- Promote this Page

What is Dysmotility?

The muscles in the gut wall help move the food. When there are abnormal muscle contractions in the gut or gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines) leading to slow or uncoordinated movement, it is called dysmotility. These abnormal contractions can affect any part of the gut and can also affect more than one part at a time. Delayed gastric emptying, referred to as gastroparesis, is also known as dysmotility.

The food will not get propelled forward properly if the coordination of the contraction and relaxation of the muscles of the gut are out of sync with each other. In case the contractions are weak and slow, the food will not move forward. Dysmotility is also sometimes called chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction that is when the intestines and stomach, both are involved.

The dysmotility can be mild or severe. Severe constipation caused by dysmotility is called colonic dysmotility. It is usually women who are affected by dysmotility, however, men and children can also suffer from the disease. When dysfunctional nerves or muscles lead to severe constipation, the condition is called as colonic dysmotility. Patients of colonic dysmotility will have delayed colonic transit, that is, they will take longer to pass the stool through the colon.

Causes of Dysmotility

There is no structural abnormality or other well defined causes which can lead to this ailment. However, it is often seen that people recount eating a particular food pattern, which resulted in the condition. Usually, it is the fatty and rich foods, too much alcohol, eating late at night, eating on the go etc, all of which make it difficult for the stomach to function.

Also at times, a viral stomach upset or a course of antibiotics can trigger the dysmotility in the gut. A side effect of a medication may also result in dysmotility. It can also happen as a secondary disease related to diabetes or Parkinson’s disease or after a stomach surgery.

Symptoms of Dysmotility

When the digestive system slows down, the food simply gets collected in the stomach for long. This leads to the accumulation of the fluids and stomach secretions in the gut resulting in the symptoms like nausea, vomiting, excess belching, reflux of stomach acid and bloating. The distention of the stomach leads to pain.

You can also feel full and uncomfortable just after consuming little food, and at the same time feel lethargic. Dissolute can result in a reduced quality of life by restricting the food you eat and the activities you participate in.

Treatment of Dysmotility

Medications like metoclopramide or cisapride can be used in order to treat the dysmotility, but these are usually beneficial in the milder cases. The physicians may also suggest prokinetics like laxatives or suppositories or enemas to help with the passage of the food. An evaluation and a therapy for the stress and other psychological factors can also be provided to the patients suffering from dysmotility.

In most severe cases, a surgery can help to deal with the problem. The surgeon simply removes the colon and joins the end of the small bowel to the rectum. After the surgery you can have one to four bowel movements every day. These days, laparoscopic treatments are also being used in the treatment of severe cases of dysmotility.


Eating healthy and sensible is vital in order to reduce the effect of dysmotility. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and take time out to eat and enjoy the food. Eating lighter and smaller meals throughout the day will help. Once you have identified the kind of food, which trigger dissolute in the stomach, you can avoid them in future.

Post Your Comments

Comment Script


Thank you ! This was so helpful and informative !
#1 - Lisa D' - 01/13/2009 - 21:37
I have been diagnosd withIBS Dysmotility but I have violent and uncontrolable diarrhoea , NEVER constipation. Am on IBS-Eze and IBS support caps and Colofax Tabs tds. What else can I do ???
#2 - valerie smith - 03/31/2009 - 21:58
i think i have this, as my symptoms are bloating after eating and nausea, iv not vomitted yet, or had diahorrea, so do i have the mild case of dysmotility?
#3 - lois habble - 07/07/2009 - 08:16
My son was diagnosed with dysmotility and he was on TPN, he devolped a fungal and bacterial infectionin his port a cath. Now we have no way to provide him nutrition. He is in Hospice.
#4 - Katina Collins - 09/10/2009 - 22:49
Have had this for year and a half. No bowel movements unless I use strong laxitives. This leads to a day or two out of commission. After this long I need answers, and am finding it hard to get those from my GI. Very frustrated and need to fix this soon. Never had constipation till this hit almost overnight!!!
#5 - anne yost - 11/12/2009 - 16:09
I think this is the best description of what I have experienced over the last 9 months. I get severe achy pain in the lower abdomen, nausea, vomiting, bloating. I didn't have the constipation until my doctor started an antispasmotic. Now, I seem to have added that symptom. Hopefully I can continue to figure this out as I cannot enjoy any meal anymore.....I eat the BRAT diet most of the time.
#6 - Ashley - 02/07/2010 - 02:20
I've been trying to eat more protien, because I'm strength trainning. I have a servre case of dysmotility. I eat an omlet and Im in the bathroom for like 20 mins. Any ideas? That have helped u.
#7 - Nikco - 07/07/2010 - 15:08
i have been dealing with this most of my life but didnt get severe till about 2 years ago when i was finaly dignosed with something to explane what i was going threw. know that i know what it is i have a hard time coming to the idea that i cant do the thing i used to i still try and get frusterted when i cant. i wish someone would come up with a cure not just a treetment that only subsides some of the issues yet give you new issues to deal with please i beg find a cure!
#8 - beth - 11/12/2010 - 12:06
Hello Everyone w/Dismotility or Bad colon Motility.

I have had this problem with constipation for at least 20 years, under my gastroenterologist for the last 10 years, taking 2 tabls of miralax 4 times a day plus 4 tablspoons of Lactulose mixed in water all at once half hour before dinner and this works pretty good. Alot of stuff to take but much betty then wearing the old bag or remove the colon and have small intesten connected to the rectum..Wish i could find a better way to fine relief , but at the moment the best they can do for my condition.
My quality of life went down the drain ,but still here talking to you.

