Sunday, May 19, 2013

PWS Awareness Day #19: Gastrointestinal Issues

Largely due to low muscle tone, people with PWS can experience a range of GI issues. Babies who are fed via G-tube have endoscopic or traditional surgery to puncture the stomach wall and place the tube. Also, acid reflux is a common issue with children and babies, sometimes reach a point of severity that surgery is needed to prevent the likelihood of stomach acid making its way back up the esophagus. 

If you're squeamish, stop reading. :) Constipation is very common in PWS, again because of low muscle tone making it more difficult to push food through the digestive tract. People with PWS can have regular bowel movements and still get stopped up because the muscles aren't strong enough to push everything through. Many times, one might not know someone with PWS is constipated until stomach distension occurs and an x-ray is taken at the emergency room to see what's going on. Delayed gastric emptying (gastroparesis), or food leaving the stomach very slowly or not at all, is also common. This can cause extreme nausea and abdominal pain, among other symptoms. Left untreated, these ailments can actually result in death, as the stomach can become acutely distended and rupture. Parents and caregivers should be aware of this possibility and diet should be managed accordingly to treat symptoms and prevent whatever GI symptoms are possible.

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