Gastroparesis: Symptoms and Causes

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Gastroparesis is a digestive disorder in which the motility of the stomach is either abnormal or absent. "Gastro" means stomach and "paresis" means weakness. Gastroparesis is a weak stomach. This condition is very common. It can be the cause of a number of abdominal complaints. It is usually not a serious problem and there are effective treatments available. In normal health, when the stomach is functioning normally. The stomach has two parts. The upper portion is called the fundus which is where swallowed food and liquid collect. The lower portion is called the antrum. This is the stomach grinder. It is where food is churned back and forth until it is broken into small fragments and then squirted out into the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. Contractions of the stomach help to crush ingested food and then propel the pulverized food into the small intestine where further digestion and absorption of nutrients occurs. When the condition of gastroparesis is present the stomach is unable to contract normally, and therefore cannot crush food nor can it propel food into the small intestine properly. Normal digestion may not occur.

There are a number of causes for this condition. The most common one is Diabetes. Some other causes could be from adrenal and thyroid gland problems, anorexia, bulimia, neuromuscular diseases, idiopathic, and some forms of chemotherapy, and surgery of the upper intestinal tract. Any surgery on the esophagus, stomach or duodenum may result in injury to the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve, which is responsible for many sensory and motor responses of the intestine. The vagus nerve sends neurotransmitter impulses to the smooth muscle of the stomach that results in contraction and forward propulsion of gastric contents. If the vagus is injured during surgery gastric emptying may not occur. Symptoms of postoperative gastroparesis may develop immediately or even years after a surgery is performed. Some...
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