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Gastroparesis is a stomach disorder. It happens when your stomach takes too long to empty out food.
If food stays in your stomach for too long, it can cause problems. Too much bacteria may grow.
The food can also harden into solid masses, called bezoars. These masses may upset your stomach and make you vomit. They can also create a blockage in your stomach. This can be dangerous if it stops food from passing into your small intestine.
In most cases gastroparesis is a long-term (chronic) condition.
Gastroparesis is caused when your vagus nerve is damaged or stops working. The vagus nerve controls how food moves through your digestive tract. When this nerve doesn’t work well, food moves too slowly or stops moving.
The vagus nerve gets damaged if you have diabetes and your blood sugar or blood glucose levels stay high over a long period of time.
Other causes of gastroparesis include:
Each person’s symptoms may vary. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of gastroparesis may look like other health problems. Always see your doctor to be sure.
Your healthcare provider will give you a physical exam and ask about your past health. He or she may also use other tests, including:
In most cases gastroparesis is a long-term or chronic health problem. It can’t be cured. But you can manage the disease with a care plan.
If you have diabetes and gastroparesis, the main goal is to control your blood sugar levels.Any medicines that can cause gastroparesis will likely be stopped.
Your healthcare provider will create a care plan for you based on:
Your care plan may include:
Gastroparesis can cause other health problems because food moves too slowly through your stomach. These health problems include:
Gastroparesis can lead to weight loss and not getting enough nutrients (malnutrition). It is very important to follow your health care provider’s diet instructions.
In most cases you will be given a special diet. This will have foods that are easier to digest and pass through your stomach. You may also be given medicines to take. Follow all instructions carefully.
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