Gastroparesis Complications

Complications of GP from Puristat.

Diabetes and blood sugar fluctuations:

While delayed gastric emptying doesn’t cause diabetes, the disorder can make diabetes worse by making blood sugar levels more difficult to control. Inconsistent food absorption and unpredictable stomach emptying can cause erratic changes in blood glucose levels, in turn worsening both diabetes and gastroparesis.

Malnutrition and weight loss:

Delayed stomach emptying can affect the body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients, leading to malabsorption problems and unwanted weight loss.

Bacterial overgrowth and bezoars:

Food that stays in the stomach too long can cause bacterial overgrowth from the fermentation of food, and disrupt gut flora balance. Stagnation can lead to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), also referred to as small bowel bacterial overgrowth (SBBO).

Conditions that interfere with muscular activity in the small intestine allow bacteria to stagnate and multiply in the small intestine. The lack of muscular activity may also allow bacteria to spread backwards from the colon and into the small intestine.2

SIBO is a condition in which abnormally large numbers of bacteria are present in the small intestine. Normally, the types of bacteria within the small intestine are different than those within the colon. With SIBO, the types of bacteria present resemble colonic bacteria rather than those normally present in the small intestine.

Undigested food can also harden into a bezoar, a solid mass that can be likened to the hairballs that develop in cats. This may cause nausea, vomiting, and can be life-threatening if they prevent the passage of food into the small intestine.

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