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Historically, motility disorders and functional GI disorders (FGIDs) were combined. At UCLA, we have have established two programs with experts in the pathophysiology and treatment of each.
- The motility disorders we treat are listed below.
- For those seeking treatment for FGIDs, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional dyspepsia, cyclical vomiting syndrome and chronic diarrhea visit our FGID program to learn more.
- Achalasia is a swallowing disorder in which the esophagus fails to move swallowed food and liquid to the stomach. As a result of this, food stays in the esophagus. It can produce symptoms of food sticking under the breastbone, chest pain that can feel like a heart attack, and regurgitation.
- Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is the backflow of stomach contents, both acid and partially digested food, back into the esophagus. It can produce symptoms of burning in the lower chest area (heartburn), and regurgitation of stomach contents into the mouth and throat.
- Constipation is generally defined as fewer than three bowel movements per week, but it is also described as hard or lumpy stools, difficulty passing the stool, or feeling like the bowel movement is not complete. It is a chronic problem when it lasts for several weeks or longer. There are many causes of constipation, including blockage of the intestine, poor nerve and muscle function of the colon and rectum, or difficulty with the muscles involved in eliminating stool. When no cause for constipation is found it is called functional constipation.
- Esophageal spasms are uncoordinated contractions of the esophagus. The result of this is poor movement of swallowed food and liquid to the stomach. These spasms can cause symptoms of food sticking under the breastbone, chest pain that can feel like a heart attack, and regurgitation.
- Fecal incontinence is the inability to control bowel movements, leading to unexpected leaking of stool from the bowels. It can range from a tiny bit of leakage when coughing, sneezing or passing gas, to complete loss of control. It can be associated with constipation or diarrhea. Damage to the nerves or muscles that control having a bowel movement are often the cause of fecal incontinence.
- Gastroparesis is a disorder in which the stomach empties more slowly than it should, or almost not at all. It results from weak or uncoordinated contraction of stomach muscles. There are many causes of gastroparesis, but a large group consists of patients with diabetes. Symptoms of gastroparesis include nausea, vomiting, a sensation of fullness after eating only a small amount, lack of appetite, and abdominal bloating or pain.
- Gastrointestinal complications of Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease occurs when dopamine containing nerve cells in an area of the brain called the substania nigra die. This leads to tremor and various problems with movement. We now know that Parkinson's disease also affects nerves in the gastrointestinal tract. In fact, there is evidence that Parkinson's disease might start in the GI tract and spread through nerve connections to the brain. Gastrointestinal complications of Parkinson's disease include swallowing problems, slow emptying of the stomach, severe constipation, bloating, small intestinal bacterial growth and incontinence of stool. Parkinson's GI clinic information
- Gastrointestinal complications of scleroderma
Scleroderma is a chronic disease, which causes abnormal growth of connective tissue. It affect the skin, joints and internal organs. The muscle and nerves of the gastrointestinal tract are sometimes infiltrated and replaced by connective tissue. This leads to poor motor function of the GI organs. This can lead to swallowing difficulty, slow emptying of the stomach, constipation, diarrhea and incontinence of stool.
- Jackhammer esophagus is a disorder in which otherwise normal esophageal contractions are much too strong. This can cause symptoms of food sticking under the breastbone and chest pain that can feel like a heart attack.