Gastroparesis is a disorder in which the stomach takes too long to empty after eating. The delay is caused by damage to the stomach nerves and results in bloating, heartburn, and possibly serious symptoms because digestion is altered.

Diabetes is the most common cause of gastroparesis. 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 narcotics.

The most common symptoms of gastroparesis are:

  • A feeling of fullness after only a few bites of food.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Food coming back up your throat, without nausea or vomiting.

Symptoms range from mild to severe. Severe symptoms of gastroparesis may improve with treatment using medicines that help with nausea and vomiting (antiemetics) and medicines that help the stomach empty more quickly (motility agents). In very severe cases, a feeding tube placed in the small intestine may be needed.

Current as of: November 14, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology