Digestive Diseases


Motility and Functional GI Disorders

Pediatric problems with gastrointestinal (GI) motility — the coordinated contractions of the digestive tract —can interfere with your child's and your family's quality of life. At NewYork-Presbyterian, our pediatric gastroenterologists have expertise in neurogastroenterology, a subspecialty that addresses motility disorders, which involve the movement of food through the GI tract, and functional GI disorders, which involve interactions between the brain and GI tract that may affect motility.

We offer specialized gastrointestinal motility programs for children at the Pediatric Motility Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children's Hospital and the Pediatric Gastrointestinal Motility Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. Our multidisciplinary teams of experts provide comprehensive, advanced care that gets to the root of your child’s motility or functional GI disorder and helps them regain health and quality of life.

What are Motility Disorders and Functional GI Disorders?

Motility disorders are a group of conditions that stem from problems with the muscles and nerves that control the peristalsis (movement) of food through the gastrointestinal tract – the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon. In a healthy child, the wave-like contractions move food and waste through the intestinal tract and help the body absorb nutrients.

The symptoms of motility disorders can include abdominal distension or pain, constipation, difficulty swallowing, excessive vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea. While these symptoms can often overlap or be confused with indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, or even inflammatory bowel disease, motility disorders are different and require different therapies.

In children with functional gastrointestinal disorders (GI) disorders, the digestive tract looks normal, but may not work as it should. In these disorders, the body’s movement of the intestines, the sensitivity of the nerves of the intestines, or the way in which the brain processes some of these functions is impaired. Motility and functional GI disorders can have a wide range of causes including genetic conditions, anatomic malformations, allergy, metabolic issues, or a combination of causes.  

Most children with a motility or functional GI disorder respond to a combination of treatments, not just one. At NewYork-Presbyterian, we take a multidisciplinary yet individualized team approach that addresses the complex and unique needs of each child.

About Our Program

The Pediatric Gastrointestinal Motility Centers at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children's Hospital are among the few pediatric motility programs in the country, including the New York metropolitan region, that provide advanced care and comprehensive testing, consultation, and treatment of motility and functional GI disorders in children of all ages.

Our centers are led by physicians with advanced training in pediatric neurogastroenterology, motility and functional gastrointestinal disorders. Working in multidisciplinary teams, they use state-of-the-art technology such as high-resolution esophageal, anorectal, antroduodenal, and colonic manometry to pinpoint the precise source and location of the motility disorder.

We take a holistic approach to pediatric motility and functional GI disorders, with a focus on all aspects of a child’s physical and social health. We use medical and behavioral therapies as our first line of treatment. If these are not helpful, we may try therapeutic endoscopy, nonsurgical options such as IB-Stim®, or surgery. We also offer patients and families a range of services that go beyond treating the disease, such as nutritional counseling, genetic counseling, educational and emotional support, and transitional care as an adolescent approaches adulthood.

Because we are part of a world-class medical center, we have the ability to centralize care for our patients and connect our patients to providers in more than 100 specialties and subspecialties. When the time comes, we can provide the support patients and their families need to ensure a smooth transition from pediatric to adult care.

Conditions We Treat

We treat the full range of motility disorders and functional GI disorders in children, including:

  • Achalasia
  • Abdominal distension
  • Anorectal disorders
  • Bloating
  • Complex congenital anorectal and esophageal malformations
  • Constipation
  • Chronic nausea and vomiting
  • Pediatric intestinal pseudo-obstruction syndrome
  • Cyclic vomiting syndrome
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Esophageal achalasia and other esophageal motor disorders
  • Esophagitis
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Functional dyspepsia
  • Functional abdominal pain
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Gastroparesis
  • Hirschsprung’s disease and other congenital gut anomalies
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth

Contact us

Call for an Appointment

NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children's Hospital