Causes and Risk Factors

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 (vagus nerve).

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 antidepressants
  • 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).