Gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying, is a disorder that
slows or stops the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine.
In a healthy digestive system, strong muscular contractions move food
from the stomach through the digestive tract. However, with gastroparesis,
the stomach muscles work poorly (or not at all), thus preventing the stomach
from emptying properly.
Gastroparesis is a serious medical condition that can interfere with digestion,
cause nausea and vomiting, and cause problems with blood sugar levels
and nutrition. Unfortunately, there is no cure for gastroparesis, but
there are therapies that can help to improve symptoms and offer hope for
a better quality of life.
Causes and Risk Factors for Gastroparesis
It's not always clear what leads to gastroparesis. In fact, approximately
35% of cases of gastroparesis are idiopathic, meaning there is no known
cause for the condition.
The most common known cause of gastroparesis is uncontrolled diabetes.
People with diabetes have high levels of blood glucose. Over time, high
blood glucose levels can damage the nerve that controls the stomach muscles
Other identifiable causes of gastroparesis include:
- Gastric surgery with injury to the vagus nerve
- Medications that can slow the digestive system, such as narcotics and some
- Nervous system diseases, such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis
- Rare conditions such as: Amyloidosis (deposits of protein fibers in tissues
and organs) and scleroderma (a connective tissue disorder that affects
the skin, blood vessels, skeletal muscles, and internal organs).
Sign and Symptoms of Gastroparesis
The most common symptoms of gastroparesis are nausea, a feeling of fullness
after eating only a small amount of food, and vomiting undigested food.
Other symptoms of gastroparesis include:
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Abdominal pain and/or bloating
- Lack of appetite
- Changes in blood sugar levels
- Weight loss and malnutrition
Because gastroparesis symptoms are similar to many other gastrointestinal
conditions, accurate evaluation is critical to ensure proper treatment.
That’s why it’s important to seek care from a healthcare expert
experienced in the
complex diagnosis and
treatment of gastroparesis and other gastrointestinal conditions.
Expert Care You Can Trust!
The Hoag Digestive Disease Center, in alliance with USC Norris Comprehensive
Cancer Center, continues to lead the way in complex gastrointestinal care, providing
access to a highly specialized surgical team that works collaboratively
with Hoag-affiliated gastrointestinal surgeons, gastroenterologists and
other medical specialists to provide academic-level care. Hoag’s
accurate diagnosis, combined with
progressive therapeutic options enables Hoag patients to achieve some of the highest clinical outcomes
in the nation.
To schedule a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, or a second-opinion
consultation with a Hoag gastroenterology expert, visit
Meet the Team, or call us at: 888-566-9712.