About Gastroparesis

The most common symptoms of gastroparesis – chronic nausea and vomiting – can make everyday activities a challenge.

Definition

Gastroparesis is a stomach disorder in which food is digested more slowly than normal. In a healthy digestive system, strong muscular contractions move food from the stomach through the digestive tract. With gastroparesis, however, the stomach muscles work poorly (or not at all), thus preventing the stomach from emptying properly.

Causes

The most common causes of gastroparesis are:

  • Idiopathic
  • Diabetes, either type 1 or type 2
  • Post-surgical

Symptoms

Most patients present with upper-gastrointestinal symptoms or with symptoms related to disordered gastric motor function. These include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Feelings of fullness after only a few bites of food (early satiety)
  • Heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Changes in blood sugar levels
  • Lack of appetite
  • Excessive weight loss

Risk Factors

The impact of gastroparesis on physical well-being can be devastating. It can cause chronic nausea and vomiting and lead to malnutrition and inadequate blood sugar levels. Living with gastroparesis also affects emotional well-being – the constant discomfort of chronic nausea and vomiting can have an impact on school and work performance, family and personal relationships, and social activities.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask for some additional testing (after taking a complete medical history and performing a physical examination) in order to determine a diagnosis. This testing may include:

  • Primary Tests
    • Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy
    • Gastric emptying test (GET)
  • Secondary Tests
    • Gastroduodenal manometry
    • Electrogastrography (EGG)

Ask your doctor about other medical conditions or medications that may cause symptoms similar to those of gastroparesis.

Safety Information

Safety information concerning EnterraTM therapy
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Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 22 Sep 2010

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