How Does Motility-Related Diarrhea Affect You
Motility-related diarrhea, also known as functional diarrhea, is caused by abnormal contractions of the muscles in the intestine. These contractions, known as peristalsis, move food through the digestive tract. When the muscles contract too strongly or too frequently, food can move through the intestine too quickly, leading to diarrhea.
What Are Peristalsis Contractions
Peristalsis is the rhythmic contractions of the muscles in the walls of the esophagus, stomach, and intestines that push food through the digestive tract. The enteric nervous system controls these contractions, sometimes called the “second brain,” because it can function independently of the brain and spinal cord.
During peristalsis, the muscles of the intestinal wall contract in a coordinated manner, creating a wave-like motion that propels food forward. The muscles at the front of the wave contract first, followed by the muscles behind them sequentially. This coordinated contraction and relaxation of the muscles allow food to be moved along the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus.
Peristalsis is an automatic process, meaning that it occurs without conscious control. It can be influenced by certain factors, such as food in the stomach and the hormones that control digestion, but it primarily functions independently.
When peristalsis is working properly, food is broken down and digested efficiently. However, problems with peristalsis can lead to various digestive disorders, including constipation, diarrhea, and acid reflux.
Peristalsis can also be affected by conditions such as IBS, IBD, or certain medications, which can cause the contractions to be too strong or too frequent, leading to diarrhea or other symptoms. Conditions such as nerve damage or muscle disorders can sometimes impair peristalsis, leading to constipation or other digestive problems.
It’s important to note that motility-related diarrhea refers to diarrhea caused by abnormal contractions of the muscles in the intestine, specifically by overactivity of peristalsis.
One of the main causes of motility-related diarrhea is a condition known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a chronic disorder that affects the large intestine and can cause various symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits. People with IBS may experience alternating constipation and diarrhea or have diarrhea more frequently than constipation.
Another cause of motility-related diarrhea is a condition known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is a group of chronic inflammatory conditions that affect the digestive tract, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. People with IBD may experience diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weight loss.
Certain medications can also cause motility-related diarrhea. Antibiotics, for example, can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the gut, leading to diarrhea. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can also cause diarrhea by altering how the gut muscles contract.
Certain foods and drinks can also cause motility-related diarrhea. For example, a diet high in refined sugars and processed foods can lead to diarrhea. Consuming too much caffeine, alcohol, or artificial sweeteners can also cause diarrhea.
There are several treatment options for motility-related diarrhea, depending on the underlying cause. For people with IBS, treatment may include changes in diet, such as avoiding foods that trigger symptoms and increasing fiber intake. Medications, such as antispasmodics, can also reduce abdominal pain and cramping.
For people with IBD, treatment may include medications to reduce inflammation, such as corticosteroids or immunomodulators. Surgery may be necessary in some cases.
Changing to a different medication may be necessary for people taking medications that cause motility-related diarrhea. If a food or drink is causing diarrhea, avoiding that food or drink may be all that is needed.
In some cases, probiotics may help treat motility-related diarrhea. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help restore the balance of bacteria in the gut. They can be found in supplements or fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut.
It’s also important to stay hydrated when you have diarrhea by drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, broth, and clear soda. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine can also help reduce symptoms.
In summary, motility-related diarrhea is caused by abnormal contractions of the muscles in the intestine. It can be caused by conditions such as IBS and IBD, certain medications, and certain foods and drinks. Treatment options include changes in diet, medications, and probiotics. If you suspect you have motility-related diarrhea, seeing your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is important.