Gastric Emptying Test: What To Know Before Taking the Test

Gastric Emptying

What Is a Gastric Emptying Test?

A gastric emptying test is a type of radiological procedure used to measure how quickly food leaves the stomach. During the test, a radioactive substance is added to a solid meal that the person consumes. Then, a special camera scans the stomach to measure the rate at which the meal is emptied from the stomach into the small intestine.

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Health Benefits of Getting a Gastric Emptying Test

The gastric emptying test is typically used to diagnose or monitor functional gastrointestinal disorders, such as gastroparesis, which occurs when the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. Other GI disorders that can be diagnosed using the test include delayed gastric emptying. This test can also be used to diagnose diabetes, liver disease, and thyroid disorders.

What to Know Before Taking a Gastric Emptying Test

Before undergoing a gastric emptying test, it is important to be aware of a few things.

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Fasting Before the Test

Before the test, it is important to fast for 8-12 hours in order to empty the stomach of food. This will allow for an accurate assessment of the rate of gastric emptying.

Medication Adjustment

You should also discuss any medications you are taking with your doctor or other healthcare provider in order to determine if they will potentially interfere with the test or its results.

Radioactive Substance Consumption

During a gastric emptying test, you will be required to consume a meal that contains a very small amount of radioactive material that is safe. This will allow the doctor to measure the rate at which the food leaves your stomach.

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Conclusion

A gastric emptying test can be an important tool for diagnosing or monitoring GI disorders. Before undergoing the test, it is important to fast for 8-12 hours and discuss any medications with your doctor or other healthcare provider. During the procedure, a small amount of radioactive material is added to a meal you consume in order to measure the rate at which food leaves your stomach.

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