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Chapter 12, MedTerms

The Digestive System

TermDefinition
mouth Used to bite and chew food. Mixes food with saliva, which contains salivary amylase, an enzyme that begins the digestion of starch. Shapes food into small portions, which the tongue pushes into the pharynx.
pharynx Swallows food by reflex action and moves it into the esophagus.
esophagus Moves food into the stomach by peristalsis.
stomach Stores food; churns to mix food with water and digestive juices. Secretes protein-digesting hydrochloric acid (HCI) and the enzyme pepsin.
small intestine Secretes enzymes. Receives secretions from the accessory organs, which digest and neutralize food. Site of most digestion and absorption of nutrients into the circulation.
large intestine Forms, stores, and eliminates undigested waste material.
salivary glands Secrete saliva, which moistens food and contains salivary amylase, an enzyme that begins the digestion of starch.
liver Secretes bile salts that break down (emulsify) fats.
gallbladder Stores bile and releases it into the digestive tract when needed.
pancreas Secretes a variety of digestive enzymes. Also secretes bicarbonate to neutralize stomach acid and water to dilute food.
anus The distal opening of the digestive tract (root: an/o)
appendix An appendage; usually means the narrow tube of lymphatic tissue attached to the cecum, the vermiform (worm-like) appendix
bile The fluid secreted by the liver that emulsifies fats and aids in their absorption (roots: chol/e, bili)
cecum A blind pouch at the beginning of the large intestine (root: cec/o)
colon The major portion of the large intestine; extends from the cecum to the rectum and is formed by ascending, transverse, and descending portions (roots: col/o, colon/o)
common bile duct The duct that carries bile into the duodenum; formed by the union of the cystic duct and the common hepatic duct (root: choledoch/o)
duodenum The first portion of the small intestine (root: duoden/o)
enzyme An organic catalyst; speeds the rate of chemical reactions
esophagus The muscular tube that carries food from the pharynx to the stomach
feces The waste material eliminated from the intestine (adjective: fecal); stool
gallbladder A sac on the undersurface of the liver that stores bile (root: cholecyst/o)
hepatic portal system A special circulatory pathway that brings blood directly from the abdominal organs to the liver for processing (also called simply the portal system); the vessel that enters the liver is the hepatic portal vein (portal vein)
ileum The terminal portion of the small intestine (root: ile/o)
intestine The portion of the digestive tract between the stomach and the anus; it consists of the small and large intestines; it functions in digestion, absorption, and elimination of waste (root: enter/o); the bowel
jejunum The middle portion of the small intestine (root: jejun/o)
lacteal A lymphatic capillary in a villus of the small intestine; lacteals absorb digested fats into the lymph
large intestine The terminal portion of the digestive tract, consisting of the cecum, colon, rectum, and anus; it stores and eliminates undigested waste material (feces)
liver The large gland in the upper right abdomen; in addition to many other functions, it secretes bile needed for digestion and absorption of fats (roots: hepat/o)
lower esophageal sphincter (LES) Muscle tissue at the distal end of the esophagus (gastroesophageal junction) that prevents stomach contents from refluxing into the esophagus; also called the cardiac sphincter
mastication Chewing
mouth The oral cavity; contains the tongue and teeth; used to take in and chew food, mix it with saliva, and move it toward the throat to be swallowed
palate The roof of the mouth; the partition between the mouth and nasal cavity; consists of an anterior portion formed by bone, the hard palate, and a posterior portion formed of tissue, the soft palate (root: palat/o)
pancreas A large, elongated gland posterior to the stomach; it produces hormones that regulate sugar metabolism and also produces digestive enzymes (root: pancreat/o)
peristalsis Wave-like contractions of an organ's walls; moves material through an organ or duct
peritoneum The large serous membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and supports the abdominal organs
pharynx The throat; a common passageway for food entering the esophagus and air entering the larynx (root: pharyng/o)
pylorus The stomach's distal opening into the duodenum (root: pylor/o); the opening is controlled by a ring of muscle, the pyloric sphincter
rectum The distal portion of the large intestine; it stores and eliminates undigested waste (roots: rect/o, proct/o)
saliva The clear secretion released into the mouth that moistens food and contains starch-digesting enzyme (root: sial/o); saliva is produced by three pairs of glands: the parotid, submandibular, and sublingual glands
