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Gastroparesis

What Is Gastroparesis? 

Gastroparesis is a disorder that causes food to move through the stomach more slowly than normal. Normally, the muscles of the stomach push food and digestive juices through the digestive tract. When these muscles are slowed down, your body is not able to empty the stomach properly. Damage to the vagus nerve, which is the nerve that controls the stomach muscles, is the most common cause of gastroparesis. However, the cause is not always known.

Risk factors for developing gastroparesis include:

  • Diabetes

  • Stomach or esophagus surgery

  • Infection

  • Certain medications, including pain medication

  • Nervous system diseases

  • Low thyroid

  • Connective tissue diseases

Statistics

Gastroparesis affects more than 1.5 million Americans. Studies also suggest that of those suffering from gastroparesis:

  • About 100,000 suffer from a severe form of gastroparesis.

  • Standard medical therapy fails to relieve symptoms in approximately 30,000 patients.

  • 20 percent of individuals with gastroparesis have type 1 diabetes.

  • Individuals with type 2 diabetes may also be at a higher risk of developing the disorder.

Diabetic Gastroparesis

Diabetes can affect many areas of the body, including the digestive tract. High blood glucose over an extended period of time can damage the vagus nerve, which controls food movement through both intestines. Food stays longer in the digestive tract longer in gastroparesis, which can also raise blood sugar levels – making this digestive disorder even more dangerous for individuals with diabetes.

If you have diabetes and gastroparesis, find a gastroenterologist near you to help you effectively manage your condition and blood sugar levels.

When to Seek a Specialist

If you have symptoms associated with gastroparesis, schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist. 

Symptoms of gastroparesis include:

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Feeling full after a few bites

  • Vomiting undigested food

View all gastroparesis symptoms

A Team-Centered Approach

The Temple Digestive Disease Center delivers a team-centered, state-of-the-art approach to a wide range of digestive diseases and conditions, including gastroparesis. Our gastroenterologists are highly trained and offer the latest advances in care, including minimally invasive procedures and proven surgical techniques. Highlights include:

  • Designated by National Institutes of Health (NIH) – The Temple Digestive Disease Center is one of only five locations in the country designated by the NIH to study gastroparesis.

  • Specialized careHenry Parkman, MD is a world-renowned gastroparesis specialists who delivers expert care and the latest advances in treatment to patients.

  • Latest advances in care – Temple gastroenterologists are the leaders in minimally invasive surgery and are often the first to offer the newest standards of care for a wide range of digestive disorders.

  • State-of-the-art facilities – We offer advanced technology to diagnose, treat and manage complex digestive disorders.

  • Clinical trials – Part of a leading academic center, Temple physicians participate in the latest research and clinical trials for digestive disorders, including access and opportunity to participate in select trials.

  • Convenient location – The Temple Health Digestive Disease Center offers outstanding care at convenient locations across Greater Philadelphia.

We are proud to be the proven leader in digestive disorders and deliver innovative care in diagnosing, treating and managing your condition so that you can live a full, healthy and active life.

When to See a Doctor

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of gastroparesis, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat gastroparesis.