Abnormal gut motility in inflammatory bowel disease: an update

Tech Coloproctol. 2020 Apr;24(4):275-282. doi: 10.1007/s10151-020-02168-y. Epub 2020 Feb 15.


Background: There is substantial evidence linking disturbed gastrointestinal motility to inflammation. Thus, it is not surprising that abnormalities of gastrointestinal motility play a role in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), affecting patient outcomes. We performed a review of the literature to investigate the relationship between abnormal gut motility and IBD.

Methods: With an extensive literature search, we retrieved the pertinent articles linking disturbed gut motility to IBD in various anatomical districts.

Results: The evidence in the literature suggests that abnormal gastrointestinal motility plays a role in the clinical setting of IBD and may confuse the clinical picture.

Conclusions: Abnormal gut motility may be important in the clinical setting of IBD. However, additional data obtained with modern techniques (e.g., magnetic resonance imaging) are needed to individuate in a more precise manner gastrointestinal motor dysfunctions, to understand the nature of clinical manifestations and properly tailor the treatment of patients.

Keywords: Crohn’s disease; Gut dysmotility; Inflammatory bowel disease; Ulcerative colitis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colitis*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / complications