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Gastric (Stomach) Motility

Gastric motility refers to the several types of motility disorders that can occur in the stomach, such as gastroparesis and dumping syndrome. At UC San Diego Health, our team of experts uses a variety of tests to treat and diagnose gastric (stomach) motility disorders.

Signs of a Motility Disorder

The stomach is an organ located between the esophagus and small intestine. It's responsible for grinding food down and mixing it with stomach acids so that nutrients from food can be absorbed in the small intestine. Under normal conditions, the stomach empties its contents at a controlled rate.

In some people, the rate at which their stomach empties its contents into the small intestine is not normal.

This can cause feelings of:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Upset stomach
  • Feeling of fullness after eating a small amount of food
  • Weight loss due to a decreased appetite

Types of Gastric Motility Disorders

Our team diagnoses and treats the following gastric (stomach) motility disorders:

  • Gastroparesis or delayed gastric emptying
  • Rapid gastric emptying (dumping syndrome)
  • Idiopathic vomiting
  • Functional dyspepsia
  • Cyclic vomiting syndrome

Gastric Motility Procedures

Tests used to diagnose a motility disorder of the stomach include:

1. 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. This test records and helps diagnose conditions including gastroparesis, colonic inertia, rapid gastric emptying and constipation.

2. Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori) Testing

H. pylori is a bacteria found in the stomach that can cause inflammation, peptic ulcers and even gastric cancer.

Checking for H. pylori can be done with a blood antibody test, breath test, stool antigen test or stomach biopsy. Our team uses the noninvasive breath test.

3. Breath Testing

Hydrogen and methane breath testing is a noninvasive diagnostic test that can help detect:

  • A food intolerance
  • Bacterial overgrowth
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Fructose intolerance
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Constipation

Appointments & Referrals

GI Motility Location

La Jolla

Our Specialists

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