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Gastroparesis

Nerve or muscle damage in the stomach that causes slow emptying, vomiting, nausea, or bloating.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)

About Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying, is a disorder that slows or stops the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. Normally, the muscles of the stomach, which are controlled by the vagus nerve, contract to break up food and move it through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. The movement of muscles in the GI tract, along with the release of hormones and enzymes, allows for the digestion of food. Gastroparesis can occur when the vagus nerve is damaged by illness or injury and the stomach muscles stop working normally. Food then moves slowly from the stomach to the small intestine or stops moving altogether.

What causes gastroparesis?

Most people diagnosed with gastroparesis have idiopathic gastroparesis, which means a health care provider cannot identify the cause, even with medical tests. Diabetes is the most common known cause of gastroparesis. People with diabetes have high levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar. Over time, high blood glucose levels can damage the vagus nerve. Other identifiable causes of gastroparesis include intestinal surgery and nervous system diseases such as Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis. For reasons that are still unclear, gastroparesis is more commonly found in women than in men....Read more about Gastroparesis NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

[Mosapride in treatment of diabetic gastroparesis: a meta-analysis]

Bibliographic details: He J, Wang Y, Ouyang X.  [Mosapride in treatment of diabetic gastroparesis: a meta-analysis]. Chinese Journal of Gastroenterology 2011; 16(2): 94-98

Wireless motility capsule in the diagnosis and evaluation of gastroparesis or slow-transit constipation

Bibliographic details: Mark DH.  Wireless motility capsule in the diagnosis and evaluation of gastroparesis or slow-transit constipation. Chicago, IL, USA: Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Technology Evaluation Center. Assessment Program; 27, 4. 201223527417

Wireless motility capsule versus other diagnostic technologies for evaluating gastroparesis and constipation: a comparative effectiveness review

Bibliographic details: Stein E, Berger Z, Hutfless S, Shah L, Wilson LM, Haberl EB, Bass EB, Clarke JO.  Wireless motility capsule versus other diagnostic technologies for evaluating gastroparesis and constipation: a comparative effectiveness review. Rockville, MD, USA: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Comparative Effectiveness Review; 110. 201323785726

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Terms to know

Blood Glucose
The main sugar found in the blood and the body's main source of energy. Also called blood sugar.
Diabetes Mellitus (Diabetes)
A disease in which the body does not control the amount of glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood and the kidneys make a large amount of urine. This disease occurs when the body does not make enough insulin or does not use it the way it should.
Digestion
The process of breaking down food into substances the body can use for energy, tissue growth, and repair.
Gastric
Having to do with the stomach.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Reflux of stomach contents with symptoms and/or complications from the reflux.
Hyperglycemia
Higher than normal amount of glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood. Hyperglycemia can be a sign of diabetes or other conditions. Also called high blood sugar.
Peristalsis
A wavelike movement of muscles in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Peristalsis moves food and liquid through the GI tract.
Small Intestine
The organ where most digestion occurs. It measures about 20 feet and includes the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum.
Stomach
An organ that is part of the digestive system. The stomach helps digest food by mixing it with digestive juices and churning it into a thin liquid.
Upper GI Endoscopy
Looking into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum with an endoscope.
Vagus Nerve
Either of the tenth pair of cranial nerves, which extends from the brainstem down into the abdomen. Branches of these important nerves supply the tongue, larynx, lungs, gut, and heart.

More about Gastroparesis

Photo of an adult woman

Also called: Gastric atony, Gastric stasis, Gastroparesis syndrome

Other terms to know: See all 11
Blood Glucose, Diabetes Mellitus (Diabetes), Digestion

Related articles:
How the Intestine Works

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