sigmoid colon Distal S-shaped portion of the large intestine located between the descending colon and the rectum
small intestine The portion of the intestine between the stomach and the large intestine; comprised of the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum; accessory organs secrete into the small intestine, and almost all digestion and absorption occur there
stomach A muscular sac-like organ below the diaphragm that stores food and secretes juices that digest proteins (root: gastr/o)
uvula The fleshy mass that hangs from the soft palate; aids in speech production (literally "little grape") (root: uvul/o)
villi Tiny projections in the lining of the small intestine that absorb digested foods into the circulation (singular: villus)
bucc/o cheek
dent/o, dent/i tooth, teeth
odont/o tooth, teeth
gingiv/o gum (gingiva)
gloss/o tongue
lingu/o tongue
gnath/o jaw
labi/o lip
or/o mouth
stoma, stomat/o mouth
palat/o palate
sial/o saliva, salivary gland, salivary duct
uvul/o uvula
esophag/o esophagus
gastr/o stomach
pylor/o pylorus
enter/o intestine
duoden/o duodenum
jejun/o jejunum
ile/o ileum
cec/o cecum
col/o, colon/o colon
sigmoid/o sigmoid colon
rect/o rectum
proct/o rectum
an/o anus
hepat/o liver
bili bile
chole/o, chol/o bile, gall
cholecyst/o gallbladder
cholangi/o bile duct
choledoch/o common bile duct
pancreat/o pancreas
appendicitis Inflammation of the appendix
ascites Accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity; a form of edema; may be caused by heart disease, lymphatic or venous obstruction, cirrhosis, or changes in blood plasma composition
Barrett syndrome Condition resulting from chronic esophagitis, as caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease; inflammatory injury can lead to esophageal spasms, scarring, strictures, and increased risk of cancer; also called Barrett esophagus
biliary colic Acute abdominal pain caused by gallstones in the bile ducts
bilirubin A pigment released in the breakdown of hemoglobin from red blood cells; mainly excreted by the liver in bile
caries Tooth decay
celiac disease Inability to absorb foods containing gluten, a protein found in wheat and some other grains; caused by an excess immune response to gluten
cholecystitis Inflammation of the gallbladder
cholelithiasis The condition of having stones in the gallbladder; also used to refer to stones in the common bile duct
cirrhosis Chronic liver disease with degeneration of liver tissue
Crohn disease A chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract usually involving the ileum and colon
diarrhea The frequent passage of watery bowel movements
diverticulitis Inflammation of diverticula (small pouches) in the wall of the digestive tract, especially in the colon
diverticulosis The presence of diverticula, especially in the colon
dysphagia Difficulty in swallowing
emesis Vomiting
fistula An abnormal passageway between two organs such as between the rectum and anus (anorectal fistula), or from an organ to the body surface
gastroenteritis Inflammation of the stomach and intestine
gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) Condition caused by reflux of gastric juices into the esophagus resulting in heartburn, regurgitation, inflammation, and possible damage to the esophagus; caused by weakness of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES)
heartburn A warm or burning sensation felt behind the sternum and radiating upward; commonly associated with gastroesophageal reflux; medical name is pyrosis (pyr/o means "heat")
hemorrhoids Varicose veins in the rectum associated with pain, bleeding, and sometimes rectal prolapse; piles
hepatitis Inflammation of the liver; commonly caused by a viral infection
hepatomegaly Enlargement of the liver
hiatal hernia A protrusion of the stomach through the opening (hiatus) in the diaphragm through which the esophagus passes
icterus A yellowish color of the skin, mucous membranes, and whites of the eye caused by bile pigments in the blood; the main pigment is bilirubin, a byproduct of erythrocyte destruction; jaundice
ileus Intestinal obstruction; may be caused by lack of peristalsis (adynamic, paralytic ileus) or by contraction (dynamic ileus); intestinal matter and gas may be relieved by insertion of a drainage tube
intussusception Slipping of one intestinal segment into another part below it; occurs mainly in male infants in the ileocecal region; may be fatal if untreated for more than one day
jaundice A yellowish color of the skin, mucous membranes, and whites of the eye caused by bile pigments in the blood (from French jaune meaning "yellow"); the main pigment is bilirubin, a byproduct of erythrocyte destruction; icterus
leukoplakia White patches on mucous membranes, as on the tongue or cheeks, often resulting from smoking or other irritants; may be precancerous
nausea An unpleasant sensation in the upper abdomen that often precedes vomiting; typically occurs in digestive upset, motion sickness, and sometimes early pregnancy
