A dysmotility is a disorder of the digestive organs. Their physiological movement processes do not run as in healthy people, which is why digestion is disturbed. The term motility disorders includes numerous different disorders of the digestive processes.


What is a motility disorder?

To understand motility disorders, knowledge of the structure of the digestive tract is essential. The digestive tract has a special type of muscle throughout its length. This muscle is smooth and is located in the wall of the tract. Since dysmotility is fundamentally related to this smooth muscle type, almost any part of the digestive tract can be affected by the dysmotility. See fun-wiki for What is Liver Cancer used for.

These include, for example, the stomach, esophagus, duodenum, small intestine, colon and rectum. From a clinical point of view, the stomach, esophagus, colon and rectum are particularly affected by motility disorders. Since motility disorders are very versatile, there are different ways of categorizing the disorders.

For example, it is possible to classify diseases according to the type of disorder. This classification is based on the fact that motility disorders can arise from both reduced and increased motility. Accordingly, a distinction is made between hypomotility, which is caused by reduced movement of the muscles, and hypermotility with increased movement activity.

In addition, motility disorders can be classified according to the cause of the disorder. The so-called primary motility disorders are an independent disease phenomenon. On the other hand, secondary motility disorders are consequential disorders that result from other underlying diseases.


The exact cause of each motility disorder differs from case to case and also depends on which part of the digestive tract is affected by the disorder. In principle, all motility disorders and the associated symptoms and complaints are triggered by abnormal contractions of the muscles. These muscles are located along the digestive tract, starting at the esophagus and continuing to the rectum.

Basically, motility disorders are relatively widespread in the population. However, in the majority of cases they are comparatively harmless and usually do not pose a serious threat to the life of the patient concerned. Nevertheless, they are perceived as disturbing by numerous sick people and sometimes impair the individual quality of life.

On the other hand, there are also forms of motility disorders that, due to their severity and degree of severity, urgently require medical therapy. Because if the symptoms of the motility disorder are not treated, in the worst case there is a risk of death for the affected patient, as life-threatening complications arise in some cases.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Basically, the term ‘gastrointestinal dysmotility’ covers specific forms of movement disorders of the digestive tract, which lead to a number of different symptoms and disorders. These symptoms differ depending on the patient and the severity of the disorders.

Motility disorders occur either singly or in multiple sections of the gastrointestinal tract. They affect, for example, the esophagus, the large or small intestine and the stomach. In some cases, the dysmotility triggers only mild symptoms, in other cases they lead to long-lasting and threatening symptoms. The motility disorders are either based on a reduced movement of the muscles, in which the muscles are partially paralyzed.

On the other hand, there is the possibility that the muscles of the digestive tract are working too hard and are often moving in an uncoordinated manner. The specific symptoms depend heavily on the affected part of the gastrointestinal tract. Possible symptoms are, for example, achalasia, gastroparesis, functional dyspepsia (or the so-called irritable stomach), irritable bowel syndrome and chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction.

Diagnosis & course of disease

With regard to the diagnosis of motility disorders, there are various possibilities and examination methods. Basically, in the majority of cases it is relatively complex to diagnose motility disorders with certainty. Because a pictorial representation of the digestive tract alone is not sufficient, since it is primarily about the functional examination of movements of the intestine or other areas of the digestive tract.

In many cases, the so-called manometry is used. However, this is only suitable for certain sections of the digestive tract. Esophageal manometry examines the esophagus, while antroduodenal manometry analyzes the gastric outlet and duodenum. There is also the option of manometry of the small intestine, colon and rectum.

In some cases, a barostat examination is also carried out, which allows insights into the relationship between pressure and volume. For this purpose, an intraluminal balloon is inserted into the rectum. By slowly inflating the balloon, the affected patient’s perception and defecation reflex can be examined.

In the case of fluoroscopy, a dynamic X-ray image display takes place , in which special contrast media are used. The movement behavior of individual areas of the gastrointestinal tract is examined.


As a rule, the motility disorder causes various complaints and disorders in the stomach and intestines. This can lead to various complications and symptoms that depend heavily on the severity of the motility disorder. As a rule, however, the everyday life of those affected is significantly restricted.

It is not uncommon for the motility disorder to lead to a so-called irritable bowel or irritable stomach, so that the affected person has to struggle with abdominal pain or constipation even with a light diet. Persistent stomach problems can often lead to psychological problems or even depression. In many cases, an early diagnosis is not possible because the symptoms are not characteristic of the disease and can therefore be confused with other diseases.

