Dear Dr. Roach: A friend was given a test to see how long food stayed in her stomach after eating. She was told that it stayed only a short time before continuing its journey, a much shorter time than the average person. This was given as a reason for her obesity, that she experienced hunger sooner than most people.
Does this really happen, and is there a way for her to manage it so that she can lose weight? G.J.
Answer: A gastric emptying study is usually used to look for delayed gastric emptying, also called gastroparesis. It can be the result of several different types of nerve diseases, but especially diabetes. An abnormally rapid gastric emptying is also called dumping syndrome, and is often a problem after some types of gastric bypass surgeries.