What Is the Treatment for a Vagus Nerve Disorder?

After it is determined that the vagus nerve is damaged or disordered, an initial step in treatment is typically nerve therapy, in which the nerve is exposed to electric pulses to regulate nerve signals, according to MD Health. Medication may be necessary to treat the symptoms caused by a vagus nerve disorder. The medication needed will depend on what part of the body (the stomach, heart or other organ) is being negatively affected by the disordered nerve.

Vagus nerve disorders include over- and under-active vagus nerves, as stated by MD Health. Overactive vagus nerves can cause frequent fainting spells but otherwise do not cause major health issues. However, under-active vagus nerves can lead to gastroparesis, a condition in which the stomach does not properly push food into the intestines during the digestion process. Gastroparesis can lead to other issues, such as a decreased heart rate, stomach discomfort and other indigestion symptoms.

Regarding gastroparesis, the vagus nerves, which are responsible for controlling the stomach muscles, help to facilitate digestion by signaling the stomach muscles to push digested food from the stomach to the intestines, as described by the Mayo Clinic. A disordered vagus nerve does not do its job of signaling stomach muscles, resulting in a slowed digestion process and food remaining in the stomach longer than normal and eventually leading to gastroparesis. Vagus nerves can also help to facilitate other bodily functions, from the heartbeat to other muscles’ movements.