What Causes the Stomach to Not Digest Food?

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WebMD describes gastroparesis as a digestive disorder associated with diabetes in which the stomach delays emptying. Although most people suffering from gastroparesis have type 1 diabetes, the disorder also sometimes occurs in people with type 2 diabetes. In most cases, people who develop gastroparesis have had diabetes for a number of years.

WebMD also notes other causes of gastroparesis besides diabetes, including abdominal surgery with injury to the vagus nerve, amyloidosis, scleroderma and viral infections. Amyloidosis occurs with deposits of protein fibers in tissues and organs, while scleroderma involves a connective tissue disorder that affects the skin, blood vessels, skeletal muscles and internal organs. People who develop gastroparesis as a result of diabetes often experience symptoms like abdominal bloating, feeling full quickly when eating, heartburn or reflux, nausea, poor appetite, weight loss, poor control of blood sugar and vomiting undigested food.

WebMD explains that several complications may arise with this condition including daily vomiting in severe cases. Sometimes undigested food spoils in the stomach and allows bacteria to grow. Food may also harden into a lump called a bezoar, which blocks food in the stomach and keeps it from passing to the small intestine. Gastroparesis also makes it more difficult for diabetes patients to manage the condition.