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Intestinal Motility

The Intestines

From the stomach, food passes to the small and large intestines. The small intestine is approximately 20 feet long -- which makes it the longest part of the digestive system. Here, most of the nutrients and minerals from food are absorbed into the body.

The large intestine, also known as the colon, is responsible for absorbing water from undigested food. Food is transported through the large intestine to the rectum, where it is expelled from the body.

Signs of a Motility Disorder

You may have a motility disorder in your intestines if you experience:

  • Severe constipation
  • Recurrent vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss

Types of Intestinal Motility Disorders

There are several types of motility disorders that can occur in the intestines:

  • Intestinal pseudo-obstruction
  • Colonic inertia
  • Scleroderma
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Intestinal amyloidosis
  • SMA syndrome
  • Short bowel syndrome
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Fructose intolerance
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
  • Small intestinal fungal overgrowth
  • Megacolon

Intestinal Motility Procedures

The small intestine can be a challenging area of the body to see for clear diagnosis. New technology is changing the course of intestinal diagnoses, offering advanced measuring capability of the rate of gut transit time and muscle contractions through the small bowel.

To diagnose an intestinal motility disorder, our team might perform one or several of the following procedures:

1. Bacterial and Yeast/Fungal Overgrowth Test

Overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine is known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). It can cause symptoms such as:
  • Fatigue
  • Sudden onset of bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Nausea

Since symptoms of SIBO overlap with other common digestive conditions such as gastroparesis and IBS, it's important to get a definitive diagnosis. SIBO can be associated with certain vitamin deficiencies and autoimmune conditions.

To check for SIBO, liquid is collected from your small intestine using a special tube that's inserted endoscopically into your duodenum (first part of your small intestine). This liquid is examined for excessive amounts of bacteria and fungus.

2. SmartPill Wireless Motility Capsule

The SmartPill wireless motility capsule is a pill-sized sensor that is swallowed.

It measures:

  • Temperature
  • pH
  • Pressure
  • How quickly the stomach empties
  • How quickly the small intestine and colon empty

The capsule transmits these measurements to a receiver you carry with you for five days. The test records and helps diagnose conditions including intestinal pseudo-obstruction, gastroparesis, colonic inertia, rapid gastric emptying and constipation.

Appointments & Referrals

GI Motility Locations

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