Medical Definition of Paralysis, stomach

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Paralysis, stomach: Formally called gastroparesis, this is a medical condition in which the muscle of the stomach is paralyzed by a disease of either the stomach muscle itself or the nerves controlling the muscle. As a consequence, food and secretions do not empty normally from the stomach, and there is nausea and vomiting.

Gastroparesis may be associated with paralysis of other parts of the gastrointestinal tract (the small intestine and colon).

The most common cause of gastroparesis is diabetes mellitus. (So often is gastroparesis due to diabetes that there is a term, gastroparesis diabeticorum, that refers exclusively to it).

A nuclear medicine test designed to study gastric emptying is the most common means of diagnosis of gastroparesis.

Gastroparesis is treated with medications to increase the contractions of the stomach's muscle, occasionally with surgery, and experimentally with electrical pacing.

The word "gastroparesis" is compounded from "gastro", pertaining to the stomach + "paresis", a loss of strength = a loss of strength of the stomach = stomach paralysis.

Reviewed on 9/7/2018

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