Neurogastroenterology and Motility

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Multidisciplinary Care for Digestive Diseases

Our specialists treat a variety of digestive diseases with the goal of helping patients feel normal again.

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Neurogastroenterology focuses on the relationship between the nervous and digestive systems.

One critical gastrointestinal (GI) function affected by the nervous system is motility, the coordination of muscles that move food through the digestive tract – from swallowing to defecation. Motility disorders include a variety of GI problems. 

UT Southwestern Medical Center’s specialized multidisciplinary team – including neurogastroenterologists, gynecologists, surgeons, and physical therapists – expertly diagnoses and treats people suffering from every type of GI motility concern.

Specialized, Multidisciplinary Care for a Range of Issues

UT Southwestern’s team works together to comprehensively evaluate and treat patients with GI motility problems that include:

  • Esophageal issues such as swallowing disorders (dysphagia); primary motility disorders including achalasia and esophageal spasms; scleroderma esophagus; gastric reflux (GERD) that hasn’t responded to treatment and non-erosive reflux; functional heartburn; esophageal hypersensitivity; eosinophilic esophagitis; and non-cardiac chest pain
  • Gastric disorders such as gastroparesis, functional dyspepsia, chronic nausea and vomiting, dumping syndrome, cyclical vomiting syndrome (CVS), and rumination
  • Small bowel issues such as small bowel dysmotility, small intestine bacterial overgrowth, chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, and ileus
  • Colon issues such as constipation (slow transit/colonic inertia), fecal incontinence, pelvic floor dysfunction, and dyssynergic/obstructed defecation

Diagnosis of Neurogastroenterological Disorders

If our team suspects a neurogastroenterological disorder, we first conduct a thorough physical examination and talk with the patient about his or her medical and family history. Diagnostic tests might include: 

  • Radiologic imaging studies such as gastric emptying studies, computed tomography (CT) scan, and small bowel enterography
  • Laboratory analysis (pathology)
  • Endoscopic studies including upper endoscopy, colonoscopy, and endoscopic ultrasound
  • Motility studies such as high-resolution esophageal motility studies, 24-hour impedance pH studies, BRAVO, SmartPill, high-resolution anorectal manometry, and wireless capsule endoscopy

Treatment of Neurogastroenterological Disorders

Treatment for neurogastroenterological and motility problems depends on the specific condition. UT Southwestern offers treatments that include:

  • Medications, including clinical trials
  • Endoscopic interventions such as enteroscopy, esophageal dilation, pneumatic dilation, Botox injection, and feeding tubes
  • Specialized pelvic floor physical therapy
  • Biofeedback and counseling
  • Nutrition and dietary guidance
  • Surgical interventions, including InterStim and Solesta

Related Conditions and Treatments

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