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Gastroparesis Symptoms

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

Gastroparesis is a long term condition and often is a manifestation of another underlying condition such as diabetes. The important symptoms of this condition are related to delayed emptying of the stomach’s food contents into the small intestines. The symptoms may range from mild to severe and may come and go.

Some of the important symptoms of gastroparesis include:-

  • Increased nausea and vomiting. The patient complains of nausea at the start of the meal and after a few bites. Increased fullness of the stomach may also trigger vomiting. Vomiting of undigested foods after several hours of the meal is a common sign of gastroparesis.
  • Patient often complains of feeling full after a few initial bites of the meal. This is more so if the meal is taken with large amounts of water.
  • There is usually upper abdominal pain in some cases.
  • Due to long term lack of nutrition and early fullness accompanied by nausea and vomiting, there is a chronic weight loss.
  • There may be severe loss of appetite.
  • There is bloating of the abdomen.
  • Symptoms of heart burn and those symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease are commonly seen in patients with gastroparesis.
  • There are fluctuations of blood glucose levels that makes control of diabetes difficult.
  • Due to prolonged vomiting there may be severe dehydration and electrolyte loss. This may become life-threatening if not treated early.
  • There may be symptoms of vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition as well.
  • Eating solid foods and high-fibre foods including raw fruits and vegetables as well as fatty foods, or drinks high in fat or carbonated drinks may aggravate the symptoms of gastroparesis.
  • With time there may be complications such as stasis of foods in the stomach leading to bacterial overgrowth and fermentation of the food contents. The food may also become had and turn into a bezoar. This bezoar triggers nausea, vomiting and sometimes obstruction of the intestines.

Reviewed by , BA Hons (Cantab)

Further Reading

Last Updated: Mar 24, 2013

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