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Gastrointestinal involvement in neuromuscular disorders.

Although not often discussed, many of the neuromuscular disorders (NMDs) affect the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Depending on the type of NMD, the prevalence of GIT involvement ranges from <5% (e.g. hereditary neuropathies, myofibrillar myopathies) to 100% (e.g. MNGIE, OPMD). Particularly in NMDs with multisystem affection, involvement of the GIT can dominate the clinical presentation or at least make up a significant part of the clinical picture. The most prominent representatives of NMDs with multisystem involvement are the mitochondrial disorders (MIDs) and the myotonic dystrophies. The best known syndromic MIDs with GIT involvement are MNGIE, MELAS, Leigh, and Pearson syndromes. Among neuropathies, GIT involvement is most commonly found in ALS and GBS. GIT involvement may also be a feature of myasthenia. The clinical manifestations of GIT involvement are diverse and can affect the entire GIT, from the teeth to the rectum, including the liver and pancreas. The most well-known clinical manifestations of GIT involvement are dysphagia, nausea, vomiting, reflux, hollow organ dysmotility, hepatopathy, diabetes, diarrhea, constipation, and fecal incontinence. Even if treatment can usually only be symptomatic, the therapeutic options are diverse, are often effective, and can significantly and beneficially influence the course of the underlying NMD.

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