Pop quiz: Could you explain the difference between motility and mobility? What about motility and regularity? In the body, motility is an important process that isn’t really talked about much. Simply put, motility means movement – and it also means the normal, natural movement of muscles and digestive organs that keeps food moving through the digestive tract. Mobility, on the other hand, refers to the healthy range of motion of a joint, and regularity refers to the frequency of bowel movements.
Since impaired motility has a wide range of symptoms and isn’t discussed as often as the symptoms of regularity, heartburn or bloating, pinpointing it as a cause of common digestive issues is a challenge.
GI motility is one of the most important processes in the body, and since it’s not widely recognized, here are some of the things that can influence it in the digestive system – and how to know whether yours could be a problem.
If you were to stretch out your digestive tract end to end, it might reach to about half the length of a bowling lane (30 feet!), and the surface area is about 400 square feet! That’s as big as a ten by forty foot carpet. With all those folds and turns, there are plenty of places for your food to not “sit well” if your motility is out of balance or sluggish.
Some medications and physical conditions can impact or slow digestive motility. When motility slows down, food stays in the stomach or colon, which can cause occasional fullness and discomfort, lethargy, belly distention, heartburn, cramps, nausea, bloating and gas.
This physical process of moving food through your stomach and digestive tract is called gastrointestinal (GI) motility. Like breathing, it happens largely behind the scenes – when everything is running smoothly and normally, you don’t generally think about or notice your digestion until issues present themselves that you can no longer ignore.
Normal GI motility depends on the health of the nerves and smooth muscles lining the whole digestive tract. Optimal overall health requires healthy motility, as that is what drives superior digestion, absorption and elimination.
Motility issues and discomfort are common digestive challenges, making it feel like food takes too long to digest and can also lead to delayed gastric emptying*, which can further impact digestive discomforts.*
Signs of Motility Issues
Since motility isn’t the same as regularity, related issues aren’t the same. Motility issues can cause occasional:
- Abdominal discomfort
- Belly distention
- Gastrointestinal lethargy
- Sluggishness in the gut
Move More Freely
When sluggishness happens, you want to focus on more than digestive speed. Instead, focus on optimizing your GI motility to move freely – and live the life you want again. Optimal motility means not having to give digestion a second thought.
That could look like:
- taking a yoga class any time of day
- hitting the open road for a long ride
- heading to a new dog park without checking on closest facilities.
When you’re optimizing motility, think about promoting the transport of food and keeping the digestive system moving smoothly. Healthy motility also focuses on optimizing gastric emptying, the speed at which food leaves the stomach for the small intestine.
By addressing this duo, you can target related digestive issues, like occasional bloating along with the accompanying discomfort. Healthy motility can impact gut comfort and encourage regular, healthy bowel movements.
The problem is, you want to find something that works with your body to support GI motility and keep digestion moving. Look for ingredients that soothe and calm the digestive system – without the side effects of dependency. Some products to support motility can be addictive and have harsh side effects.
Learn about the clinically studied blend of Artichoke leaf and Ginger root extracts to support healthy GI motility and get back to enjoying life!*