Gastrointestinal (GI) motility involves the muscles, nerves and hormones of the gut working together to propel food and then stool out of the body. If any of these components fail to work properly, patients can end up with motility problems in their gut.

Through motility testing, we help diagnose kids with severe, but oftentimes nonspecific symptoms, like trouble swallowing, vomiting, or constipation. It can also help decide if a condition requires surgery or if it can be medically managed.

Two motility testing services are available at UC Davis Health:

Esophageal manometry: A test that studies how the muscles of the esophagus contract and relax to move food and drink into the stomach. This helps diagnose those with swallowing difficulties with diagnoses such as achalasia, a condition in which your lower esophageal sphincter muscle doesn’t relax to allow food to enter your stomach.

Anorectal manometry: A test that measures nerve reflexes and muscle tone to assist children with constipation. This can help diagnose pelvic floor dyscoordination, sensory impairment, or Hirschsprung’s disease, a birth defect in which the last part of the digestive track lacks nerves and thus the ability to move feces.

We treat newborns to age 18 and accept referrals throughout Northern California. This expertise is not available in other Northern California hospitals.