Last Updated on Jun 13, 2019

What is Gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis is a disorder of the stomach muscles and nerves that causes slow emptying of food from your stomach to your intestine. Gastroparesis is also known as delayed gastric emptying, stomach paralysis, gastric atony or gastric stasis. In the normal process of digestion after food is swallowed it is broken down into smaller pieces and propelled into the small intestine. If the stomach muscles do not function properly or there is stomach nerve damage [vagus nerve], the food stays in stomach for a much longer time. This may result in complications such as bacterial growth in stomach, high blood sugar fluctuations, weight loss and obstructions in the stomach.

What are the Causes of Gastroparesis?

  • Idiopathic (36%)
  • Diabetes (29%)
  • Post surgical (13 %) - Surgery of the esophagus, stomach or small intestine may cause stomach nerve damage and result in gastroparesis
  • Parkinson’s disease (7.5%)
  • Hypothyroidism (low thyroid function)
  • Collagen diseases (4.8%) such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and systemic sclerosis
  • Diseases of the brainstem, autonomic nervous system
  • Radiation therapy on chest or stomach area
  • Post viral gastroenteritis
  • Structural abnormalities of enteric nerves
  • Medications such as antidepressants, narcotic pain medicines such as morphine and codeine, medicines to treat overactive bladder
  • Bone marrow and other organ transplants


  1. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases-Digestive diseases- Gastroparesis - (
  2. Treatment options for patients with severe gastroparesis - (
  3. American Diabetes Organisation- Living with Diabetes - (
  4. National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)- Gastroparesis - (
  5. American College of Gastroenterology - (
  6. National Health Service [NHS]- gastroparesis - (
  7. International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders-Dietary & Lifestyle Measures - (
  8. International foundation for gastrointestinal disorders- gastroparesis - (

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