Gastroparesis: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

Gastroparesis – sometimes referred to as delayed gastric emptying – is a medical condition where the stomach muscles don’t work properly, causing delayed emptying of the stomach. This means that food stays in the stomach longer than it should. In the United States, it’s estimated that around 5 million people suffer from Gastroparesis. While it can affect anyone, there are certain risk groups, including individuals with diabetes, those who have undergone certain surgeries, and people with autoimmune disorders or connective tissue disorders. Understanding this condition is crucial to recognize the symptoms and get the right diagnosis and treatment.


Are There Different Types of Gastroparesis?

Information about the different types of Gastroparesis can be overwhelming. To make it easier to understand, we’ve created this table which explains which types there are, what they entail, and what their prevalence is. Keep in mind that the mentioned prevalence numbers are approximate estimates and can vary.

Type of Gastroparesis Description Prevalence
Diabetic Gastroparesis Associated with diabetes, affects stomach motility. Prevalence: About 30-50% of people with diabetes.
Idiopathic Gastroparesis Cause is unknown, delayed stomach emptying occurs. Prevalence: Accounts for around 40-50% of cases.
Postsurgical Gastroparesis Can develop after certain surgical procedures. Prevalence: Varies based on the type of surgery.
Autoimmune Gastroparesis Immune system mistakenly attacks stomach nerves. Prevalence: Less common, exact prevalence is unclear.
Drug-induced Gastroparesis Certain medications can slow stomach motility. Prevalence: Varies based on medication usage.
Connective Tissue Disorder-related Gastroparesis Associated with certain connective tissue disorders. Prevalence: Less common, prevalence varies by disorder.

What Causes Gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis can occur due to various factors. One of the primary causes is diabetes, where high blood sugar levels can damage the nerves responsible for controlling the stomach muscles. Additionally, certain medications, such as opioids and antidepressants, can contribute to the development of Gastroparesis. Surgeries involving the stomach or esophagus, such as gastric bypass surgery, can also lead to this condition.

Infections, particularly viral infections, can affect the stomach’s ability to function properly. Hormonal disorders like hypothyroidism and disorders affecting the nervous system, such as Parkinson’s disease, can be associated with Gastroparesis as well. In some cases, the exact cause remains unknown. By understanding the potential causes, healthcare providers can identify the underlying factors contributing to Gastroparesis and tailor treatment approaches accordingly. Continue reading on the next page and discover how you can recognize this stomach condition and what you should do if you suspect you’re suffering from it.

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