If you suffer with a motility disorder, you may experience trouble swallowing, unintentional weight loss, malnutrition, and anemia. You will need medical care to address your condition. Mount Sinai gastroenterologists have the special expertise and the compassion to relieve your symptoms and help you avoid complications.

You are not alone. Approximately 35 million Americans suffer from gastrointestinal motility disorders. As the body ages, it is vulnerable to these digestion problems.

Motility disorders are abnormal muscle and nerve contractions that cause spasms or lack of motion anywhere along your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Your esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, as well as your colon and rectum may be unable to perform their functions in the digestive process.

Upper GI Motility Disorders
The most common upper gastrointestinal (GI) motility disorders occur in the esophagus and stomach. These include the following:

Esophagus region

  • Achalasia: nerve damage to the valve that impairs digestion
  • Reflux disease: exposure of the esophagus lining to stomach contents
  • Dysphagia: difficulty swallowing
  • Chronic cough or voice changes: related to reflux disease

Stomach region

  • Gastroparesis: slow gastric emptying of food from the stomach, slowing the digestive process
  • Dumping syndrome: rapid gastric emptying of food, abnormally speeding up the digestive process
  • Functional dyspepsia: uncomfortable fullness, burning, or pain
  • Cyclic vomiting syndrome: repeating bouts of vomiting for unknown reasons
  • Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome: repeat nausea and vomiting with cannabis use

Lower GI Motility Disorders
The most common lower GI motility disorders affect the small intestine, large intestine, and pelvic area. These conditions include the following:

Small intestine region

  • Chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction: the inability of the intestines to push food through the digestive tract, as if there were an intestinal obstruction but there is no actual physical blockage
  • Intestinal dysmotility: abnormal intestinal contractions, such as spasms and weak contractions that affects the digestion process

Large intestine region

  • Refractory constipation: disorders that slow the process of emptying the bowels (evacuation)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): causes symptoms of constant (chronic) abdominal pain or discomfort associated with changes in bowel movements

Pelvic floor region

  • Pelvic dyssynergia: disorders that affect bowel movements (evacuation)
  • Fecal incontinence: loss of bowel control
  • At Mount Sinai, we have the very latest tools and techniques to restore your quality of life by diagnosing and treating whatever motility disorder you may have.

If you are experiencing one of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately.

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