(662) 282-4226 Open hours: Mon 7:30am - 7:00pm, T/W/Th 7:30am – 5:30pm, Fri 7:30am – 4:00pm
Diabetes and Gastroparesis

Diabetes and Gastroparesis

salad; diabetes and gastroparesis

We’ve written and talked a lot about nerve damage due to diabetes. Most of the time we discuss nerve damage to the feet, but nerves all over the body are subject to damage from diabetes. The vagus nerve, which controls the functions of the stomach, is another nerve that can be damaged if blood glucose levels stay too high for too long.

The vagus nerve controls stomach muscles, prompting them to move and digest your food after you eat. When the nerve is damaged, food doesn’t digest as quickly as it should or sometimes at all. This further complicates diabetes because the stomach may digest food at unpredictable rates, which means blood sugar becomes harder to control. This damage causes gastroparesis and it affects both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics.


When food lingers in the stomach longer than it should, patients often experience

  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting of undigested food
  • Early feeling of fullness when eating
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Erratic blood glucose (sugar) levels
  • Lack of appetite
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Spasms of the stomach wall

These symptoms may be present every time a patient eats, only when they eat certain foods or at random times. When nausea and vomiting persist for too long, patients may need IV fluids or hospitalization.


The bad news is gastroparesis has no cure. The goal of treatment is to manage the disease. Each case of gastroparesis is unique and patients who think they may have gastroparesis should talk to their providers.

Medical providers may prescribe medications which can aid in digestion. They may also suggest diet changes. Eating smaller meals and consuming foods low in fiber and fat can also speed digestion. Some patients benefit from sitting up or walking after meals instead of lying down.

In severe cases, a feeding tube may become necessary.


Now that we’ve given you the worst-case scenario, let’s talk about how to prevent Type 2 diabetes and gastroparesis if you already have diabetes.

Since gastroparesis is caused by damage to the vagus nerve from high blood glucose levels, one way to prevent gastroparesis is to keep blood glucose levels under control. If you’re struggling to manage your diabetes talk to your medical provider or a nutritionist to create a routine that helps you manage your blood sugar levels.

If you do not have diabetes find out how to create a lifestyle that reduces your risk of diabetes. Not only will you possibly save your stomach but all the nerves in your body. Eat a balanced diet low in sugar and processed foods. Stay active. Don’t smoke. Lose weight if you need to. All these activities give your body one more layer of protection against many chronic illnesses.

Diabetes isn’t the only risk factor for gastroparesis. People who have had abdominal surgery, who take certain medications such as narcotic pain medications, have an underlying nervous system disease or hypothyroidism maybe also experience a slow emptying of the stomach.

If you have any of these symptoms see your provider and discuss what might be the cause and how to treat your stomach problems so you feel better faster.

Speak Your Mind


Our Providers Are Ready to Help You

Request Your Appointment Now