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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Gastroparesis
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After a meal, the stomach normally empties in 1½ to 2 hours. When you have gastroparesis, your stomach takes a lot longer to empty. The delay results in bothersome and possibly serious symptoms because digestion is altered.
Bezoar is a fairly rare condition related to gastroparesis. In this condition, food stays in the stomach for a long time and forms a hard lump. This causes food to get stuck in the stomach.
Gastroparesis occurs when the nerves to the stomach are damaged or don't work. Diabetes is the most common cause. Other causes include some disorders of the nervous system, such as Parkinson's disease and stroke, and some medicines, such as tricyclic antidepressants, calcium channel blockers, and opioid pain relievers. This condition can also be a complication of gastric surgery.
The most common symptoms of gastroparesis are:
Gastroparesis may be suspected in a person with diabetes who has upper digestive tract symptoms or has blood sugar levels that are hard to control. Controlling blood sugar levels may reduce symptoms of gastroparesis.
Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and will do a physical exam. He or she may also need to do tests to check your stomach and digestion and to rule out other problems that may be causing your symptoms. Tests that may be done include:
You can make changes to your lifestyle to help relieve your symptoms of gastroparesis. Here are some things to try:
If you need help making changes to your diet, ask your doctor or a dietitian for help.
There are also medicines that can help with gastroparesis, including:
Changes to diet and medicines help most people who have gastroparesis. If that doesn't work, your doctor may have to try something else. At first, you may need to try a different medicine or take more than one medicine. Other treatments that have been tried for severe gastroparesis include:
Other Works Consulted
American Diabetes Association (2017). Standards of medical care in diabetes—2017. Diabetes Care, 40(Suppl 1): S1–S135.
American Gastroenterological Association (2004). AGA medical position statement: Diagnosis and treatment of gastroparesis. Gastroenterology, 127(5): 1589–1591.
American Gastroenterological Association (2004). AGA technical review on the diagnosis and treatment of gastroparesis. Gastroenterology, 127(5): 1592–1622.
Chan WW, Burakoff R (2012). Disorders of gastric and small bowel motility. In NJ Greenberger et al., eds., Current Diagnosis and Treatment: Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Endoscopy, 2nd ed., pp. 214–223. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Mahimo H, et al. (2005). Effects of diabetes mellitus on the digestive system. In Joslin's Diabetes Mellitus, 14th ed., pp. 1070–1102. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Current as of: August 12, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineElizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine
Current as of: August 12, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine
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