Smart Pill Test

Six weeks ago, I did the smart pill test where you swallow a massive wireless ingestible capsule that records the motility at different points in your digestive tract. It also measures the pH, temperature, and pressure as it passes through the GI tract. This technology is pretty fascinating. The goal of this test is to determine gastric emptying time and small and large bowel transit time. 

In 2021, I was first diagnosed with gastroparesis by endoscopy, but a gastric emptying scan over the summer didn’t show the gastroparesis. Perhaps the results were confounded, as I was not able to finish the required pre-meal due to pain and nausea/retching. One of my GI doctors did not think the results of the test this summer were accurate and wanted further testing. 

The SmartPill has been on my “tests I want done” list for a while as it can give so much information about what is happening in the GI tract.  Sadly, Medtronic is discontinuing the production of its SmartPill, so it has become more difficult to obtain. 

After swallowing the SmartPill, I wore a pager for 5 days and clicked it anytime I experienced vomiting or significant GI symptoms. For more comprehensive results, I attempted to eat a few times and tracked my pain levels and symptoms. 

The results took a while to return, but they indicated conclusively I have gastroparesis. It was more shocking when the doctor told me I didn’t have it verses when she said I did. While none are perfect, there are some pharmaceutical treatments for gastroparesis including medications to stimulate stomach muscles. Already, I have tried and failed a few of these meds. My next step is to try Motegrity when/if it gets approved by insurance. 

There are some surgeries and gastric stimulators (like a pacemaker for the stomach) that can help with gastroparesis, but I don’t have an appetite (no pun intended) for anything that could cause a setback. So, please pray that Motegrity will get approved and work!