Examples of functional gastrointestinal (GI) and motility disorders in children which affect the lower GI tract – from the small intestine/bowel, to the large intestine/bowel or colon, to the rectum – include:

The disorders are primarily characterized by symptom features. No structural abnormality, like an ulcer or infection, can be seen by commonly used examination, x-ray, or blood test.

Examples of symptoms in lower GI disorders include:

  • abdominal pain or discomfort
  • bloating or distension
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • stool leakage or incontinence
  • problems in the passage of food or stool
  • any combination of these symptoms

What are Functional GI and Motility Disorders

Functional GI and motility disorders in children refer to a wide variety of digestive conditions that occur from birth to 18 years old.

A functional GI disorder refers to a condition where the primary abnormality is an alteration in the way the body works (altered function), rather than an identifiable structural or biochemical cause.

Gastrointestinal motility is defined by the movements of the digestive system, and the transit of the contents within it. When nerves or muscles in any portion of the digestive tract do not function normally, symptoms may result. While GI motility can be measured using tests, abnormal patterns do not always cause symptoms. When symptoms are present motility tests provide information to help with diagnosis and treatment.

Other Disorders

Other disorders can have symptoms that may be similar to or overlap with gastrointestinal functional or motility disorders in children. Significantly, these disorders have features that a doctor can identify, which distinguish them from functional gastrointestinal or motility disorders.

Examples include:



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