Recognizing the Symptoms of Diabetic Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis is a condition where the stomach empties slowly.

Several factors contribute to the movements of the stomach, including the vagus nerve and muscles of the stomach and bowels.

When these structures are damaged, the stomach's work can be "paralyzed," and food can be stored for long periods.

Diabetic gastroparesis, in particular, is caused by persistent high blood sugar levels, leading to chemical reactions and nerve and vessel damage to the vagus nerve.

NORMAL or DANGEROUS    Type Your Blood sugar Level:    mg/dl

If food stays in the stomach for too long and does not empty properly, it can lead to infections, such as a large mass (bezoar) that may eventually block the intestines.

Surgery is necessary in such cases, although it can be difficult and dangerous to remove the mass.

It is important to always address alimentary problems to a doctor to catch diabetic gastroparesis in its early stages when treatment is easier and complications are less severe.

The "ringing bell" symptoms of Diabetic Gastroparesis

Recognizing the "ringing bell" symptoms is crucial for early diagnosis.

The signs of gastroparesis are related to alimentary problems, such as frequent heartburns, vomiting, or unexplained weight loss.

When you eat, you may feel full earlier than usual or experience loss of appetite more often.

You may also experience abdominal bloating or gastroesophageal reflux.

Unusual changes in blood sugar levels that do not comply with food intake or daily needs may also indicate symptoms of diabetic gastroparesis.

This is because, when stomach does not empty normally, the food does not pass into the bowels to be then digested. Therefore, when you check your blood sugar and find high, you hardly could control it.

Tests for diagnosing Gastroparesis

After discussing all of your symptoms with your doctor, they may conduct various tests to diagnose diabetic gastroparesis.

These tests may include blood tests, ultrasounds, and radiographic tests such as Barium x-ray and barium beefsteak meal, gastric manometry, upper endoscopy, and radioisotope gastric-emptying scan.

Gastroparesis Treatment

The main goal of treatment for diabetic gastroparesis is to manage the condition to prevent severe complications.

Maintaining healthy blood glucose levels is crucial to impede further damage to the vagus nerve.

Dietary changes such as altering the time or amount of each meal may alleviate the situation.

However, in severe cases, feeding tubes or intravenous feeding may be required.


In conclusion, prevention is key to managing diabetic gastroparesis.

Understanding the causes of diabetes can help prevent it with determination and wisdom.

The same changes that can help prevent diabetes can also prevent severe complications, such as diabetic gastroparesis.

It is important to recognize the "ringing bell" symptoms and seek medical attention promptly to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment.

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Written by Dr.Albana Greca Sejdini, Md, MMedSc       

Medically reviewed by Dr.Ruden Cakoni, MD, Endocrinologist

Last reviewed 2/25/2023


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