Term of the Day
The part of the colon between the flexures that crosses the abdomen beneath the liver and stomach.
The way nutrients from food move from the small intestine into the cells of the body.
A disturbance in the acid-base balance of the body in which there is an accumulation of acids or an excessive loss of bicarbonate.
A disorder that is sudden and severe but lasts only a short time.
Crack or split on the mucous membrane of the anus.
Relating both to the anus and the rectum.
Medicines that help control diarrhea. An example is loperamide.
The lower opening of the digestive tract, lying between the buttocks.
The part of the colon on the right side of the abdomen. Runs from the cecum to the transverse colon.
A buildup of fluid in the abdomen.
The condition of having a disease, but without symptoms of it.
A chalky liquid used to coat the inside of organs so that they will show up on the x-ray.
Barium Enema X-Ray
Also, Lower GI Series. X-rays of the rectum, colon and lower part of the small intestine. A barium enema is given first. Barium coats the organs so they will show up on the x-ray.
Fluid made by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Bile helps break down fats and gets rid of wastes in the body.
A stimulant laxative that speeds up how fast a stool moves through the intestines.
Body wastes passing through the rectum and anus.
The process used to clean the colon with enemas, cathartics or special drinks. Used before surgery of the colon, colonoscopy or barium x-ray. (See also Lavage.)
Bowel evacuant, specifically one taken orally.
The first portion of the large intestine, lying just beyond the ileocecal valve and between the small intestine and the ascending colon.
A term that refers to disorders that last a long time, often years.
A thick liquid made of partially digested food and stomach juices. This liquid is made in the stomach and moves into the small intestine for further digestion.
An operation to remove all or part of the colon.
Inflammation of the colon.
(See Large Intestine.)
An elongated, flexible, fiberoptic endoscope that allows visual examination of the entire colon.
The removal of tumor-like growths (polyps) using a device inserted through a colonoscope.
Also, Colon Cancer. Cancer that occurs in the colon or the rectum.
The surgical creation of an opening between the colon and body surface.
An x-ray that produces three-dimensional pictures of the body. Also known as computed axial tomography (CAT) scan.
A condition in which bowel movements are painful or difficult and are less frequent or smaller in quantity than normal.
A chronic form of inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn’s disease causes severe irritation in the gastrointestinal tract. Also called enteritis and ilieitis. (See also Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).)
The discharge of excrement from the rectum.
Loss of fluids from the body, often caused by diarrhea. May result in the loss of important salts and minerals.
The part of the colon where stool is stored. Located on the left side of the abdomen.
Frequent, loose and watery bowel movements. Common causes include gastrointestinal infections, irritable bowel syndrome, medicines and malabsorption.
The process the body uses to break down food into simple substances for energy, growth and cell repair.
The system by which ingested food is acted upon by physical and chemical means to provide the body with absorbable nutrients and to excrete waste products.
Inflammation of a diverticulum, occurring when one of the small pockets in the wall of the colon fills with stagnant fecal material.
A condition that occurs when small pouches (diverticula) push outward through weak spots in the colon.
The first part of the small intestine.
A procedure that uses an electrical current passed through an endoscope to stop bleeding in the digestive tract and to remove affected tissue.
Chemicals such as salts and minerals needed for various functions of the body.
A small, flexible tube with a light and a lens on the end. It is used to look into the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, colon or rectum. It can also be used to take tissue from the body for testing or to take color photographs of the inside of the body. Colonoscopes and sigmoidoscopes are types of endoscopes.
A procedure that uses an endoscope to diagnose or treat a condition.
A liquid bowel evacuant, administered rectally.
Inflammation of the intestine.
Relating to feces.
The matter discharged from the bowel during defecation.
The process of bacteria breaking down undigested food and releasing alcohols, acids and gases.
An abnormal passage between two organs or between an organ and the outside of the body. Caused when damaged tissues come into contact with each other and join together while healing.
Liquids produced in the stomach to help break down food and kill bacteria.
A doctor who specializes in digestive diseases.
The field of medicine concerned with the function and disorders of the digestive system.
