Gastroparesis


Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Gastroparesis (Disease)


Description

A person with gastroparesis has a chronic condition where the stomach takes longer than normal to push food into the small intestine. The primary symptoms of gastroparesis are nausea and vomiting. Other symptoms of gastroparesis include abdominal pain, bloating, early satiety (feeling full quickly when eating), and in severe cases, weight loss due to a reduced intake of food because of the symptoms. Reduced intake of food and restriction of the types of food that are eaten can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

The vomiting of gastroparesis usually occurs after meals; however, with severe gastroparesis, vomiting may occur without eating due simply to the accumulation of secretions in the stomach. The characteristic vomiting happens several hours after a meal when the stomach is maximally distended by the presence of food and secretions stimulated by the meal. Since the grinding action of the stomach is absent, the vomited food often remains in larger pieces and is easily recognized.

Causes and Risk factors

Gastroparesis is caused by anything that damages the vagus nerve, which stimulates the stomach muscles to contract. The food can also harden into solid masses, called bezoars, that may cause nausea, vomiting, and, sometimes, obstruction in the stomach. This can be dangerous if they block the passage of food into the small.

The most common cause of gastroparesis is diabetes, which can damage nerves throughout the body. Other possible causes include anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa and damage to the vagus nerve. Gastroparesis has also been associated with various connective tissue diseases, such as Scleroderma and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and neurological conditions, such as Parkinsons disease. It may also occur as part of a mitochondrial disorder.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment for gastroparesis may include weight reduction, vitamin supplements, and small, frequent meals. Other measures include a low fat diet, low fiber diet, medications for nausea, and medications to encourage stomach emptying. ...