, Volume 52, Issue 4, pp 494-506
Date: 13 Oct 2012

Management of Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders

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The focus of management of gastrointestinal motility disorders should be to improve survival and quality of life. Some motor disorders are annoying, but are compatible with virtually normal activity and carry no significant life risk. Conversely, other motor disorders are highly incapacitating and may shorten life expectancy because of complications and nutritional impairment. Management is based first on establishing the correct diagnosis and prognosis; secondly, on adjusting therapy to the severity of illness; and thirdly, on preventing significant complications. Simple recommendations on appropriate changes in lifestyle and reassurance may suffice in mild cases. Pharmacological therapy and, exceptionally, surgical or nutritional measures may be required in other patients. Generally, pharmacological agents should be directed towards correcting specific patho-physiological abnormalities, but this is not always possible. Symptomatic relief may be achieved on an empirical basis. Long term treatment may often require the combination of different therapeutic approaches either sequentially or simultaneously.