Gastrointestinal - Gastroenteric
Relating to both stomach and intestines.
A mixture of plant proteins found in cereal grains such as corn and wheat, and that gives dough its cohesiveness. Sensitivity to gluten can cause damage to the intestines.
A colorless, odorless, viscous liquid that is a fast-acting stimulant laxative with an osmotic effect.
Swollen blood vessels in and around the anus and lower rectum. Continual straining to have a bowel movement causes them to stretch and swell. They cause itching, pain and sometimes bleeding.
A birth defect in which some nerve cells are lacking in the large intestine. The intestine cannot move stool through, so the intestine gets blocked, causing the abdomen to swell. (See also Megacolon.)
Full of water.
An excess of sodium in the blood.
An excess of phosphate in the blood.
Having a greater degree of ions, denoting that one of two solutions possesses the greater osmotic pressure.
Reduction of blood calcium level.
Reduction of blood potassium level.
State of being hypotonic (less osmotic pressure).
The lower end of the small intestine.
Obstruction of the small intestine.
A condition in which feces in the bowel are compressed so as to be immovable.
A birth defect in which the anal canal fails to develop.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Long-lasting problems that cause irritation and ulcers in the GI tract. The most common disorders are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
A disorder that comes and goes. Nerves that control the muscles in the GI tract are too active. The GI tract becomes sensitive to food, stool, gas and stress. Causes abdominal pain, bloating and constipation or diarrhea. Also called spastic colon or mucous colitis.
A stimulant cathartic.
The part of the intestine that goes from the cecum to the rectum. The large intestine absorbs water from stool and changes it from a liquid to a solid form. The large intestine is five feet long and includes the appendix, cecum, colon and rectum. Also called colon.
A cleaning of the stomach and colon.
A bowel evacuant; a mild cathartic.
The space inside a tubular structure, such as the intestine.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
A test that takes pictures of the soft tissues of the body. The pictures are clearer than x-rays.
Conditions that happen when the small intestine cannot absorb nutrients from foods.
A tear in the lower end of the esophagus. Caused by severe vomiting.
A huge, swollen colon. Results from severe constipation. (See also Hirschsprung’s Disease.)
Mineral oil (liquid petrolatum) coats and softens stool, and is a key ingredient in lubricant laxatives.
The movement of food through the digestive tract.
Membrane lining a body passage or cavity, such as the intestine; produces a secretion that moistens and protects the organ.
A clear liquid made by the intestines. Mucus coats and protects the tissues of the GI tract.
Blood in the stool that is not visible to the naked eye. May be a sign of disease such as diverticulosis or colorectal cancer.
The phenomenon of the passage of certain fluids and solutions through a membrane or other porous substance.
An effect that causes the intestines to pull water back into the colon and hold it in the intestines, softening stools so they’re easier to pass.
The wormlike movement of the intestine or other tubular structure; a wave of alternate circular contraction and relaxation of the tube by which the contents are propelled onward.
Tissue bulging from the surface of an organ. Although these growths are not normal, they often are not cause for concern. However, people who have polyps in the colon may have an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
The presence of many polyps.
Inspection of the lower part of the intestine with a proctoscope.
A rectal speculum, usually 25 cm in length, used to view the rectum and sigmoid colon. Often synonymous with proctoscope or sigmoidoscope.
Direct inspection through a proctosigmoidoscope of the rectum and sigmoid colon.
A cathartic containing salts that attract water into the intestinal lumen, stimulating peristalsis indirectly.
The part of the colon distal to the descending colon, which usually makes several turns roughly resembling the letter “S” and terminates in the rectum.
An endoscope for direct examination of the interior of the colon.
Looking into the sigmoid colon and rectum with a flexible or rigid tube, called a sigmoidoscope.
Organ where most digestion occurs. It measures about 20 feet and includes the duodenum, jejunum and ileum.
A circular muscle that serves, when in a state of normal contraction, to close one of the orifices of the body.
A cathartic that stimulates peristalsis by irritation of the intestinal mucosa or by some selective action on the nerve plexus or the smooth muscle of the intestinal wall.