How Is Gastroparesis Diagnosed?

How Is Gastroparesis Diagnosed?

To receive a gastroparesis diagnosis, your doctor will perform a physical exam, inquire about your medical history, and evaluate your symptoms. Gastroparesis can exhibit similar symptoms as other diseases.

Your physician will need to perform certain diagnostic and stomach emptying tests in order to rule out other underlying causes and identify the source of your issues.

Tests for gastroparesis diagnosis can include:

  • Blood tests, including measuring blood sugar levels
  • Urine tests, to determine signs of dehydration, kidney problems, infection, or diabetes
  • Imaging tests. An imaging test such as an ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of your stomach and surrounding areas. This can help rule out any problems with your gallbladder or kidney, or other possible sources of your symptoms.
  • Upper GI endoscopy. To examine your stomach and small intestine, a doctor will guide a thin, flexible tube (endoscope) down your esophagus. The endoscope has a light and camera attached at the end that can check for ulcers, polyps, inflammation, tumors, infection, or bleeding.
  • Gastric emptying scan. A tiny, unharmful amount of radioactive substance is placed in a meal for you to eat. The substance shows up on a scan, so your doctor can track how quickly food moves through your stomach.
  • Breath test. A special supplement is taken with a solid meal or as a liquid. Once absorbed, the substance can be detected in your breath. Over a few hours, samples of your breath are collected to measure the amount of substance. This can reveal how fast food moves through your digestive system.
  • Wireless motility capsule or SmartPill. You’ll swallow a special capsule with a solid meal. The capsule is traceable. A specialist will be able to measure how long it takes for the capsule to be digested and move out of your body.

How Is Gastroparesis Treated?

How Is Gastroparesis Treated?

While there is no known cure, there are many gastroparesis treatment options available to help relieve symptoms and stop the disease from causing other health issues.

Treatment for gastroparesis depends on the underlying cause, symptoms, and any potential complications resulting from the condition. Your doctors will develop a personalized treatment plan based on your situation.

Fortunately, most cases can be controlled with a change in diet and gastroparesis medication.

Dietary changes

Maintaining a healthy diet can help you avoid symptoms of gastroparesis, especially malnutrition. A dietician can suggest helpful eating habits and a diet of certain foods, including:

  • Chewing food thoroughly
  • Eating four or five small meals a day, instead of two or three larger ones
  • Avoiding raw fruits and vegetables
  • Waiting 2 to 3 hours after you eat to lie down or sleep
  • Eating low-fiber and low-fat meals
  • Choosing soups and pureed foods that are easier to swallow
  • Avoiding carbonated drinks
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Drinking more water, but not while eating meals
  • Going for a walk after eating to promote digestion


Medicine for the treatment of gastroparesis can include:

  • Antiemetics, such as Reglan, to help with nausea and vomiting.
  • Erythromycin. This antibiotic can cause stomach contractions to help move food out of the stomach.

Diabetic gastroparesis treatment may focus on other dietary and medicinal solutions to control your blood glucose levels.


In dire situations in which people cannot tolerate food or liquids, a feeding tube for gastroparesis may be required. Formula is fed through a 6- to 12-inch feeding tube, surgically placed in the stomach or small intestine.



Gastroparesis on its own isn’t fatal, but it can cause life-threatening complications such as malnutrition or dehydration.

Gastroparesis can involve a dull to sharp pain in the stomach, accompanied by nausea.

Doctors recommend sticking to easily digestible foods such as bread, crackers, cooked fruits and vegetables, non-carbonated drinks, soups, and pureed foods. Eat smaller, frequent meals instead of one or two large meals a day.

Gastroparesis is a chronic condition that cannot be permanently cured. But, symptoms can be managed with diet and medication in many cases.

Get Care

Trust NewYork-Presbyterian for Gastroparesis Treatment

NewYork-Presbyterian offers some of the best digestive care in the nation. Recognizing the symptoms of gastroparesis is essential to proper treatment. Our experienced teams of doctors and specialists can provide a personalized diagnosis and treatment plan to successfully manage the condition.

NewYork-Presbyterian can provide long-term solutions for your gastroparesis. Contact us for an appointment today.