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Eagle-Barrett Syndrome

(EE-gul BAH-rut sin-drohm)

See Prune Belly Syndrome.



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 in
the body.



Accidental passage of a bowel movement. A common disorder in children.



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.

Endoscopic Papillotomy

(en-doh-SKAW-pik pah-pih-LAW-tuh-mee)

See Endoscopic Sphincterotomy.

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) (en-doh-SKAW-pik
REH-troh-grayd koh-LAN-jee-oh-PANG-kree-uh-TAW-gruh-fee)

A test using an x-ray to look into the bile and pancreatic ducts. The
doctor inserts an endoscope through the mouth into the duodenum and bile
ducts. Dye is sent through the tube into the ducts. The dye makes the
ducts show up on an x-ray.

Endoscopic Sphincterotomy

(en-doh-SKAW-pik sfeenk-tuh-RAW-tuh-mee)

An operation to cut the muscle between the common bile duct and the
pancreatic duct. The operation uses a catheter and a wire to remove gallstones
or other blockages. Also called endoscopic papillotomy.



A procedure that uses an endoscope to diagnose or treat a condition.



A liquid put into the rectum to clear out the bowel or to administer
drugs or food.

Enteral Nutrition

(EN-tuh-rul noo-TRISH-un)

A way to provide food through a tube placed in the nose, the stomach,
or the small intestine. A tube in the nose is called a nasogastric or
nasoenteral tube. A tube that goes through the skin into the stomach is
called a gastrostomy or percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG). A tube
into the small intestine is called a jejunostomy or percutaneous endoscopic
jejunostomy (PEJ) tube. Also called tube feeding. See also Gastrostomy
and Jejunostomy.



An irritation of the small intestine.



A hernia in the intestine. See also Hernia.



An examination of the small intestine with an endoscope. The endoscope
is inserted through the mouth and stomach into the small intestine.

Enterostomal Therapy (ET) Nurse

(en-tuh-roh-STOH-mul THEH-ruh-pee nerss)

A nurse who cares for patients with an ostomy. See also Ostomy.



An ostomy, or opening, into the intestine through the abdominal wall.

Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA)

(EN-zym linkt IM-yoo-noh SOR-bent ASS-ay)

A blood test used to find Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Also
used to diagnose an ulcer.

Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis

(ee-oh-sin-oh-FIL-ik gah-stroh-en-tuh-RY-tis)

Infection and swelling of the lining of the stomach, small intestine,
or large intestine. The infection is caused by white blood cells (eosinophils).

Epithelial Cells

(eh-puh-THEE-lee-ul selz)

One of many kinds of cells that form the epithelium and absorb nutrients.
See also Epithelium.



The inner and outer tissue covering digestive tract organs.


See Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP).




Erythema Nodosum

(EH-rih-THEE-muh noh-DOH-sum)

Red swellings or sores on the lower legs during flareups of Crohn’s
disease and ulcerative colitis. These sores show that the disease is active.
They usually go away when the disease is treated.

Escherichia coli

(eh-shuh-RIK-ee-uh KOH-ly)

Bacteria that cause infection and irritation of the large intestine.
The bacteria are spread by unclean water, dirty cooking utensils, or undercooked
meat. See also Gastroenteritis.

Most common form of esophageal development

Normal esophageal development

Esophageal Atresia

(eh-saw-fuh-JEE-uhl uh-TREEZ-ya)

A birth defect. The esophagus lacks the opening to allow food to pass
into the stomach.

Esophageal Manometry

(eh-saw-fuh-JEE-ul mah-NAW-muh-tree)

A test to measure muscle tone inthe esophagus.

Esophageal Ph Monitoring

(eh-saw-fuh-JEE-ul pee-aytch mah-nih-tuh-reeng)

A test to measure the amount of acid in the esophagus.

Esophageal Reflux

(eh-saw-fuh-JEE-ul REE-fluks)

See Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.

Esophageal Spasms

(eh-saw-fuh-JEE-ul SPAH-zumz)

Muscle cramps in the esophagus that cause pain in the chest.

Esophageal Stricture

(eh-saw-fuh-JEE-ul STRIK-sher)

A narrowing of the esophagus often caused by acid flowing back from
the stomach. This condition may require surgery.

Esophageal Ulcer

(eh-saw-fuh-JEE-ul UL-sur)

A sore in the esophagus. Caused by long-term inflammation or damage
from the residue of pills. The ulcer may cause chest pain.

Esophageal Varices

(eh-saw-fuh-JEE-ul VAIR-uh-seez)

Stretched veins in the esophagus that occur when the liver is not working
properly. If the veins burst, the bleeding can cause death.



An irritation of the esophagus, usually caused by acid that flows up
from the stomach.

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)


Exam of the upper digestive tract using an endoscope. See Endoscopy.



The organ that connects the mouth to the stomach. Also called gullet.



To get rid of waste from the body.

Extrahepatic Biliary Tree

(ek-strah-heh-PAH-tik BILL-ee-air-ee tree)

The bile ducts located outside the liver.


