What is motility? Motility in the gut is really
what allows us to digest food from the moment we swallow, for it to get processed through
the stomach, intestine, and eliminated through the colon. When there’s a problem anywhere
along the way, it can lead to digestive conditions: inability to eat, weight loss, discomfort pain, nausea. It dramatically affects quality of life and can lead to things such as anxiety, depression, social isolation. Because there’s not a definitive test, these
individuals are misdiagnosed, or go years without a diagnosis. What we do is
come up with a diagnosis. We may not have a cure, but often times, giving them a diagnosis, helps them live with their condition much better. Motility abnormalities are hard to diagnose
because there’s multiple abnormalities that occur. These conditions affect the nerves
in the GI tract. The brain controls the gut, but visa-versa, conditions that affect the
gut can also affect the brain: cognition, emotion. So, you get into this vicious cycle
where yes, a lot of individuals with motility abnormalities do have anxiety, but it’s
their GI problems that lead to the anxiety and you have to treat both those conditions. At this point the treatment for motility abnormalities
are limited. Our treatment plan for each individual is different depending on what they feel will
improve their quality of life. There’s actually a lot of evidence that non-traditional therapies are effective. So we work a lot with the integrative medicine groups. We would recommend acupuncture, mindfulness therapy, and I spend a lot of time speaking to my patients about how to address anxiety, how to address stress, so that they can gain control. We work to provide the care of the whole patient, not just their one organ system. They may be diabetic, so trying to figure out how to
eat with diabetes, plus irritable bowel. So, we work together to care for these patients.
It’s not just a team within GI, we really look at other sub-specialties and together,
we sit down as a team to come up with the best treatment plan for that individual.