Chronic Nausea

Jenna Wishnew, MD, FACS

General Surgeon located in Richardson, TX

When you have chronic nausea caused by a condition called gastroparesis, Jenna Wishnew, MD, FACS, in Dallas and Richardson, Texas, offers an innovative treatment that is 80% effective for the relief of nausea and vomiting: a gastric stimulator. After minimally invasive robotic surgery to implant the stimulator, you’ll gradually experience relief from your nausea and start to digest food normally. If you have chronic nausea and you’d like to learn if you’re a good candidate for a gastric stimulator, schedule an appointment online or by phone today.

Chronic Nausea Q & A

What causes chronic nausea?

The symptoms of chronic nausea range from feeling like you need to vomit to fullness and bloating. You may also have a stomach ache and lose your appetite.

Many different health conditions cause chronic nausea. Intestinal blockage, infection or medication can cause nausea. Occasionally, chronic nausea and vomiting can be caused by a condition called gastroparesis. 

What should I know about gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis, or delayed gastric emptying, occurs when food stays in your stomach too long. The muscles that normally push food into the small intestine either work poorly or they don’t work at all. As a result, food and medication leave your stomach slowly, or it may stay trapped in your stomach to never be absorbed.

Stomach muscle dysfunction can result from damage to the nerves controlling the muscles. Gastroparesis is found in 40% of Diabetics and 4% of the population. The elevated blood sugar can cause damage to the nerves controling nausea and stomach emptying. Slow stomach emptying can also be caused by surgery, autoimmune conditions, or viral illness, but in many cases, the cause is unknown. In Dr. Wishnew's practice, only half of the patients have gastroparesis caused by Diabetes. 

What symptoms develop due to gastroparesis?

In addition to chronic nausea, you may develop symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting rotten or undigested food
  • Pain
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Feeling full after eating little food
  • Feelings of prolonged fullness
  • Abdominal bloating and pain

When food stays in your stomach too long, it can ferment and cause harmful bacterial overgrowth. The food can also collect into a mass that blocks the opening to the small intestine.  Often, medications are in this stale food and are not absorbed.

How are chronic nausea and gastroparesis treated?

Treatment for chronic nausea and gastroparesis begins with medications and dietary changes to reduce nausea. When gastroparesis persists despite conservative treatment, you’re a potential candidate for gastric stimulation. 

The gastric stimulator works by triggering muscle activity. Dr. Wishnew implants a stimulator in your abdominal wall. Two insulated wires are through the abdominal wall and into the muscle layer of your stomach.  The leads are then connected to the stimulator in the abdominal wall. Once the device is in place, mild electrical impulses from the stimulator trigger muscle movement in your stomach. Often the stimulator needs 2-3 adjustments six weeks apart to find symptom improvement.  The stimulator is not a cure. If the device is turned off, the battery dies or the leads migrate out of the stomach muscle layer, the symptoms will recur.   In fact, the average improvement is 80% reduction in nausea and vomiting.  Bloating, fullness, and pain may improve as well. 

Dr. Wishnew is one of only a few doctors in the country using robot-assisted surgery to implant the device. With the da Vinci® Surgical System, Dr. Wishnew uses a high-definition, 3D camera to view the surgical site. The robotic features allow her to perform the implantation with enhanced mobility and precision.

Robotic surgery is also minimally invasive, requiring only a few small incisions. By comparison, most surgeons use a 5-7 inch incision in your abdomen. With minimally invasive surgery, you’ll have less pain and a quicker recovery.

If you have chronic nausea or vomiting, call Jenna Wishnew, MD, FACS, or schedule an appointment online today.