occult blood Blood present in such small amounts that it can be detected only microscopically or chemically; in the feces, a sign of intestinal bleeding (occult means "hidden")
pancreatitis Inflammation of the pancreas
peptic ulcer A lesion in the mucous membrane of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum caused by the action of gastric juice
peritonitis Inflammation of the peritoneum, the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and covers the abdominal organs; may result from perforation of an ulcer, ruptured appendix, or reproductive tract infection, among other causes
polyp A tumor that grows on a stalk and bleeds easily
portal hypertension An abnormal pressure increase in the hepatic portal system; may be caused by cirrhosis, infection, thrombosis, or a tumor
pyloric stenosis Narrowing of the opening between the stomach and the duodenum; pylorostenosis
regurgitation A backward flowing, such as the backflow of undigested food
splenomegaly Enlargement of the spleen
ulcerative colitis Chronic ulceration of the rectum and colon; the cause is unknown, but may involve autoimmunity
volvulus Twisting of the intestine resulting in obstruction; usually involves the sigmoid colon and occurs most often in children and in the elderly; may be caused by congenital malformation, a foreign body, or adhesion; failure to treat immediately may be fatal
anastomosis A passage or communication between two vessels or organs; may be normal or pathologic or may be created surgically
barium study Use of barium sulfate as a liquid contrast medium for fluoroscopic or radiographic study of the digestive tract; can show obstruction, tumors, ulcers, hiatal hernia, and motility disorders, among other conditions
cholecystectomy Surgical removal of the gallbladder
Dukes classification A system for staging colorectal cancer based on degree of bowel wall penetration and lymph node involvement; severity is graded from A to C
endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) A technique for viewing the pancreatic and bile ducts and for performing certain techniques to relieve obstructions; contrast medium is injected into the biliary system from the duodenum before radiographs are taken
endoscopy Use of a fiberoptic endoscope for direct visual examination; GI studies include esophagogastroduodenoscopy, proctosigmoidoscopy (rectum and distal colon), and colonoscopy (all regions of the colon)
ostomy An opening into the body; generally refers to an opening created for elimination of body waste; also refers to the operation done to create such an opening (see stoma)
stoma A surgically created opening to the body surface or between two organs (literally "mouth")
bolus A mass, such as the rounded mass of food that is swallowed
cardia The part of the stomach near the esophagus, named for its closeness to the heart
chyme The semiliquid partially digested food that moves from the stomach into the small intestine
defecation The evacuation of feces from the rectum
deglutition Swallowing
duodenal bulb The part of the duodenum near the pylorus; the first bend (flexure) of the duodenum
duodenal papilla The raised area where the common bile duct and pancreatic duct enter the duodenum; papilla of Vater
greater omentum A fold of the peritoneum that extends from the stomach over the abdominal organs
hepatic flexure The right bend of the colon, forming the junction between the ascending colon and the transverse colon
ileocecal valve A valve-like structure between the ileum of the small intestine and the cecum of the large intestine
mesentery The portion of the peritoneum that folds over and supports the intestine
mesocolon The portion of the peritoneum that folds over and supports the colon
papilla of Vater The raised area where the common bile duct and pancreatic duct enter the duodenum; duodenal papilla
rugae The large folds in the stomach's lining seen when the stomach is empty
sphincter of Oddi The muscular ring at the opening of the common bile duct into the duodenum
splenic flexure The left bend of the colon, forming the junction between the transverse colon and the descending colon
achalasia Failure of a smooth muscle to relax, especially the lower esophageal sphincter, so that food is retained in the esophagus
achlorhydria Lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach; opposite is hyperchlorhydria
anorexia Loss of appetite; anorexia nervosa is a psychologically induced refusal or inability to eat (adjectives: anorectic, anorexic)
aphagia Inability to swallow or difficulty in swallowing; refusal or inability to eat
aphthous ulcer An ulcer in a mucous membrane, as in the mouth
bruxism Clenching and grinding of the teeth, usually during sleep
bulimia Excessive, insatiable appetite; a disorder characterized by overeating followed by induced vomiting, diarrhea, or fasting