The treatment of this disease is usually through various medications and therapies. As a rule, there are no special complications and the life expectancy of the patient is not reduced by this disease. However, in many cases the affected person is also dependent on a healthy lifestyle in order to limit the symptoms of the motility disorder. In most cases, however, the course of the disease is positive.

When should you go to the doctor?

Disorders of the digestive tract should be clarified by a doctor if they persist over a longer period of time. In the case of one-off impairments, there may be short-term digestive disorders, which subside through the organism’s self-healing mechanism. In the case of persistent disorders, the cause must be clarified so that treatment can be carried out and the symptoms alleviated. If the irregularities occur immediately after eating, intolerance to ingested food may be the reason.

Persistent emotional or mental stress as well as stressful living conditions are also possible causes of the motility disorder. In a conversation with the doctor, possible influencing factors are discussed and narrowed down in more detail. If the person concerned suffers from an irritable stomach, noise in the area of ​​the stomach or intestines and diffuse pain, a doctor is needed.

If flatulence, diarrhea or constipation occurs over several days or weeks, these should be examined and treated. Loss of appetite, sluggishness, increased tiredness and exhaustion indicate health disorders that should be clarified by a doctor. Signs such as paralysis of the muscles, restricted movement and a loss of the usual ability to perform and concentrate are worrying. If the everyday requirements can no longer be met as usual, the person concerned needs help. If there are circulatory disorders, a general feeling of illness and sleep disorders, a doctor should be consulted.

Treatment & Therapy

The treatment of motility disorders depends primarily on the individual severity of the disorder. On the one hand, there is the possibility of dietary measures that may have a positive influence on the digestive tract. Various drugs are also available, for example prokinetics. In severe cases, invasive therapy procedures are necessary.

Outlook & Forecast

The outlook depends on the extent and cause of the condition. In most cases, a motility disorder can be remedied with simple remedies. Adhering to a diet is usually enough to eliminate the symptoms. In other cases, taking medication leads to a cure. Medicines themselves can sometimes also trigger a motility disorder. Then a replacement for the active ingredients has to be found. The measures mentioned usually promise a recovery. Some of them can also be carried out by the patient himself. This results in a good prognosis that can be achieved with simple means.

Only rarely does a motility disorder lead to a reduction in quality of life. This is the case if the measures described are not successful. Invasive interventions are then necessary. If patients with such a severe course do without therapy, the result is gastric paralysis or intestinal blockages. This results in a high risk that has an impact on the lifetime. Certain diseases such as food allergies, diabetes, a nervous system disorder and hypothyroidism favor a severe course. The prospect then deteriorates accordingly.


There are many potential measures to prevent dysmotility. Basically, a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and exercise contributes to the normal functioning of the digestive tract.


In most cases, the person affected with the motility disorder has no special or direct follow-up measures available, so that the person concerned should first and foremost see a doctor very quickly and, above all, at an early stage. As a rule, it cannot heal on its own, so that a quick diagnosis and subsequent treatment by a doctor is always necessary.

As a rule, the motility disorder can be treated relatively well with a strict diet. The doctor can also draw up a nutrition plan for the person concerned. In general, this disease requires a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, avoiding alcohol and tobacco. Likewise, taking various medications can alleviate and limit the symptoms of the motility disorder.

The person concerned should pay attention to the correct dosage and regular intake of the medication. Regular check-ups by a doctor are also very important. In most cases, this disease does not reduce the life expectancy of those affected, and the further course depends very much on the time of diagnosis, so that a general prediction is usually not possible.

You can do that yourself

The measures that those affected can take in the event of a motility disorder depend primarily on the type and severity of the disorder. In general, gastrointestinal health can be improved by changing the diet. Patients should avoid irritating foods and stimulants and instead include more digestive foods and drinks in their diet.

In conjunction with a well-adjusted medication, the symptoms can be effectively alleviated. In severe cases, however, surgery is required. Since interventions on the gastrointestinal tract pose a great risk for the patient, close monitoring by the doctor is necessary. In addition, attention should be paid to any accompanying symptoms or unusual complaints. If, for example, bleeding or severe pain occurs after an operation, the doctor responsible must be informed.

Rest is important after a surgical procedure. Especially in the first days and weeks after the operation, the body and especially the gastrointestinal tract must not be put under too much strain. The doctor’s specifications regarding diet, hygiene measures and rest must be observed in any case. Otherwise, serious complications can arise that delay the healing process.