Medical Definition of Dysmotility syndrome

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Dysmotility syndrome: A vague, descriptive term used to describe diseases of the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines) in which the muscles do not work normally (hence the term dysmotility). Other terms that are sometimes used for dysmotility problems are gastroparesis when the stomach is involved, and chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction when the intestines and stomach are involved.

In patients with dysmotility syndrome, food does not move normally through the stomach and intestines, there often is distention of the stomach and intestines as fluid collects, and there frequently is pain. The disease may involve any part of the gastrointestinal tract and is due to abnormalities in the muscles of the intestines or the nerves controlling the muscles. The dysmotility problem can be mild, moderate or severe.

There are medications that can be used for treating these diseases. Because of the rarity of these diseases the management of patients usually is turned over to "sub -subspecialists," gastroenterologists with special expertise in disorders of motility.

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Reviewed on 12/4/2018

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