It's not always clear what leads to gastroparesis. But in many cases, gastroparesis is believed to be caused by damage to a nerve that controls the stomach muscles (vagus nerve).
The vagus nerve helps manage the complex processes in your digestive tract, including signaling the muscles in your stomach to contract and push food into the small intestine. A damaged vagus nerve can't send signals normally to your stomach muscles. This may cause food to remain in your stomach longer, rather than move normally into your small intestine to be digested.
The vagus nerve can be damaged by diseases, such as diabetes, or by surgery to the stomach or small intestine.
Jan. 15, 2014
- Camilleri M, et al. Clinical guideline: Management of gastroparesis. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2013;108:18.
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- Gastroparesis. American College of Gastroenterology. http://patients.gi.org/topics/gastroparesis/. Accessed Oct. 27, 2014.
- Camilleri M. Gastroparesis: Etiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 27, 2014.
- Camilleri M. Treatment of gastroparesis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 27, 2014.
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- Golden AK. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 14, 2014.
- Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 25, 2014.
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