Skip to content
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Researchers Uncover Secret Behind Bowel Movements

    Nerves and muscles work together to create a certain rhythm, study shows

    WebMD News from HealthDay

    By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

    HealthDay Reporter

    TUESDAY, Feb. 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Everybody does it, but until now researchers were unsure about the exact mechanisms behind a bowel movement.

    New research reveals that two sets of so-called "pacemakers" work together to create a certain rhythm, and these pacemakers use nerves and muscles to allow two types of movement: one that allows the body to absorb nutrients and another that moves food along the digestive tract.

    "In the long run, it's simple," Jan Huizinga, a gastroenterology scientist at the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Institute at McMaster University in Canada, said in a university news release.

    "It's like when a stone is dropped in water, it creates waves or motion that pushes things along, but when a second stone is dropped in the water, the movement changes to up and down, appearing to stay in the same place," the researcher explained.

    So, when people have diarrhea, this activity is too low. For those suffering from constipation, the same activity is too high, Huizinga and colleagues noted. Abnormal activity can also lead to pain associated with eating.

    The study findings, published Feb. 24 in Nature Communications, could help scientists develop new drugs or nutrients to treat diarrhea, constipation, bloating or disorders that prevent people from absorbing nutrients properly.

    Today on WebMD

    man holding his stomach
    Get the facts on common problems.
    blueberries in a palm
    Best and worst foods.
     
    woman shopping
    Learn what foods to avoid.
    fresh and dried plums
    Will it help constipation?
     
    diverticuliltis illustration
    Slideshow
    couple eating at cafe
    Article
     
    sick child
    Slideshow
    Woman blowing bubble gum
    Slideshow
     

    Send yourself a link to download the app.

    Loading ...

    Please wait...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    Woman with crohns in pain
    Slideshow
    Woman with stomach pain
    Slideshow
     
    diet for diverticulitis
    Video
    what causes diarrhea
    Video