Diabetic gastropathy: gastric neuromuscular dysfunction in diabetes mellitus: a review of symptoms, pathophysiology, and treatment

Dig Dis Sci. 1999 Jun;44(6):1061-75. doi: 10.1023/a:1026647417465.


Diabetic gastropathy is a term that encompasses a number of neuromuscular dysfunctions of the stomach, including abnormalities of gastric contractility, tone, and myoelectrical activity in patients with diabetes. These abnormalities range from tachygastrias to antral hypomotility and frank gastroparesis. Diabetic gastropathies may be acutely produced during hyperglycemia. Symptoms of chronic diabetic gastropathy include chronic nausea, vague epigastric discomfort, postprandial fullness, early satiety, and vomiting. Because these symptoms are nonspecific, other disorders such as mechanical obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract, gastroesophageal reflux disease, cholecystitis, pancreatitis, mesenteric ischemia, and drug effects should be considered. Neuromuscular abnormalities of the stomach may be assessed noninvasively with gastric emptying tests, electrogastrography, and ultrasound. Gastrokinetic agents such as metoclopramide, cisapride, domperidone, and erythromycin increase fundic or antral contractions and/or eradicate gastric dysrhythmias. Diet and glucose control also are important in the management of diabetic gastropathy. As the pathophysiology of diabetic gastropathy is better understood, more specific and improved treatments will evolve.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diet, Diabetic
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / etiology
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / therapy
  • Stomach / physiopathology
  • Stomach Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Stomach Diseases / etiology
  • Stomach Diseases / physiopathology
  • Stomach Diseases / therapy


  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Hypoglycemic Agents