About gastroparesis

What is gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis facts

  • Gastroparesis is a disease of the muscles of the stomach or the nerves controlling the muscles that causes the muscles to stop working.
  • Gastroparesis results in inadequate grinding of food by the stomach, and poor emptying of food from the stomach into the intestine.
  • The primary symptoms of gastroparesis are nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
  • Gastroparesis is best diagnosed by a test called agastric emptying study.
  • Gastroparesis usually is treated with nutritional support, drugs for treating nausea and vomiting, drugs that stimulate the muscle to contract, and, less often, electrical pacing, and surgery.

What is gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis means weakness of the muscles of the stomach. Gastroparesis results in poor grinding of food in the stomach into small particles and slow emptying of food from the stomach into the small intestine.

The stomach is a hollow organ composed primarily of muscle. Solid food that has been swallowed is stored in the stomach while it is ground into tiny pieces by the constant churning generated by rhythmic contractions of the stomach's muscles. Smaller particles are digested better in the small intestine than larger particles, and only food that has been ground into small particles is emptied from the stomach and well digested. Liquid food does not require grinding.

The ground solid and liquid food is emptied from the stomach into the small intestine slowly in a metered fashion. The metering process allows the emptied food to be well-mixed with the digestive juices of the small intestine, pancreas, and liver (bile) and to be absorbed well from the intestine. The metering process by which solid and liquid foods are emptied from the stomach is a result of a combination of relaxation of the muscle in parts of the stomach designed to accommodate (store) food, and the pressure generated by the muscle in other parts of the stomach that pushes the food into the small intestine. (Thus, the stomach can store and empty food at the same time.) The metering also is controlled by the opening and closing of the pylorus, the muscular opening of the stomach into the small intestine.

When the contractions of the stomach's muscles are weakened, food is not thoroughly ground and does not empty into the intestine normally. Since the muscular actions whereby solid food and liquid food are emptied from the stomach are slightly different, the emptying of solids and liquids follows different time courses, and there may be slow emptying of solid food (most common), solid and liquid food (less common), or liquid food alone (least common).

What are the symptoms for gastroparesis?

Signs and symptoms of gastroparesis include:

Many people with gastroparesis don't have any noticeable signs and symptoms.

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you.

What are the causes for gastroparesis?

It's not always clear what leads to gastroparesis. But in many cases, gastroparesis is believed to be caused by damage to a nerve that controls the stomach muscles (vagus nerve).

The vagus nerve helps manage the complex processes in your digestive tract, including signaling the muscles in your stomach to contract and push food into the small intestine. A damaged vagus nerve can't send signals normally to your stomach muscles. This may cause food to remain in your stomach longer, rather than move normally into your small intestine to be digested.

The vagus nerve can be damaged by diseases, such as diabetes, or by surgery to the stomach or small intestine.

What are the treatments for gastroparesis?

Treatment of gastroparesis includes diet, medication, and devices or procedures that facilitate emptying of the stomach. The goals of treatment include:

  1. To provide a diet containing foods that are more easily emptied from the stomach.
  2. Controlling underlying conditions that may be aggravating gastroparesis.
  3. Relieve symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
  4. Stimulate muscle activity in the stomach so that food is properly ground and emptied from the stomach
  5. Maintaining adequate nutrition.

What are the risk factors for gastroparesis?

Factors that can increase your risk of gastroparesis:

  • Diabetes
  • Abdominal or esophageal surgery
  • Infection, usually a virus
  • Certain medications that slow the rate of stomach emptying, such as narcotic pain medications
  • Scleroderma (a connective tissue disease)
  • Nervous system diseases, such as Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis
  • Hypothyroidism (low thyroid)

Women are more likely to develop gastroparesis than are men.

Is there a cure/medications for gastroparesis?

Infection that leads to unstable functioning of stomach muscles in emptying it and moving the food to the small intestines is called Gastroparesis.

Gastroparesis has very peculiar and common traits of sending the message that the gut is not well and needs immediate attention. It creates problems with nutrition and blood sugar levels.


Doctors use the following methods to understand if the symptoms are of this disease once the patient complains of heaviness and incomplete system clearance.

  • Breath Tests: Measures substance of consumption as foods through patient’s breath.
  • Scintigraphy: The scanner detects the movement of radioactive material placed by them on the patient’s abdomen.
  • Ultrasound: To diagnose problems in the Gall bladder and the kidney.
  • Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy: To diagnose other diseases.

Severe cases need surgeries and Therapies like:

  • Gastric Electrical Stimulation and Pacing
  • Surgical Treatment
  • Endoscopy (in few cases yet)

Doctors suggest eating a healthy diet and drinking enough fluid for a home cure and smooth functioning as:

  • Well-cooked food
  • Soups and Pureed Seeds
  • Avoid laying down
  • Avoid carbonated drinks
  • Choose low-fat foods
  • Include Multivitamin daily

There are prescribed medications in case to stimulate stomach muscles and control vomiting and nausea and deplete the infection.

Weight Loss,Changes in Blood Sugar levels,Malnutrition,Feeling of Fullness
Antiemetics,Erythromycin,Reglan,Domperidone,Diphenhydramine (Benadryl),Ondansetron (Zofran)
Lack of Appetite,Vomiting,Bloating,Abdominal Paine,Acidity,Nausea

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