Gastroparesis may occur with IBS, particularly in people with IBS and indigestion.
Gastroparesis, or delayed gastric emptying, is a condition in which people have delayed emptying of the stomach into the small intestine.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a collection of symptoms affecting the abdomen and bowel movements.
Gastroparesis and IBS may have some overlapping symptoms, and in some cases, the conditions may occur at the same time.
People with IBS but not indigestion had normal gastric emptying. Gastroparesis was more common in people with IBS only when indigestion was also present.
The link between indigestion and gastroparesis is unclear, as researchers have not found abnormal gastric emptying in many people with functional indigestion.
The researchers note that around 23–87% of people with IBS have functional indigestion, which means the indigestion has no clear cause. Around 13–87% of people with indigestion have IBS.
The research concludes that symptoms of gastroparesis may be common in people with IBS, but in most cases, they occur in people with both IBS and indigestion.
Researchers are unclear about the link between gastroparesis and IBS exists. They require further research to understand if one condition contributes to the other.
According to the 2018 study,
- IBS with constipation: 14.8% overlap with GPLS
- IBS with diarrhea: 10.1% overlap with GPLS
- IBS mixed type: 18.0% overlap with GPLS
- IBS unspecified: 1.3% overlap with GPLS
The study found a high overlap rate with GPLS and disorders of gut-brain interaction, such as IBS.
Although researchers are unclear on the exact cause of gastroparesis and IBS, both conditions may share similar features and risk factors.
There are also
The table below shows the symptoms of IBS and gastroparesis.
|upper abdominal pain
|pain or changes in bowel movements, such as constipation, diarrhea, or both
|poor appetite, the feeling of fullness soon after eating, or feeling full long after finishing eating
|the feeling of an unfinished bowel movement
|nausea or vomiting
|whitish mucus in stools
|in people who menstruate, symptoms may increase or worsen during a period
Doctors may use similar methods to diagnose gastroparesis and IBS. The following sections outline how doctors diagnose the conditions.
To diagnose gastroparesis, a doctor
- Full medical history: This will include discussing medications or supplements a person is taking and any previous surgeries.
- Physical examination: The doctor will check the abdomen, and look for signs of malnutrition or dehydration. They will request measuring blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature.
- Blood and urine tests: Blood and urine tests can show signs of other conditions or infections.
- Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy: An endoscopy allows a doctor to examine the upper digestive tract for any issues.
- Imaging tests: This may include an abdominal ultrasound to check for blockages in the stomach or intestines.
- Gastric emptying scan: In this procedure, a person eats a substance containing radioactive material. The doctor then scans the abdomen to track how quickly it empties from the stomach.
- Gastric emptying breath test: A person eats a substance that passes from the intestines into the breath. A doctor then checks the breath for the substance to see how quickly the stomach empties.
- Wireless motility capsule: A person swallows a small electronic device, which passes through the digestive tract and shows how quickly the stomach empties.
To diagnose IBS, doctors
- a medical history and assessment of symptoms
- a physical examination to check the abdomen for bloating, unusual sounds, and any pain
- blood tests to rule out other conditions
- stool sample, to check for blood in the stool and signs of disease or infection
- additional tests to rule out other conditions may include upper GI endoscopy and biopsy, colonoscopy, or hydrogen breath test
The following sections outline treatment options for gastroparesis and IBS.
Treatment for gastroparesis may depend on the severity of symptoms and the underlying cause but
- altering eating habits, such as getting the correct amount of nutrients and fluids, to prevent dehydration and malnutrition
- managing blood sugar levels, if diabetes is also present, which may include taking insulin as necessary
- medications to help support the walls of the stomach and improve stomach emptying
- medications to help manage pain, nausea, and vomiting
- oral or nasal feeding tubes, which deliver food via a tube through the mouth or nose to the stomach and intestines, to ensure people are getting enough nutrients and calories
- gastric electrical stimulation, which sends electrical pulses to the stomach to help reduce nausea and vomiting
In severe cases, people may require intravenous nutrition, which enters the bloodstream directly, or a venting gastrostomy, which involves creating an opening into the stomach to empty stomach contents.
Read about helpful eating patterns for gastroparesis.
Treatment for IBS
- dietary changes, such as increasing fiber, avoiding gluten, or following a low FODMAP diet
- lifestyle changes, such as regular physical activity like exercise, quality sleep, and reducing stress
- medications to help manage constipation, diarrhea, or pain
- mental health therapies, such as relaxation training, hypnotherapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy
Read more about treatment options for IBS.
Dietary and lifestyle changes
Gastroparesis and IBS may share similar symptoms, and the conditions can co-occur. Experts are unclear about the exact nature of the link between them.
Treatment for gastroparesis and IBS may include dietary and lifestyle changes, medications, and mental health therapies.