Gastrointestinal (GI) Motility is defined as the movement of food through the body’s GI tract. The GI tract includes all digestive organs and begins with the mouth and ends with the anus. Another name used by healthcare providers is neurogastromotility. This refers to the relationship between your nervous system and GI tract, and the effect this has on GI motility.
Non-GI Conditions that may affect GI motility
The following is a list of some of the conditions that may affect GI motility.
Parkinson’s Disease (PD): PD is a movement disorder that occurs when the brain does not produce enough dopamine. Parkinson’s disease can negatively affect how muscles and nerves function at any point along the GI tract, causing changes in GI motility. These changes in GI motility can lead to other conditions including:
Multiple sclerosis (MS): MS is a neurological condition where the body mistakenly attacks myelin (a protective coating around nerve fibers), leading to nerve damage. If this nerve damage occurs in the gut, it can later lead to a condition called gastroparesis (GP), or delayed stomach emptying.
Scleroderma: Scleroderma is a connective tissue disease that involves hardening and tightening of the skin. In scleroderma, the muscles of the intestine can weaken. When this happens, the motility of your GI tract may become impaired (slow down), leading to conditions like constipation.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF): CF is a disease, passed down from parents or other family members, affecting cells that produce mucus in the lungs or the digestive system. Mucus or fluids become thicker than normal inside the lungs and gut causing body passageways to become plugged up, later damaging the organs. This may cause the stomach, small bowel and colon to slow down.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): RA is a condition that causes joint inflammation, pain and stiffness throughout the body. Recent studies have shown that patients with Rheumatoid arthritis may experience stomach ulcers, bleeding, and esophagitis (inflammation in the esophagus), bowel inflammation and infections.
Other Chronic Conditions
Fibromyalgia (FM): FM is a condition marked by muscle pain all over the body, sleep problems, and fatigue. Fibromyalgia has been linked to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), although the connection remains unknown.
Chronic fatigue syndrome(CFS)/ Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME): Patients with CFS suffer from debilitating fatigue, regardless of how much bed rest they had. Patients with CFS often report gastrointestinal issues such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation.
Interstitial Cystitis/ Bladder Pain Syndrome (BPS): BPS is a chronic condition associated with pain in the lower abdomen, bladder and pelvic region. BPS has been associated with conditions like IBS, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Research suggests that the overlap between BPS and these conditions may be due to inflammation or nervous system issues.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ): This is a disorder of the jaw muscles, temporomandibular joint, and nerves that are associated with chronic facial pain. A small study of 25 TMJ patients found that IBS was present in 64%. Another study found that in 270 IBS patients, 16% of them reported suffering from TMJ.
Migraine Headaches: Migraine headaches are severe (often unbearable) headaches that may take several forms. People often report that light hurts their eyes (photophobia) or they have increased sensitivity to sound or irritability. Migraine headaches have been found to be increased in patients with other GI disorders, such as celiac disease. One study showed that IBS patients were 60% more likely than healthy persons to be diagnosed with migraine headaches. Migraines are also more common in persons with a family history of migraines.
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