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Medical TermDescription
abdominoplastySurgical removal of excess abdominal skin and fat and tightening of the abdominal wall. Commonly called a tummy tuck.
acarboseA drug prescribed in treating type 2 diabetes mellitus. It retards the digestion of complex carbohydrates.
achlorhydriaAbsence of hydrochloric acid in gastric secretion.
aerophagyExcessive swallowing of air caused by anxiety or improper eating habits.
ageusiaLoss of the sense of taste.
amylaseA group of enzymes that help digest starches.
amyloseThe soluble constituent of starch.
anal canalThe terminal segment of the large intestine ending at the anus.
anthelminticsAgents that destroy or prevent development of parasitic worms.
antiemeticsDrugs used to prevent nausea or vomiting.
appendicitisAcute inflammation of the vermiform appendix.
assimilationThe transformation of food into living tissue.
avitaminosisDisease caused by vitamin deficiency.
beriberiA disorder caused by a deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1) and characterized by heart failure and edema.
bezoarA mass of swallowed hair, fruit or vegetable fibers, or similar substances found in the alimentary canal.
bulimiaEating an excess amount of food in a short period of time. It is caused by an abnormal craving for food.
capsule endoscopesA pill sized video camera encased in a capsule, designed to be swallowed and subsequently traverse the gastrointestinal tract while transmitting diagnostic images.
caroteneA red or yellow organic compound found in sweet potatoes, egg yolk, carrots, spinach, broccoli and other leafy vegetables.
caseinA nutritive milk protein containing all of the common amino acids and rich in the essential ones.
cecumThe outpouching area of the large intestine that is below the entrance of the small intestine. It has a worm-like extension, the vermiform appendix.
celiacPertaining to the abdominal cavity.
celluloseThe chief constituent of plant fiber. Indigestible roughage.
cholangitisInflammation of the bile ducts due to bacterial infection or blockage.
cholestasisImpairment of bile flow.
chyleThe opaque, milky-white fluid consisting mainly of emulsified fats that passes through the lacteals of the small intestines into the lymphatic system.
chylothoraxAn accumulation of chyle in the pleural space.
diverticulumA pouch or sac developed from a tubular or saccular organ, such as the gastrointestinal tract.
emeticsPertaining to or causing vomiting.
encopresisThe loss of the ability to control bowel movements.
enterocolitisInflammation of the mucous membrane of both small and large intestines.
enterocytesColumnar cells of the small intestine responsible for the final digestion and absorption of nutrients, electrolytes and water.
enterostomyCreation of an artificial external opening or fistula in the intestines.
epulisA swelling on the gum.
esophageal achalasiaFailure of the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, resulting in functional obstruction of the esophagus, and dysphagia.
esophagitisInflammation of the esophagus.
gastrectomyExcision of part or all of the stomach.
gastric absorptionUptake of substances via the stomach.
gastroparesisChronic delayed gastric emptying.
gleason scoreA method of classifying malignancy of prostate cancers.
glossitisInflammation of the tongue.
glycemic loadA quantitative value of a measured amount of a specific food that is equal to the glycemic index of that food multiplied by the carbohydrate content of that food.
glycineA non-essential amino acid that is a major component of gelatin and silk fibroin. It used therapeutically as a nutrient.
heartburnSubsternal pain or burning sensation, usually associated with regurgitation of gastric juice into the esophagus.
hepaticPertaining to the liver.
hepatoblastomaA malignant neoplasm occurring in young children, primarily in the liver,
hepatocytesA parenchymal liver cell.
hepatomaA malignant tumor of the liver
ileitisInflammation of any segment of the ileum.
ileostomyA surgical construction of an opening into the ileum on the abdominal wall.
ileumThe distal and narrowest portion of the small intestine, between the jejunum and the ileocecal valve of the large intestine.
intussusceptionThe movement of a bowel segment into an adjacent segment in the manner of a telescope. The condition is commonest in children.
inulinA starch found in the tubers and roots of many plants. It is used as a diagnostic aid in tests of kidney function
jejunalPertaining to the jejunum
jejunumPart of the small intestine, connecting the duodenum to the ileum.
lactaseAn enzyme secreted by the small intestine glands that convert lactose into glucose and galactose.
lingualPertaining to or near the tongue.
lipolysisThe metabolic process of breaking down of fat.
lysineAn essential amino acid.
megacolonExtreme dilatation of the colon.
mesentericRelating to the double layer of peritoneum suspending the intestine from the posterior abdominal wall.
mucositisAn inflammation of a mucous membrane, such as the lining of the mouth and throat.
norovirusA virus associated with epidemic gastroenteritis.
obstipationSevere constipation caused by obstruction in the intestines.
odynophagiaPainful swallowing.
omentumA double-layered fold of peritoneum that attaches the stomach to other organs in the abdominal cavity.
oropharynxThe middle portion of the pharynx that lies posterior to the mouth, inferior to the soft palate, and superior to the base of the tongue and epiglottis.
ostomySurgery to create an artificial opening (stoma) into the urinary or gastrointestinal canal.
pancreatectomyRemoval of the pancreas.
parotid glandEither of the pair of salivary glands that lie on the sides of the face immediately below and in front of the ear.
parotitisInflammation of the parotid gland.
pectenThe middle, narrow zone in the anal canal.
pellagraA disease characterized by scaly dermatitis, diarrhea and dementia caused by a deficiency of niacin and protein in the diet.
perihepatitisInflammation of the peritoneal capsule of the liver
peristalsisA movement, caused by sequential muscle contraction, that pushes the contents of the intestines or other tubular organs in one direction.
peritoneal absorptionUptake of substances from the peritoneal cavity.
peritoneal cavityThe space enclosed by the peritoneum. It is divided into two portions, the greater sac and the lesser sac or omental bursa, which lies behind the STOMACH. The two sacs are connected by the foramen of Winslow, or epiploic foramen.
polypsDiscrete abnormal tissue masses that protrude into the lumen of the digestive tract or the respiratory tract.
portal veinA vein that conducts blood from the digestive organs, spleen, pancreas, and gallbladder to the liver.
postprandialAfter a meal.
proctocolitisInflammation of the rectum and the colon.
proctoscopeEndoscope for examination of the rectum and anus.
proteolysisThe decomposition of proteins into peptides and amino acids by enzymes in the digestive tract.
pylorusThe region of the stomach at the junction with the duodenum.
pyrosisSubsternal pain or burning sensation, usually associated with regurgitation of gastric juice into the esophagus. Also called heartburn.
retentionThe ability of the digestive system to hold fluids and food.
sialadenitisInflammation of a salivary gland.
sialorrheaExcessive salivary flow.
supraglottitisInflammation of the of the laryngeal tissue above the glottis, particularly the epiglottis.
tenesmusA straining but ineffective attempt to urinate or defecate.
typhlitisInflammation of the cecum.
uvulaA fleshy extension at the back of the soft palate that hangs above the opening of the throat.

Authors and Reviewers

Authored by Dr. Barbara A. Erickson
Medically reviewed by Dr. Jonathan Keroes, MD
Last Update: 12/18/2022

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