What is Gastroparesis? | Gastroparesis Treatment, Symptoms, and Diet

Gastroparesis Symptoms

It ’ s possible to have gastroparesis and not have any symptoms. When symptoms of gastroparesis are present, they include :

  • Heartburn / Acid Reflux / Gastrointestinal Reflux (GERD)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling full quickly when eating
  • Abdominal pain or bloating
  • Loss of appetite / Weight loss / Malnutrition
  • Changes in blood sugar

Gastroparesis Causes

Doctors may not constantly be able to prove what ’ s causing gastroparesis. In most cases, gastroparesis is caused by damage to the vagus nerve .
The vagus heart controls the stomach muscles. If it is damaged, the digest muscles will not contract and move food out of the abdomen and into the small intestine in a normal way. This is besides known as stay gastric emptying.

potential causes of gastroparesis and vagus steel damage :

  • Diseases, such as diabetes
  • Infections
  • Abdominal surgery that results in damage to the vagus nerve

Medications Associated with Impaired  Gastric Emptying

  • Narcotics
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Clonidine
  • Dopamine agonists
  • Lithium
  • Nicotine
  • Progesterone

Gastroparesis Risk Factors

The risk for gastroparesis increases with :

  • Diabetes
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Infection
  • Certain medications, including some antidepressants and narcotics.
  • Scleroderma (connective tissue condition that can affect internal organs)
  • Nervous system disorders, like MS or Parkinson’s.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop gastroparesis than men.

Gastroparesis Complications

Complications of gastroparesis include :

  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Bacterial growth – food that stays in the stomach too long can ferment and lead to bacterial growth.
  • Bezoars – bezoars are solid masses that form in the stomach from undigested food. They can cause nausea, vomiting, and could be life-threatening if they block the pathway between the stomach and small intestine.
  • Unpredictable blood sugar levels – when emptying of food from the stomach is unpredictable, blood sugar levels are also unpredictable.  This can impact people with diabetes.

Gastroparesis Diagnosis

In addition to reviewing your checkup history, performing a physical examination, and blood tests, your repair may recommend the follow tests or procedures to aid in the diagnosis of gastroparesis :

Upper Endoscopy

Using a thin, lighted tube with a television camera on the end, the doctor of the church will inspect the esophagus, abdomen, and the first base share of the small intestine. This test may besides rule out other conditions that have the lapp symptoms as gastroparesis .

Gastric Emptying Study

One of the most authoritative tests in diagnosing gastroparesis is a gastric evacuate study. In this examination, patients eat a small meal ( such as an testis or oatmeal ) with a little amount of radioactive material. then, a read device is used to track the progress of food through the stomach. Talk to your repair about any medications you ’ re taking before this discipline, as some could impact the results .


The SmartPill is a small, non-digestible wireless capsule that transmits information about digestion to a receiver the patient wears around their waist. The information includes the ph degree, temperature, and pressure changes throughout the digestive tract. This can help determine how cursorily the stomach is emptying .

Imaging Tests

Your doctor may recommend an ultrasound or amphetamine GI series x-ray to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms .

Gastroparesis Treatment & Diet

Treatment normally begins by identifying and treating the underlie induce of gastroparesis. If the campaign is diabetes, your sophisticate will make recommendations for treatment .

Gastroparesis Diet

Making certain you get adequate nutriment is significant when managing gastroparesis. diet changes normally help people manage gastroparesis and are the inaugural step in discussion. It may be helpful to visit with a register dietician who can work with you to identify foods that are easier to digest.

Most people with gastroparesis can lead a relatively convention life by eating softer foods and drinking supplementary nutritional drinks .

Other gastroparesis diet advice includes:
  • Eat smaller meals (instead of 3 meals a day, have 5 or 6 smaller meals throughout the day)
  • Chew food completely
  • Choose cooked vegetables and fruits over raw, uncooked fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid fibrous vegetables and fruits, including broccoli and oranges
  • Avoid fatty-foods (these can slow digestion)
  • Drink plenty of water each day (1 to 1.5 liters)
  • Take a walk after you eat
  • Avoid alcohol, smoking, and carbonated beverages
  • Try not to lay down within 2 hours of eating

Below are recommended diet choices for people with gastroparesis. This is not an exhaustive list, and a dietician can provide a more dispatch list .


  • White bread and rolls
  • Light-colored whole wheat bread (without seeds or nuts)
  • Plain bagels
  • English muffins
  • Corn and flour tortillas
  • Pancakes
  • Cream of wheat
  • Saltines and other white crackers
  • White potatoes and sweet potatoes (without skin)
  • French fries (baked only, not fried)
  • Rice
  • Pasta

  • Lean beef, pork, and veal
  • Chicken and turkey (not fried and without skin)
  • Lobster, crab, shrimp, oysters, clams, scallops
  • Tuna (in water, not oil)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Tofu
  • Eggs
Fruits and vegetables

  • Tomato sauce, puree, paste, juice
  • Cooked carrots, beets, and mushrooms
  • Vegetable broth and juice
  • Fruit drinks and juices
  • Applesauce
  • Bananas
  • Pears and Peaches (canned)

  • Milk (if tolerated)
  • Yogurt
  • Pudding and custard
  • Frozen Yogurt

Gastroparesis Medications

  • Metoclopramide (Reglan) – This medication acts on the dopamine receptors in the stomach and can stimulate the stomach muscles.  Serious side effects can occur, and it should not be taken long term.
  • Erythromycin (Eryc, E.E.S.) – erythromycin is an antibiotic that stimulates the motilin receptors of the stomach.  This causes the stomach to contract and pass food. Over time, a medication tolerance can build up making the medication less effective with long-term use.  This medication may also cause diarrhea.
  • Domperidone – This medication also acts on the dopamine receptors, but has shown to have fewer side effects than Metoclopramide. Its use is restricted in the United States but domperidone is used in Mexico, Canada, and European countries.

Gastroparesis Surgery

operation for gastroparesis is reserved for people with austere symptoms that do not respond to early treatments. surgical options include the placement of venting tubes into the stomach. Thes venting tubes may reduce symptoms in patients with perennial dehydration and vomit .
A transdermal jejunostomy tube may be installed if nutritional supplementation is necessary .
In some cases, the lower separate of the abdomen may be stapled or bypassed to improve stomach empty .

Electrical Stimulation for Gastroparesis

One area of medical research is looking at electrical stimulation to treat gastroparesis. little electronics are attached to the abdomen wall. once activated, they can cause the stomach to contract. Studies haven ’ t shown significant improvements in abdomen empty, but have shown to reduce annoying symptoms of gastroparesis like nausea and vomit .

Gastroparesis FAQ

What foods should you avoid if you have gastroparesis?

Foods to avoid with gastroparesis include raw fruits and vegetables, hempen fruits and vegetables ( oranges, broccoli ), high-fat foods, carbonated drinks, and alcohol .

What is the best treatment for gastroparesis?

The best treatment for gastroparesis will depend on each individual patient and their response to discussion. Medications and operating room should only be considered after dietary and life style changes .

Can you reverse gastroparesis?

There is no cure for gastroparesis, but most people can find relief through dietary changes and medicine.

Are bananas good for gastroparesis?

Yes, bananas are considered ‘ dependable ’ food for people with gastroparesis .

Can gastroparesis kill you?

Gastroparesis is broadly non-life-threatening, but the complications can be good. They include malnutrition, dehydration, or a bezoar completely blocking the stream of food out of the stomach .

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