What is the definition of Gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis is a condition that reduces the ability of the stomach to empty its contents. It does not involve a blockage (obstruction).

What are the alternative names for Gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis diabeticorum; Delayed gastric emptying; Diabetes - gastroparesis; Diabetic neuropathy - gastroparesis

What are the causes for Gastroparesis?

The exact cause of gastroparesis is unknown. It may be caused by a disruption of nerve signals to the stomach. The condition is a common complication of diabetes. It can also follow some surgeries.

Risk factors for gastroparesis include:

  • Diabetes
  • Gastrectomy (surgery to remove part of the stomach)
  • Systemic sclerosis
  • Use of medicine that blocks certain nerve signals (anticholinergic medicine)

What are the symptoms for Gastroparesis?

Symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal distention
  • Hypoglycemia (in people with diabetes)
  • Nausea
  • Premature abdominal fullness after meals
  • Weight loss without trying
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

What are the current treatments for Gastroparesis?

People with diabetes should always control their blood sugar level. Better control of blood sugar level may improve symptoms of gastroparesis. Eating small and more frequent meals and soft foods may also help relieve some symptoms.

Medicines that may help include:

  • Cholinergic drugs, which act on acetylcholine nerve receptors
  • Erythromycin
  • Metoclopramide, a medicine that helps empty the stomach
  • Serotonin antagonist drugs, which act on serotonin receptors

Other treatments may include:

  • Botulinum toxin (Botox) injected into the outlet of the stomach (pylorus)
  • Surgical procedure that creates an opening between the stomach and small intestine to allow food to move through the digestive tract more easily (gastroenterostomy)

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Gastroparesis?

Many treatments seem to provide only temporary benefit.

What are the possible complications for Gastroparesis?

Ongoing nausea and vomiting may cause:

  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Malnutrition

People with diabetes may have serious complications from poor blood sugar control.

When should I contact a medical professional for Gastroparesis?

Changes in your diet may help control symptoms. Contact your health care provider if symptoms continue or if you have new symptoms.

Digestive system


Bircher G, Woodrow G. Gastroenterology and nutrition in chronic kidney disease. In: Feehally J, Floege J, Tonelli M, Johnson RJ, eds. Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 86.

Koch KL. Gastric neuromuscular function and neuromuscular disorders. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 50.

  • Journal: World journal of gastroenterology
  • Published —
Disorders of the brain-gut interaction and eating disorders.
  • Condition: Mild to Moderate Delayed Gastric Emptying
  • Journal: Nutrients
  • Treatment Used: Lactobacillus gasseri OLL2716
  • Number of Patients: 28
  • Published —
In this study, researchers evaluated the outcomes of taking Lactobacillus gasseri OLL2716 for the treatment of mild to moderate delayed gastric emptying.
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Phase: N/A
  • Intervention Type: Dietary Supplement
  • Participants: 30
  • Start Date: August 1, 2019
Study to Intervene With Nutrition for Gastroparesis
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Phase: N/A
  • Intervention Type: Other
  • Participants: 70
  • Start Date: August 1, 2019
Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain and the Upper Gastrointestinal Tract in Healthy Volunteers and Patients With Gastroparesis