cachexia Profound ill health, malnutrition, and wasting
cheilosis Cracking at the corners of the mouth, often caused by B vitamin deficiency (root cheil/o means "lip")
cholestasis Stoppage of bile flow
constipation Infrequency or difficulty in defecation and the passage of hard, dry feces
dyspepsia Poor or painful digestion
eructation Belching
familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) A hereditary condition in which multiple polyps form in the colon and rectum, predisposing one to colorectal cancer
flatulence Condition of having gas or air in the GI tract
flatus Gas or air in the gastrointestinal tract; gas or air expelled through the anus
hematemesis Vomiting of blood
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) A chronic stress-related disease characterized by diarrhea, constipation, and pain associated with rhythmic intestinal contractions; mucous colitis; spastic colon
megacolon An extremely dilated colon; usually congenital but may occur in acute ulcerative colitis
melena Black tarry feces resulting from blood in the intestines; common in newborns; may also be a sign of gastrointestinal bleeding
obstipation Extreme constipation
pernicious anemia A form of anemia caused by the stomach's failure to secrete intrinsic factor, a substance needed for the absorption of vitamin B12
pilonidal cyst A dermal cyst in the sacral region, usually at the top of the cleft between the buttocks; may become infected and begin to drain
thrush Fungal infection of the mouth and/or throat caused by Candida; appears as mucosal white patches or ulcers
Vincent disease Severe gingivitis with necrosis associated with the bacterium Treponema vincentii; necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis; trench mouth
appendectomy Surgical removal of the appendix
bariatrics The branch of medicine concerned with prevention and control of obesity and associated diseases (from the Greek baros, meaning "weight")
bariatric surgery Surgery to reduce the size of the stomach and reduce nutrient absorption in the treatment of morbid obesity
Billroth operations Gastrectomy with anastomosis of the stomach to the duodenum (Billroth I) or to the jejunum (Billroth II)
gavage Process of feeding through a nasogastric tube into the stomach
lavage Washing out of a cavity; irrigation
manometry Measurement of pressure; pertaining to the GI tract, measurement of pressure in the portal system as a sign of obstruction
Murphy sign Inability to take a deep breath when fingers are pressed firmly below the right arch of the ribs (below the liver); signifies gallbladder disease
nasogastric (NG) tube Tube that is passed through the nose into the stomach; may be used for emptying the stomach, administering medication, giving liquids, or sampling stomach contents
parenteral hyperalimentation Complete intravenous feeding for one who cannot take in food; total parenteral nutrition (TPN)
percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube Tube inserted into the stomach for long-term feeding
vagotomy Interruption of vagal nerve impulses to reduce stomach secretions in the treatment of a gastric ulcer; originally done surgically but may also be done with drugs
antacid Agent that counteracts acidity, usually gastric acidity
antidiarrheal Drug that treats or prevents diarrhea by reducing intestinal motility or absorbing irritants and soothing the intestinal lining
antiemetic Agent that relieves or prevents nausea and vomiting
antiflatulent Agent that prevents or relieves flatulence
antispasmodic Agent that relieves spasm, usually of smooth muscle
emetic An agent that causes vomiting
histamine H2 antagonist Drug that decreases secretion of stomach acid by interfering with the action of histamine at H2 receptors; used to treat ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems; H2-receptor-blocking agent
laxative Agent that promotes elimination from the large intestine; types include stimulants, substances that retain water (hyperosmotics), stool softeners, and bulk-forming agents
proton pump inhibitor (PPI) Agent that inhibits gastric acid secretion by blocking the transport of hydrogen ions (protons) into the stomach
BE Barium enema (for radiographic study of the colon)
BM Bowel movement
CBD Common bile duct
EGD Esophagogastroduodenoscopy
ERCP Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
FAP Familial adenomatous polyposis
GERD Gastroesophageal reflux disease
GI Gastrointestinal
HAV Hepatitis A virus
HBV Hepatitis B virus
HCV Hepatitis C virus
HDV Hepatitis D virus
HEV Hepatitis E virus
HCI Hydrochloric acid
IBD Inflammatory bowel disease
IBS Irritable bowel syndrome
LES Lower esophageal sphincter
NG Nasogastric (tube)
N&V Nausea and vomiting
N/V/D, NVD Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
PONV Postoperative nausea and vomiting
PPI Proton pump inhibitor
TPN Total parenteral nutrition
UGI Upper gastrointestinal (radiograph series)
Created by: SeedyVampire