What We Treat

What is a motility disorder?

Motility disorders are conditions associated with the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and anus/rectum. In a healthy child, wave-like contractions called peristalsis move food through the intestinal tract.

These contractions also help the body absorb nutrients. Peristaltic contractions happen when the muscles and nerves of the digestive tract work together.

Problems with the function of the muscles or nerves of your digestive tract can cause a variety of motility issues for a child, including:

  • Abdominal pain or distension (bloating)
  • Aspirating (inhaling liquid into the lungs)
  • Chest pain
  • Choking
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Gagging
  • Incontinence or soiling
  • Regurgitation (bringing undigested food up from the stomach to the mouth)
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

Talk to your child's doctor to help decide if this clinic is right for your child's need. Your doctor will make a referral.

Conditions we treat

  • Achalasia
  • Anorectal malformations
  • Chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction
  • Dysphagia
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Type III
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Functional abdominal pain
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Gastroparesis
  • Hirschsprung’s disease
  • Imperforate anus
  • Intractable constipation
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Motility disorders
  • Recurrent vomiting
  • Rumination
  • Spina bifida

Services We Offer

Children’s has one of the most advanced pediatric motility programs in the country.  In addition to intensive one-on-one outpatient visits, we utilize state-of-the-art technology to help diagnose conditions and guide care. These include:

High resolution standard and 3-dimensional anorectal manometry

A small catheter with extremely sensitive sensors is placed into your child’s bottom to assess the sensation of his nerves and function of muscles when he poops. We assess for specific reflexes, ask him to push and squeeze his bottom like he’s making a bowel movement, and inflate a small balloon to assess the sensation in his rectum. If your child has had surgery for conditions such as Hirschsprung’s disease or imperforate anus, our 3-D technology can digitally recreate the muscles in his anus to better assess if he’s using them effectively. 

High resolution esophageal manometry

This is the gold standard to assess the function of the esophagus. A catheter is placed through your child’s nose and down his esophagus into his stomach. Most times he will be awake for the placement and our motility nurses will help guide him through the process. He will be asked to consume liquids, pastes and solids to assess how well he swallows and how well his esophagus works.  

High resolution antroduodenal and colonic manometry

Currently, we are the only pediatric hospital in the Southeast to offer these tests for children. These investigations assess the functionality of the small and large intestine and require your child to spend two or three days with us in the hospital after an intensive outpatient visit. Your child will undergo either endoscopy or colonoscopy and specialized catheters will be placed while your child is asleep. Our motility team and highly qualified nursing staff will follow a very precise protocol to assess the function of his intestines and ensure your child receives the best possible care during his stay. 

Anal and pyloric botox

Botox (Botulinum toxin) can be injected into the anus to help relax the muscle in kids with severe constipation that is not responding to medicine. For children that have certain types of feeding difficulties, botox can be injected into the pylorus (the muscle that separates the stomach from the small intestine) to help it relax and allow food to pass. Our Neurogastroenterology and Motility Program specializes in these techniques and offers these treatments when medically necessary. 

pH impedance

Reflux can be a challenging diagnosis, even for pediatric gastroenterologists. This test allows our team to assess if your child is refluxing and whether or not the reflux or regurgitation needs specialized intervention. At Children’s, each pH impedance test is reviewed personally by pediatric neurogastroenterologist Dr. Jose Garza.

Our Unique Approach

Children’s has one of the most advanced pediatric motility departments in the country. Children’s employs one of the only pediatric neurogastroenterology and motility experts in the region, Dr. Jose Garza. A former resident, fellow and assistant professor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Dr. Garza has advanced training in pediatric motility disorders and leads our diagnostic and treatment efforts. He is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric gastroenterology.

Meet the Team

Meet our Motility team