What is Dysmotility?
Dysmotility, also known as motility dysfunction, is a condition in which the muscles of the digestive system or the nerves that control them do not work as they should. This may involve irregular strength, speed or coordination of the muscles of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine.
The symptoms associated with dysmotility may vary depending on which areas of the digestive tract are affected, and may include:
- Upper or lower abdominal pain.
- Trouble swallowing (dysphagia).
- Weight loss.
How is Dysmotility Diagnosed?
The dysfunction in the nerves or muscles in the organs that make up the gastrointestinal tract may be caused by an underlying illness such as amyloidosis, diabetes, Ehlers Danlos, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease, thyroid disorders and more. It may also be caused by certain medications or inflammatory conditions like celiac disease. Motility disorders are divided into major and minor, and some disorders tend to affect certain areas of the digestive system.
If you are experiencing the symptoms associated with dysmotility, your doctor may have you undergo some testing to better understand the cause of your condition. Because some of the symptoms associated with dysmotility overlap with other conditions, your testing can also help to rule these out. Tests may include blood tests, CT or MRI scans, X-rays, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) breath test, biopsy or more.
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Treatment Options for Dysmotility
The treatment option that is best for you will depend on the cause of your dysmotility. The first step is to exclude the possibility of blockages. Once that is ruled out, your doctor will gather information from testing to best determine the cause of your dysmotility, as well as create an appropriate treatment plan. Treatment options may consist of the following:
In some cases, medications can be used to stimulate intestinal motility. Certain laxative medications can also help to address blockages in the intestines.
Your doctor may recommend modifying your diet to avoid foods that cause excess gas or foods that are difficult to digest. In some cases, intravenous fluids or decompression of the intestine may be required during a hospital stay.
If dysmotility is occurring in a small segment of the small intestine, surgical resection may be an option. Surgery is usually only recommended in situations where dysmotility problems are frequent or severe.
Your South Denver GI Team
At South Denver GI, our team of physicians and advanced practice providers have the expertise to provide you with outstanding care. If you would like to learn more about Motility Disorders (Dysmotility) or need to schedule an appointment at our office, contact us today!
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