What is gastroparesis?

What is gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis is a gastric motility disorder. In gastroparesis, the muscular contractions of the stomach are impaired, and the contents of the stomach empty into the small intestine too slowly. There is however only a weak relationship between the degree of slowing in gastric emptying and the severity of symptoms, and heightened sensation of the stomach and intestine also likely plays a role in causing symptoms.

How many people are affected?

It is not known for certain how many people suffer from gastroparesis, however it has been estimated that the condition might affect up to 4% of the population.

Women are more likely to be diagnosed with gastroparesis than men. Around 80% of people diagnosed with gastroparesis are female.

When does gastroparesis start?

Gastroparesis symptoms can start at any age, however the average age of onset is between 40–45 years.

Types of gastroparesis

The most common types of gastroparesis are:

Idiopathic gastroparesis

There is no identifiable cause for the symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms might begin following gastroenteritis.

Diabetic gastroparesis

Diabetes mellitus is commonly linked to gastroparesis – around 20–50% of people with longstanding diabetes experience gastroparesis.

Post-surgical gastroparesis

Symptoms begin following surgery to the upper gastrointestinal tract (i.e. the stomach or the esophagus).

For more information on the causes of gastroparesis, click here.

Symptoms of gastroparesis