Jefferson Health

Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis is a stomach disorder in which the stomach takes too long in emptying its contents. If food remains in the stomach for too long, it can cause problems such as bacterial overgrowth from the fermentation of the food. The food can also harden into solid masses, called bezoars, that may cause nausea, vomiting and, sometimes, obstruction in the stomach. This can be dangerous if they block the passage of food into the small intestine.

Jefferson's expert team of digestive disease physicians is experienced in diagnosing and treating gastroparesis to help you manage its symptoms. Your medical team may include gastroenterologists who specialize in motility disorders (problems involving the movement of food through the digestive tract), endocrinologists, nutritionists and other specialists.

This collective expertise is brought together to provide personalized care through a multifaceted approach that may include:

  • Medication therapy
  • Dietary changes
  • Nutrition
  • Surgery (in severe cases)

How is Gastroparesis Diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for gastroparesis may include blood tests, a upper GI series (also called barium swallow) and a gastric manometry. We also offer the minimally invasive SmartPill Capsule, an ingestible device about the size of a large vitamin. It allows us to wirelessly gather valuable information of your entire GI tract, with no radiation in just one test.

Since diabetes is often an underlying cause of this condition, it is important that if you have diabetes to actively manage your condition, which can make gastroparesis more difficult to control.