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Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders of the Small Intestine, Large Intestine, Rectum, and Pelvic Floor

The gastrointestinal tract is divided into four distinct parts that are separated by sphincter muscles; these four regions have distinctly different functions to perform and different patterns of motility (contractions). Abnormal motility or abnormal sensitivity in any part of the gastrointestinal tract can cause characteristic symptoms: food sticking, pain, or heartburn in the esophagus; nausea and vomiting in the stomach; pain and bloating in the small intestine; and pain, constipation, diarrhea, and incontinence in the colon and rectum.

Topics: Bowel urgency, CAM, Complementary & Alternative Treatments, Colonic motility, inertia, pseudo-obstruction, Constipation, difficult to pass stools, Diarrhea, loose stools, Fact Sheet, Incontinence, Motility, Pelvic floor disorders

About the Author

  • William E. Whitehead, PhD

    Co-Director, UNC Center for Functional GI & Motility Disorders; Professor of Medicine, Division of Digestive Diseases; and Professor of Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

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