Part of the digestive system’s primary system is to make sure that the food that a person is consuming is being digested and excreted out. The digested food is packed with vitamins and nutrients that the immune system, muscle tissues, cells, organs, and the body needs to function correctly. When unwanted pathogens or disruptors enter the body and travel through the gut system, it can cause chronic issues to develop and cause harm to each of the systems. However, many treatments can help both the body and the gut system dampen the effects and make the body feel better. In this 2 part series, we will be looking at how gastrointestinal disorders can affect the gut and what kind of treatments dampen their effects. Part 1 looked at the GI tract and how each organ functions in the digestive system, and how the enteric nervous system and each muscle cells work together. By referring patients to qualified and skilled providers who specialize in gastroenterology services. To that end, and when appropriate, we advise our patients to refer to our associated medical providers based on their examination. We find that education is the key to asking valuable questions to our providers. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC provides this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer
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Disorders Of GI Motility
When pathogens start to enter the body and affect the gut system, many problems will affect the gut and the body itself. These are known as gastrointestinal motility disorders. Research shows that gastrointestinal motility disorders have many signs and symptoms that can occur anywhere throughout the luminal gastrointestinal tract. Some of these disorders can affect:
- Gastric motility
- Small intestinal motility
- Colon and anorectal motility
These disorders can cause many gut issues and diseases like SIBO, gastroparesis, constipation, diarrhea, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) to make a person feel miserable and cause pain if not treated. Other research studies have found that gastrointestinal dysmotility can also cause a delay in gastric emptying and cause obstruction in the large and small intestines. When this happens, the consumed food will not be able to pass through the intestines, and the intestinal muscles will have contractions causing the individual to be in pain.
Gastroparesis is derived from the Greek words “gastro” and “paresis,” which means partial paralysis of the stomach. Research studies have shown that gastroparesis is a condition of collective symptoms like bloating due to nausea and vomiting that causes delayed emptying of the stomach in the absence of mechanical obstruction. Some of the most common signs that are caused by gastroparesis include:
- Abdominal pain
- Early satiety
The symptoms can vary from intermittent to severe, depending on how sour the stomach is. In a normal gut function, the proximal stomach will expand to accommodate the food consumed, and the intragastric pressure is maintained. The food solids are broken down into 1-2 mm particles with contractions causing the gastric emptying to be 50% in 2 hours and 90% in 4 hours. With gastroparesis, the stomach will lose all of the accommodations and alter the antral phasic contractions causing the stomach to be in visceral hypersensitivity.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a functional bowel disorder that causes chronic or recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort in the large intestines. Research shows that IBS is a chronic condition caused by numerous factors that cause IBS to be severe in some people who may have it. With IBS being associated with altered bowel habits and the absence of organic abnormalities, some of these factors that can cause IBS in the body are:
- Documented weight loss
- Nocturnal symptoms
- Fevers, chills, recent travel to endemic regions
- Severe unrelenting large-volume diarrhea
- Family history of colon cancer
- Recent antibiotic use
- Abnormal physical exam findings
Other research studies have found that since IBS is a type of GI disorder, it can cause the brain-gut connection to have problems and cause the digestive tract to be susceptible. Any abdominal pain or discomfort with altered defecation that IBS causes can cause prominent bloating associated with stress or comorbid conditions.
Common Gut Disorders In The Gut
Many common gut disorders can affect the gut system and cause personal discomfort and pain if it is not treated right away. Utilizing gut-healthy foods like probiotics, a change in a particular lifestyle can provide beneficial results in lowering gut disorders and dampening their effects. This will allow the gut to heal, and many individuals will begin to continue with their daily activities without gut issues.
Treatments For GI Motility Disorders
There are many treatments to help the gut system and dampen GI motility’s effects on the gut. Many individuals have done a 180 turn on their lifestyles by changing their eating habits and taking out the foods causing them to have gut issues. By incorporating some of these treatments, many individuals can start feeling better, knowing that the issue is causing them gut problems can be resolved. Some of the treatments that can lower GI motility disorders include:
- Herbal therapy
- Elimination diets
An increased fiber intake is an initial treatment to help dampen the effect of GI motility disorder. It is available in a large variety of supplements and foods that are low cost, safe, and easy to use. Research studies have shown that fiber can cause an increase in the frequency of bowel movements. Since fiber is consists of cell walls that resist digestion and maintain the water by increasing the stool mass/bulk to be excreted out of the body and provide relief. It is essential to consume water with fiber for the bowel movement to be exerted without any issues. Studies have shown that dietary fibers are integral to a balanced diet. When individuals consume a high fiber diet, it can provide many physiological and metabolic benefits to the body.
All in all, it is important to have a healthy diet and a change in lifestyle habits to ensure that the gut is working properly. When there are unwanted pathogens that start to infect the gut, it can develop into chronic issues over time causing the person to be in pain. Utilizing many therapeutic treatments can be beneficial to the gut and help the individual be pain-free.
Deane, Adam M, et al. “Pathophysiology and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders in the Acutely Ill.” Nutrition in Clinical Practice: Official Publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2019, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30294835/.
Hillemeier, C. “An Overview of the Effects of Dietary Fiber on Gastrointestinal Transit.” Pediatrics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 1995, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7494680/.
Lacy, Brian E, and Kristen Weiser. “Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders: An Update.” Digestive Diseases (Basel, Switzerland), U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2006, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16849850/.
Medical Professionals, Cleveland Clinic. “Irritable Bowel Syndrome: IBS, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment.” Cleveland Clinic, 24 Sept. 2020, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4342-irritable-bowel-syndrome-ibs.
Reddivari, Anil Kumar Reddy, and Parth Mehta. “Gastroparesis.” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 31 Dec. 2021, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551528/.
Staff, Mayo Clinic. “Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 1 Dec. 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20360016.
Suresh, Harsha, et al. “Rheological Characteristics of Soluble Fibres during Chemically Simulated Digestion and Their Suitability for Gastroparesis Patients.” Nutrients, MDPI, 17 Aug. 2020, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7468937/.
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