. This will help you soften your stool. Additionally, you can drink prune juice, as it has great laxative properties.
- Take kratom tea. Toss n’ wash and capsules could be more difficult to digest.
- Eat enough fiber. Including fiber in your diet will help you prevent constipation.
- Eat chia seeds. Chia is a popular food to ease constipation.
How to Relieve Gastroparesis
Now that you know how to prevent or mitigate kratom constipation, let’s see how to relieve gastroparesis. Although there are some medicines to treat this condition, they must be prescribed by your doctor after a proper diagnose. In the meantime, you can follow some tips:
- Change your eating habits: try eating more frequently and smaller quantities.
- After you eat, wait 2-3 hours before going to bed.
- Eat low-fat foods. (It is also recommended to eat low-fiber foods, since they are easier to digest. But this is only an option if you suffer from gastroparesis, so this won’t be useful if you just suffer from common constipation.)
Finally, remember to ask your doctor if you think that you may be suffering from this condition.