Migraine Term of the Day - Gastroparesis

Patient Expert
Medically Reviewed

migraine glossaryWriter's note: Some of you have expressed an interest in learning more of the medical terminology that comes up when discussing migraine disease and other headache disorders. So, I'll be posting a "term of the day," on a regular basis. If there are terms you'd like to have defined, please leave a comment below.

When we're given migraine and headache information, whether from our doctor, a book, or an online article, we sometimes come across medical terms that can be confusing. While it's easy enough to substitute another word or a short phrase for the medical term, there are times when substituting doesn't quite convey the same meaning.

Gastroparesis, also known as gastric stasis, is one of those terms. It's frequently used when talking about migraine symptoms and medications and is also an important word for migraineurs to understand.


Gastroparesis is a partial paralysis of the stomach most often characterized by nausea, vomiting, and abdominal distension after eating.

Here's an example of how it's used in a sentence:** Gastroparesis** can have a significant negative impact on the effectiveness of oral medications.


For patients who experience gastroparesis, it can be nearly impossible to depend on oral medications for migraine relief. When the stomach is paralyzed, it can cause delayed emptying of the stomach. This means that acute medications can sit in the stomach for hours without providing any relief. Patients who experience this problem should talk with their doctors about medications with alternative delivery methods. For more information on this, see How to Deal with Effects of Gastric Stasis on Migraine Meds.

For more terms, see our Migraine Medical Terms Glossary Index.


"Gastroparesis" Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary

Aurora, Sheena K., Kori, Shashidhar H., Barrodale, Pat, McDonald, Susan A. & Haseley, David (2006) "Gastric Stasis in Migraine: More Than Just a Paroxysmal Abnormality During a Migraine Attack." Headache. 46 (1), 57-63.

Aurora, Sheena K., MD; Kori, Shashidhar, MD; Barrodale, Patricia, RN; Nelsen, Andrew; McDonald, Susan, MA. "Gastric Stasis Occurs in Spontaneous, Visually Induced, and Interictal Migraine." Headache. 47:1443-1446.