If conventional medical therapies prove unsuccessful or have unwanted side effects, many people choose to try complementary or alternative therapies (CAM).

Complementary therapies are done in addition to traditional medical treatments. Alternative therapies are done instead of medical treatments.

Some complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies have been tried to treat gastroparesis. Studies are needed to determine the usefulness of CAM therapies for gastroparesis.

Ginger is a traditional Chinese treatment for nausea. Few side effects are linked to ginger when it is taken in small doses. Side effects most often reported are gas, bloating, heartburn, and nausea.

In several small studies, acupuncture has shown that it may provide benefit in gastroparesis. One short-term placebo-controlled randomized study that included 19 patients with diabetic gastroparesis suggested improvement in overall symptoms including fullness and bloating.

It is important for patients to tell all their health care providers about any CAM practices used. Doctors and other health providers need a full picture of what patients do to manage their own health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

Adapted from IFFGD Publication: Gastroparesis (Delayed Gastric Emptying) by J. Patrick Waring, MD, Digestive Healthcare of Georgia, Atlanta, GA; and William F. Norton, Communications Director, International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, Milwaukee, WI.

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