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Diabetic Gastroparesis

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Diabetic gastroparesis is a type of nerve damage that slows digestion. High blood sugar levels from diabetes can damage nerves and tissues in your stomach. The damage prevents your stomach from emptying normally. Gastroparesis is also called delayed gastric emptying.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Seek care immediately if:

  • You are vomiting more severely or for a longer period than usual.
  • You urinate less than normal, and your mouth is dry.
  • You have fainted.
  • You have severe pain in your stomach or abdomen.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your blood sugar level is higher or lower than healthcare providers have told you it should be.
  • You continue to have pain and bloating in your abdomen.
  • You feel dizzy or weak.
  • You continue to have nausea and vomiting, or you are not able to eat.
  • You lose weight without trying.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

You may need any of the following:

  • Nausea medicine helps calm your stomach and prevent vomiting.
  • Motility medicine helps your stomach muscles move food and liquids out of your stomach faster. This medicine also may help you digest food better.
  • Erythromycin helps improve stomach emptying.
  • Insulin changes may be needed, or you may need to start taking insulin. If you normally take insulin before you eat, you may instead need to start taking it after you eat. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about the insulin you may need.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Walk after you eat. This may help speed digestion.
  • Follow the meal plan that your healthcare or dietitian gave you. This meal plan can help decrease your symptoms. The following may also help you manage your symptoms:
    • Eat less fat and fiber. High-fat and high-fiber foods may be hard for your stomach to digest.
    • Eat 4 to 6 small meals a day. Smaller, more frequent meals are easier for your stomach to handle.
    • Drink more liquids with your meals. Your healthcare provider may recommend liquid meals, such as soup. Liquid is easier to digest than solid food.
    • Ask if you should prepare your food in a blender. Blended foods are easier to digest. Ask for directions on which foods to use and how to blend the food correctly.
    • Ask about vitamins you may need and how to add them to your meals.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine can damage blood vessels, slow your digestion, and make it more difficult to manage your diabetes. Do not use e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco in place of cigarettes or to help you quit. They still contain nicotine. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help quitting.
  • Do not drink alcohol. These may slow your digestion further.
  • Follow your diabetes treatment plan. You may need to check your blood sugar more often. High blood sugar levels slow digestion and can make your symptoms worse.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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