Gastrointestinal Motility

Gastrointestinal motility comprehends all those actions carried out within the digestive system. It starts from the moment the food is taken from the mouth to the stomach and ends by discharging all the elements unnecessary for the organism through the anus. This process helps the organism to assimilate, select and absorb the substances necessary for its correct functioning. We can find esophageal motility, gastric motility, large intestine motility and anorectal motility within the gastrointestinal motility.


Esophageal motility

Esophageal motility is the first module within gastrointestinal motility. The esophagus is an empty tube carrying food from the mouth through controlled contractions to the stomach. When there are problems or disorders in this process, the esophagus can cause the failure of food to reach the stomach, resulting in vomiting and chest pain. Some of the most common esophageal motility disorders are; achalasia (degeneration of the esophageal nerves), a spastic motor disorder of the esophagus and esophageal inefficient motility disorder—other secondary disorders such as; scleroderma, diabetes and alcohol consumption.


Gastric Motility

The stomach is the second module through which food passes in the digestive system. Within its functions, we can find food storage, the fragmentation of food to perform digestion through the enzymes found in the gastric juices, and finally, allowing the passage in a controlled manner of remnants into the duodenum. Some of the most common gastric motility disorders are; Gastroparesis (delayed gastric emptying) and rapid gastric emptying syndrome.


Large Intestinal Motility

The large intestine is the penultimate module within gastrointestinal motility before completing the digestive process. The large intestine is a digestive tube responsible for the storage of waste elements, in addition to the selection of water and salts necessary for the organism. Within the motility of the large intestine, we can find three types; segmentation (waves of contraction, allowing contact between the intestinal contents and the intestinal mucosa, and mass movements). Other motility is the peristaltic waves (allowing the emptying of the colon, sigmoid colon and rectum) and emptying (a mechanical stimulus that allows the distension of the walls and the beginning of the defecation reflex). Some of the disorders of the large intestine can be; Colon polyps (extra tissues), colitis, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis.


Anorectal motility

Anorectal motility is related to the functions of the rectum and anus in the processing of detection, retention, and disposal of faecal matter or products not needed by the body. Anorectal motility functions comprehend complex interactions within visceral and somatic components, mechanistic reflexes, and conscious volition.


Among the problems in anorectal motility, we can find faecal incontinence, which prevents the voluntary retention of the passage of intestinal contents through the anus. Another recurrent problem in anorectal motility is the inability to expel intestinal contents or the absence of the desire to defecate (constipation). Other consequences can also be found in incorrect anorectal motility.