Motility Disorders

In normal digestion, food content is propelled through the digestive tract by rhythmic and coordinated contractions or propulsions called peristalsis.

When someone suffers from digestive motility disorders, peristalsis becomes impaired resulting in either slow contractions (hypomotility), rapid contractions (hypermotility), or a combination of both slow and fast contractions. In some cases, peristalsis may be totally absent.

Digestive motility diseases and disorders may affect any one portion or the entire digestive tract. Sometimes, there may be no visible sign that a person is suffering from a motility problem. Some people affected by motility disorders may be underweight while others may be of average weight or even obese.

Digestive motility diseases and disorders may be primary, meaning there is no underlying disease causing the problem, or secondary, when the motility problem occurs as a result of a disease or medical condition. Examples of secondary causes include but are not limited to diabetes, Parkinson's Disease, scleroderma, lupus, muscular dystrophy, endocrine disorders, neurological disorders, laxative abuse, and abdominal surgery.

Some digestive motility diseases and disorders may be familial which means that they are genetic in nature and there is a family history of the motility problem. In some cases, however, the digestive motility disease may be idiopathic meaning there is no known cause.

Digestive motility diseases may be neuropathic which means that the disease affects the nerves of the digestive tract and/or myopathic which means that the disease affects the muscles.

Motility diseases and disorders can affect infants, children and adults of all ages. It can affect males and females and can be found in any ethnic group. Although some people are born with a motility disorder, others may acquire it during their lifetime.

Some examples of digestive motility diseases and disorders include but are not limited to chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction (CIP), gastroparesis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) , dysphagia (swallowing disorders), and diffuse esophageal spasm (DES).

Diagnosis of and treatment for motility disorders are now offered at the Heartland Center for Motility, under the supervision of Dr. Ashok Attaluri, within Gastroenterology Consultants. Dr. Attaluri is an expert in Motility Disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.

Visit the Heartland Center for Motility website for more information about Motility Disorders.