Chronic symptoms that are characteristic of gastroparesis include:
- Abdominal pain – dull to sharp pain in the upper stomach area that occurs inside the belly, often in the stomach or intestines.
- Nausea- a feeling of sickness felt in the abdomen, stomach, chest, or head with feeling the need to vomit.
- vomiting- bringing food back up from the stomach into the mouth.
- reflux – a burning feeling in the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth and stomach.
- Early fullness (satiety) – feeling full after only a small amount of food.
Other Symptoms that People Experience
- Bloating, as well as stomach discomfort or pain, is also noted by some persons with gastroparesis, particularly as symptoms become more severe.
- Weight loss may occur due to decreased appetite.
- Heartburn may occur as a result of reflux due to delayed stomach emptying.
If symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), like heartburn or regurgitation, do not respond to treatment a gastric emptying test may be done to check for delayed stomach emptying (gastroparesis).
GP symptoms can also lead to further health issues that lessen overall quality of life. People that experience nausea, abdominal pain, and early fullness are more likely to develop malnutrition. Malnutrition is when the body does not absorb enough nutrients including vitamins. Any combination of GP symptoms can have an impact on a patient’s quality of life and lead to depression, difficulty sleeping, and impaired digestion due to a decreased ability and to eat.
The symptoms of gastroparesis may often differ among persons with the condition. Symptoms usually occur during and after eating a meal.
Of note, the severity of symptoms in a person with gastroparesis does not necessarily tie together with how quickly the stomach empties.
The Most Troubling Gastroparesis Symptoms Reported by Patients
Respondents (1,423 adults) in the 2016 Gastroparesis in the Community Research Survey when asked to identify the most troubling symptoms when their gastroparesis became severe, reported the following:
- 51% Nausea
- 46% Stomach pain
- 30% Vomiting
- 25% Bloating
- 15% Stomach discomfort
Updated October 2021
Adapted from IFFGD Publication: Gastroparesis (Delayed Stomach Emptying) by Presented by J. Patrick Waring MD., Digestive Healthcare of Georgia, Piedmont Hospital, Atlanta, GA and William F. Norton, Publications Editor, International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD), Milwaukee, WI and IFFGD Publication: Gastroparesis Overview by: Baharak Moshiree MD MSc, Mackenzie Jarvis PA-C, DMs, Atrium Health, Wake Forest, Digestive Health-Morehead Medical Plaza; Marissa Lombardi, International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, Mt. Pleasant, SC