Gastroparesis is a medical term for delayed emptying of stomach contents. It occurs from damage to the vagus nerve that extends from the brain to the stomach, and is usually associated with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Unregulated high blood sugar (glucose) levels of diabetes damage nerves and blood vessels throughout the body, including the vagus nerve in the gastrointestinal tract. Idiopathic gastroparesis is a similar condition in which the exact cause is unknown. It is treated in the same manner as diabetes-related gastroparesis.
Symptoms of gastroparesis can range from mild to severe and include the following:
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Stomach pain from undigested food, obstruction
Abdominal distension (bloating)
Loss of appetite
Uncontrolled blood glucose levels
Food that remains in the stomach too long can harden into a ball called a bezoar that can block passage to the small intestine. Additionally, bacteria can grow on undigested food that remains in the stomach.