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What is gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis is a form of nerve damage that affects the stomach. Digestion of food may be incomplete or delayed, resulting in nausea, vomiting or bloating, making blood glucose levels difficult to manage.

For most people, food empties from the stomach within two to four hours after eating. But for those with a condition known as gastroparesis, the stomach doesn’t empty properly, which may cause severe nausea, vomiting and other problems.

Many people with diabetes have a condition known as gastroparesis, which is also known as delayed gastric emptying. What happens is that the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. Signs and symptoms of gastroparesis may include stomach upset such as heartburn, nausea, an early feeling of fullness when eating and abdominal bloating.

There are many other causes of stomach upset. Eliminating various foods may help identify any offending foods. If you are unable to determine if your symptoms are food-related, talk with your doctor. He or she can investigate further to determine the cause of your stomach upset.

Gastroparesis is a complication of diabetes. It happens when the nerves that regulate how the gut moves food forward in the digestive process are damaged from being exposed to high blood sugar for many years. Consequently, the stomach does not empty out the way it normally would. Patients may have nausea, bloating, poor appetite and problems controlling their blood sugar because they can no longer predict how quickly the food is absorbed from the gut.

Good blood sugar control is the best prevention. I am very happy that Mount Sinai just happens to have one of the best gastroenterology divisions in the world, and I can refer my patients to some really good people who know what they are doing.

Dr. Melissa B. Bagloo, MD
Bariatric Medicine (Obesity Medicine) Specialist

Gastroparesis is a disorder in which the stomach cannot contract and empty its contents into the intestines in the absence of any intestinal blockage. Because people with gastroparesis cannot move food properly through their digestive system, they may experience symptoms including pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating, malnutrition and more.

Gastroparesis is a relatively common disorder in which the stomach has trouble emptying its contents properly, causing food to remain for an unusual amount of time.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.