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Diabetes & Gastroparesis
Gastroparesis causes and treatements

Gastroparesis (stomach paralysis) is a condition sometimes associated with diabetes when there is a delay with the stomach emptying its contents. This delay is due to stomach nerve damage caused by high blood sugars over a long period of time.

The result of gastroparesis is that instead of contractions pushing the food through the stomach, the food stays around in the stomach until acid and digestive enzymes break it down and gravity helps the process. When food lingers in the stomach too long, it can cause bacterial overgrowth from fermentation of food – flatulence. The food can also harden and cause nausea, vomiting and obstruction in the stomach.

How do you know if you have it?

You may feel full or bloated after only a few bites of food. You may experience vomiting, heartburn, nausea or excessive belching after eating.

Common treatments for gastroparesis:

  • Keep blood sugar in the best control
  • Eat small, frequent meals
  • Limit food that are hard to digest (high fiber, high fat, citrus fruits)
  • Replace some solid meals with liquid meals
  • Limit/avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Exercise to increase motility

Please consult your doctor to determine if you have this condition to avoid serious complications.

Marci Sloane, MS, RD, LD/N, CDE, is a registered and licensed dietitian/nutritionist and certified diabetes educator with a degree in Nutrition and Physiology from Teachers College at Columbia University. Marci is the author of The Diet Game: Playing for Life! More about Marci Sloane

The goal of Destination Diabetes® is to be a useful and credible resource for the more than 20 million children and adults who have diabetes in the U.S. and their families. Destination Diabetes® provides information on a wide range of diabetes health and wellness topics. Articles are written or reviewed by diabetes advisors who have experience in diabetes education.