Gastroparesis: Care Instructions

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The stomach


When you have gastroparesis, your stomach takes a lot longer to empty. This delay can cause belly pain, bloating, and belching. It also can cause hiccups, heartburn, nausea or vomiting. You may not feel like eating. These symptoms may come and go. They most often occur during and after meals. You may feel full after only a few bites of food.

This condition occurs when the nerves or muscles to the stomach don't work properly. Diabetes is one of the most common causes of this nerve damage. Gastroparesis can make it harder to control your blood sugar levels. But keeping your blood sugar levels under control may help with your symptoms. Parkinson's disease, stroke, and some medicines can also cause this condition.

Home treatment can often help.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Eat several small meals each day rather than three large meals.
  • Eat foods that are low in fiber and fat.
  • If your doctor suggests it, take medicines that help the stomach empty more quickly. These are called motility agents.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You are vomiting.
  • You have new or worse belly pain.
  • You have a fever.
  • You cannot pass stools or gas.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.