My best to all,


#9 - Joe - 12/29/2010 - 17:06
I have found that gentle exercise help with this problem I feel better when I exercise when I don't.
#10 - Leanna Curry - 01/04/2011 - 14:32
my stomach fell bloated alot of the time feel like im 8moths goin.allways in pain .iv been told iv got dysmotility plz help
#11 - russ - 07/14/2011 - 13:30
i have dysmotility and it makin my life hell im allways in pain before i eat and after plz help
#12 - russ tongue - 09/13/2011 - 12:28
My son struggled with this issue since birth. I got tired of hitting a dead end with the doctors, so I took matters into my own hands. He is now gluten free and has not struggled since! He is not diagnosed celiac, but I noticed when he ate foods with gluten it made his constipation worse, so I did some research and decided to do a 30 day gluten free for him. I didn't have to wait 30 days to be convinced. I was convinced on day 2! It is worth a try for anyone struggling with these problems. Gluten is hard on the digestive system of many people.
#13 - Kay - 01/14/2012 - 22:35
i have dysmotility about two years now im not constipation ,just at time the pains are so bad the i wont to cut my stomach out ,i have acid refluxs as well ,i keep taking the tablets but at time im in so much pain plz help
#14 - russ - 08/29/2012 - 13:09
I just got diagnosed with this. I'm 21 and have been having this problem since I was 2. It sucks. But I'm so happy that someone has finally taken me seriously and has found out what is wrong with me. I have NEVER had a normal bowel movement and I can't wait til surgery! Lol I know I sound crazy but I am so tired of living like this!
#15 - Brittney - 12/05/2012 - 12:56
I have Esophageal Dysmotility and constipation.
Food doesn't move down my esophagus. Now I think my intestines are being effected too.
I am a young 69 yr old with constant pain and health problems as I also have Autonomic Neuropathy which causes the involuntary organs not to work right. Maybe this Neuropathy is the problem for all of the above people too. Not many doctors know about it.
#16 - marion - 03/29/2013 - 15:19
Kay (01/14/2012), Oh how I agree with you regarding Gluten. I have mentioned this to my GP and Consultant at the Hospital but they both disagree, and say it is the fat content. I know that Gluten, (and maybe Wheat), are bad for me so I avoid both. To avoid the constipation I eat a nut bar I get from Tesco's they are called Eat Natural, I usually have the ones with just nuts only but there are some with fruit in. They help tremendously. If your son can't eat nuts as they are maybe you can grind them into smaller pieces for him. Good luck.
#17 - Kath - 04/15/2013 - 12:24
I have intesinal dysmotility and cannot seem to find the right food to help with thesymptoms. I have diarrhea everytme I eat food. I get very lethargic and I just try to avoid food. I was very unhappy with the GI doctor I saw. He did ot provide me with the information that I need to control my symptoms. I am a retired nurse and eduacated myself about my disease. It really changes your lifestyle! My depression is worse. Does anyone know if there is a support group online? I really lied this web site. Thank you!
#18 - Linda T - 12/01/2014 - 02:01
I had a test for slow transit now on resolor 2 mg a day but dysmotility is similar to what's happening . Bloating ( m[@]ive) feel ful up as soon as have one mouthful .been on pills for a week and went yday after 13 days and bad pains in belly I'm hoping this treatment works, as I feel very uncomfortable all the time ..
#19 - Lizzie d - 01/28/2015 - 09:49
My son had a hernia op when he was 7/8 yr old, he is 23 now and has suffered for the last year following a tonsillectomy with severe vomiting, nausea and weight loss, he has just been diagnosed with dysmotility, could either the hernia or tonsil ops be to blame?
#20 - julie - 03/30/2015 - 09:28
Ive had Severe Dysmotility since I was a child. I wouldn't have a bowel movement for 1 month, it hasn't gotten much better. Im 34 now and eat just steamed beets, pounds of peas, egg yolks and tuna. I have to still manually evacuate my bowels by hand (inserting fingers into [@] and pressing the lumps down the wall of my colon until they fall out) I have suffered from migraines every night, I take T3's to fall asleep, then again mid night just to subside the lower back pain and stomach bloating.. I eat just a bite of food (flat stomach goes to 8 months pregnant) and I have gas pains for 4 days or until I p[@] gas which usually is forced by standing on my head for hours. If I want to go out for a family event, like dinner or a wedding. I cannot eat. I cannot drink. Sometimes just drinking water will make me bloat to a balloon.. Ive taken PEG 3350 as prescribed, but no change whatsoever.. The best BOWEL transit time I've had since I began taking records was 18 days. (ate a big bowl of steamed beets and count how many days until you see the beet coloured poo) Doctors want to do surgery and join my small intestine to my colon but after reading the possible outcomes, I declined.. They want to help with the pain, but all pain meds cause constipation. I cannot have children because once I eat, I bloat to 8 months size, where would a fetus fit? My husband and I have been married for 15 years, yet due to the huge amount of candida side affect, i cannot enjoy [@]. Im allergic to everything now, I have acne now, I have severe fatigue, every symptom I have.. If anyone finds a solution please post here.. Im reading often
#21 - ashley - 04/17/2015 - 02:23
Hi everyone-
I am so sorry for all of you who are suffering so much with these horrible digestive problems. I know that they are life changing. I have been dealing with slow transit constipation for about 6 months.
My suggestion to all of you is PLEASE look up a naturopathic doctor on your area. They will have a whole different perspective on treating your problem than the traditional medical doctors, and might be able to help some of you.
#22 - Pam M. - 02/24/2017 - 08:05
Please enter the text you see in the image below in the appropriate input box.