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Medical TermDescription
-lithiasispresence of stones
-phagiaeating, swallowing
abdominal painDiscomfort, distress, or agony in the abdominal cavity. Can be acute or chronic. A significant clinical symptom.
abdominal quadrantsFour segments of the abdomen divided by horizontal and vertical lines intersecting at the umbilicus.
abdominal wallThe boundaries of the abdomen, consisting of multiple layers: skin, subcutaneous fat, superficial fascia, muscles, transversalis fascia, extra peritoneal fat, and the parietal peritoneum. Extends from the thoracic cage to the pelvis.
aerophagiaExcessive swallowing of air.
an/oanus, ring
anorexia nervosaAn eating disorder characterized by a loss of appetite and an excessive fear of becoming overweight.
antacidsSubstances that neutralize acidity in the stomach.
anusThe distal opening of the alimentary canal, lying in the fold between the buttocks.
appendixA worm-like blind tube extension from the cecum.
appetiteNatural recurring desire, e.g. for food.
bariatricsActivities related to weight reduction in patients with obesity including diet, exercise, medication and surgery.
bil/ibile, gall
bileAn emulsifying fluid produced in the liver, stored in the gall bladder and secreted into the duodenum.
body mass indexA formula for determining obesity based upon a person's weight and height.
Bulimia NervosaAn eating disorder characterized by binge eating followed by inappropriate purging (e.g. vomiting or using laxatives) to avoid weight gain.
butterThe fatty part of milk, separated when milk or cream is churned. A soft, solid, yellowish substance.
caffeineAn alkaloid drug, found in coffee and tea that simulates the central nervous system increasing alertness. It is also a diuretic.
carbohydratesThe largest class of organic compounds, including starch, glycogen, cellulose, polysaccharides, and simple monosaccharides. They constitute a main source of energy for body functions.
celiac diseaseA disease whose symptoms are precipitated by foods containing gluten, characterized by inflammation of the small intestine. An autoimmune disease.
chol/ebile, gall
cholecystitisInflammation of the gallbladder.
cholelithiasisPresence or formation of gallstones in the gallbladder.
choleraAn acute diarrheal disease endemic in India and Southeast Asia.
cirrhosisA chronic, progressive liver disease in which liver cells are replaced by scar tissue.
colitisInflammation of the colon.
colonThe main segment of large intestine.
colonoscopyEndoscopic examination, therapy or surgery of the luminal surface of the colon.
colorectal cancerA malignant neoplasm of the large intestine.
colostomyThe surgical construction of an opening between the colon and the surface of the body.
constipationInfrequent or difficult evacuation of feces.
cravingAn intense desire to consume a substance.
Crohn diseaseChronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract thought to be caused by inherited and environmental factors and a defect in the immune system.
diarrheaThe onset of three or more loose or liquid bowel movements in a day.
dietary fiberIndigestible carbohydrate materials. Can be soluble or insoluble in water.
digestionThe process of converting food into absorbable substances for metabolism and use by the body.
digestive systemA group of structures, organs and glands stretching from the mouth to the anus, that breakdown food substances, absorb nutrients and remove waste.
diverticulitisAn inflammation in the diverticula of the intestinal tract.
dyspepsiaImpaired digestion, especially after eating.
dysphagiaDifficulty in swallowing.
enemaA solution or compound that is introduced into the rectum with the purpose of cleansing the colon or for diagnostic procedures.
enter/osmall intestines
esophageal varicesAbnormally dilated veins of the esophagus. High risk of spontaneous bleeding. Associated with alcohol abuse.
esophagusThe muscular membranous passage between the pharynx and the stomach in the upper gastrointestinal tract.
fecesExcrement from the intestines, containing unabsorbed solids, waste products, secretions, and bacteria.
gallbladderA reservoir for bile located under the right lobe of the liver.
gallstoneA hard mass that precipitates in the biliary tract, usually in the gallbladder.
gastralgiaPain in the stomach or abdomen
gastricPertaining to the stomach.
gastritisThe painful inflammation of the stomach's lining.
gastroenteritisInflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
gastrointestinal tractGenerally refers to the digestive structures stretching from the mouth to anus, but does not include the accessory glandular organs (liver; biliary tract; pancreas).
gastrostomyCreation of an artificial external opening into the stomach for nutritional support or gastrointestinal compression.
gingivitisInflammation of gum tissue.
hemorrhoidsSwollen veins in the lower part of the rectum or anus.
hepatitisInflammation of the liver caused by viral agents.
herpes labialisCold sores caused by herpes simplex I.
ile/oileum (final section of small intestine)
ileectomySurgical removal of the ileum.
IleusImpairment of the normal flow of the intestinal contents within the bowel.
intestinesThe section of the alimentary canal from the stomach to the anal canal.
jaundiceYellowing of the skin and eyes due to excessive bilirubin in body
labi/olips, labia
lapar/oabdominal wall
laxativeAgents that produce a soft formed stool and relax the bowels, used to relieve constipation.
leukoplakiaA white patch lesion found on a mucous membrane that cannot be scraped off.
malabsorptionInadequate intestinal absorption of nutrients.
malnutritionA condition caused by insufficient intake of nutrients.
nauseaAn unpleasant sensation in the stomach accompanied by the inclination to vomit.
obesityBeing too heavy for one's height.
oralPertaining to the mouth.
pancreasAn irregularly shaped gland, located behind the stomach, that secretes pancreatic juice into the duodenum and insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin into the bloodstream.
peptic ulcerUlcer that occurs in the regions of the gastrointestinal tract which come into contact with gastric juice.
polypAbnormal tissue mass that protrudes into the lumen of the digestive or respiratory tracts.
proct/oanus and rectum
pylor/opylorus (opening between the stomach and duodenum)
rectumThe distal segment of the large intestine, between the sigmoid colon and the anal canal.
riboflavinVitamin B2.
salivaThe clear, viscous fluid secreted by the salivary glands and mucous glands of the mouth. It serves to moisten the oral cavity, to initiate the digestion of starches, and to aid in the chewing and swallowing of food.
salivary glandsGlands that secrete saliva in the mouth. There are three pairs of salivary glands: parotid gland; sublingual gland and submandibular gland.
stomachA saclike digestive organ situated in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen between the termination of the esophagus and the beginning of the duodenum.
stomatitisInflammation of the soft tissues of the mouth. Canker sores are an example.
stoolFeces discharged from the anus.
sublingual glandA salivary gland located under the tongue in the floor of the oral cavity.
tongueA muscular organ in the mouth that is covered with pink tissue called mucosa, tiny bumps called papillae, and thousands of taste buds. It is vital for chewing, swallowing and for speech.
trismusLack of ability to open the mouth fully due to decreased range of motion of the muscles of mastication.
vomitingThe forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth.

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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