Terms and Definitions

Terms and Definitions

Achalasia -
A combined defect of absent peristalsis and abnormal LES function (contractions of the GI tract that aid in moving food into the stomach)

Achlorhydria -
Absence of free hydrochloric acid in the stomach

Ascites -
The effusion and accumulation of serous fluid in the abdominal cavity

Barretts esophagus -
Replacement of the normal squamous epithelium of the esophagus by columnar epithelium as a result of reflux. This can be associated with increased risk of cancer.

Biopsy -
The removal of tissue during procedure for microscopic examination

Celiac sprue -

A malabsorption syndrome affecting both children and adults, precipitated by intolerance of gluten-containing foods

Colitis -
Inflammation of the colon

Constipation -
Infrequent or difficult evacuation of feces

Crohn's Disease -
A chronic inflammatory disease involving any part of the GI tract, with scarring and thickening of the bowel wall

Diverticulitis -
Inflammation of a diverticulum

Diverticulosis -
The presence of diverticula, small pockets on the wall of the colon, in the absence of inflammation.

Diverticulum -
An outpouching of one or more layers of the wall of the colon

Dyspepsia -
(Indigestion) Impairment of the function of digestion, usually applied to epigastric discomfort following meals but can vary in interpretation

Dysphagia -
A sensation of difficulty in swallowing

Esophageal reflux -
Reflux of the gastric or duodenal contents back into the esophagus

Esophagitis -
An inflammation of the esophageal lining

Gastritis -
Inflammation of the stomach lining

Hiatus hernia -
Occurs when a portion of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragmatic hiatus into the thoracic cavity

Lower esophageal sphincter -
Circular muscles at the distal end of the esophagus, which regulate the entry of food into the stomach

Malabsorption -
Impaired intestinal absorption of nutrients

Pancreatitis -
Acute or chronic inflammation of the pancreas

Peptic ulcer -
An ulceration of the mucosa membrane of the esophagus, stomach or duodenum, may be caused by the action of the acid gastric juice or certain bacteria

Polyp -
A protruding growth from any mucous membrane (colonic or gastric)

Stricture -
A narrowing of a canal, duct or other passage as a result of scarring or deposition of abnormal tissue

Ulcerative colitis -
Chronic, recurrent ulceration in the colon of unknown cause. Symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding and loose discharges of blood, pus and mucus with scanty fecal particles

Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome -
A disorder that includes atypical peptic ulcers, extreme gastric hyperacidity and gastrin-secreting, non beta islet cell tumors of the pancreas


Internet Sites about Digestive Disorders:

American Porphyria Foundation
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, Inc
American College of Gastroenterology

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