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Gastrointestinal (GI) motility is defined by the movements of the digestive system, and the transit of the contents within it. When nerves or muscles in any portion of the digestive tract do not function with their normal strength and coordination, a person develops symptoms related to motility problems.
Gut motility is the term given to the stretching and contractions of the muscles in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The synchronized contraction of these muscles is called peristalsis. These movements enable food to progress along the digestive tract while, at the same time, ensuring the absorption of the important nutrients.
Each part of the GI tract – esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine – has a unique function to perform in digestion, and each has a distinct type of motility and sensation. When motility or sensations are not appropriate for performing this function, symptoms occur.
Often symptoms alone cannot be reliably used for accurate diagnosis of a patient’s motility disorder. Proper evaluation of patients with suspected gastrointestinal motility disorders is important to correctly diagnose a patient’s condition and to treat the patient in an appropriate manner. Tests of gastrointestinal (GI) motility allow the assessment and identification of abnormal patterns and physiology.