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Failure to Thrive

(FAYL-yoor too THRYV)

A condition that occurs when a baby does not grow normally.

Familial Polyposis

(fuh-MIL-ee-ul pah-luh-POH-sis)

An inherited disease causing many polyps in the colon. The polyps often
cause cancer.


One of the three main classes of food and a source of energy in the
body. Bile dissolves fats, and enzymes break them down. This process moves
fats into cells.

Fatty Liver

(FAH-tee LIH-vur)

The buildup of fat in liver cells. The most common cause is alcoholism.
Other causes include obesity, diabetes, and pregnancy. Also called steatosis.

Fecal Fat Test

(FEE-kul fat test)

A test to measure the body’s ability to break down and absorb fat. The
patient eats a fat-free diet for 2 to 3 days before the test and collects
stool samples for examination.

Fecal Incontinence

(FEE-kul in-KAN-tuh-nuns)

Being unable to hold stool in the colon and rectum.

Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)
Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)

(FEE-kul uh-KULT blud test)

A test to see whether there is blood in the stool that is not visible
to the naked eye. A sample of stool is placed on a chemical strip that
will change color if blood is present. Hidden blood in the stool is a
common symptom of colorectal cancer.






The process of bacteria breaking down undigested food and releasing
alcohols, acids, and gases.



A substance in foods that comes from plants. Fiber helps with digestion
by keeping stool soft so that it moves smoothly through the colon. Soluble
(SAWL-yoo-buhl) fiber dissolves in water. Soluble fiber is found
in beans, fruit, and oat products. Insoluble (IN-sawl-yoo-buhl)
fiber does not dissolve in water. Insoluble fiber is found in whole-grain
products and vegetables.



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.



Excessive gas in the stomach or intestine. May cause bloating.



Gas passed through the rectum.

Foodborne Illness

(FOOD-born IL-nus)

An acute gastrointestinal infection caused by food that contains harmful
bacteria. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and chills.
Also called food poisoning.

Fulminant Hepatic Failure (FHF)

(FOOL-muh-nunt heh-PAT- ik FAYL-yoor)

Liver failure that occurs suddenly in a previously healthy person. The
most common causes of FHF are acute hepatitis, acetaminophen overdose,
and liver damage from prescription drugs.

Functional Disorders

(FUNK-shun-ul dis-or-durz)

Disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. These conditions result
from poor nerve and muscle function. Symptoms such as gas, pain, constipation,
and diarrhea come back again and again, but there are no signs of disease
or damage. Emotional stress can trigger symptoms. Also called motility



A mold or yeast such as Candidiasis that may cause infection.


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A type of sugar in milk products and sugar beets. The body also makes



Buildup of galactose in the blood. Caused by lack of one of the enzymes
needed to break down galactose into glucose.



The organ that stores the bile made in the liver. Connected to the liver
by bile ducts. The gallbladder can store about 1 cup of bile. Eating signals
the gallbladder to empty the bile through the bile ducts to help digest



The solid masses or stones made of cholesterol or bilirubin that form
in the gallbladder or bile ducts.

Gardner’s Syndrome

(GARD-nurz sin-drohm)

A condition in which many polyps form throughout the digestive tract.
Because these polyps are likely to cause cancer, the colon and rectum
are often removed to prevent colorectal cancer.



Air that comes from normal breakdown of food. The gases are passed out
of the body through the rectum (flatus) or the mouth (burp).



An operation to remove all or part of the stomach.



Related to the stomach.

Gastric Juices

(GAH-strik JOO-suz)

Liquids produced in the stomach to help break down food and kill bacteria.

Gastric Resection

(GAH-strik ree-SEK-shun)

An operation to remove part or all of the stomach.

Gastric Ulcer

(GAH-strik UL-sur)

See Stomach Ulcer.



A hormone released after eating. Gastrin causes the stomach to produce
more acid.



An inflammation of the stomach lining.

Gastrocolic Reflex

(GAH-stroh-KAW-lick REE-fleks)

Increase of muscle movement in the gastrointestinal tract when food
enters an empty stomach. May cause the urge to have a bowel movement right
after eating.



An infection or irritation of the stomach and intestines. May be caused
by bacteria or parasites from spoiled food or unclean water. Other causes
include eating food that irritates the stomach lining and emotional upsets
such as anger, fear, or stress. Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting,
and abdominal cramping. See also Infectious Diarrhea and Travelers’ Diarrhea.

Causes of gastroenteritis

  • Bacteria
    • Escherichia coli.
    • Salmonella.
    • Shigella.
  • Viruses
    • Norwalk virus.
    • Rotavirus.
  • Parasites
    • Cryptosporidia.
    • Entamoeba histolytica.
    • Giardia lamblia.



A doctor who specializes in digestive diseases.



The field of medicine concerned with the function and disorders of the
digestive system.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

(GAH-stroh-eh-SAW-fuh-JEE-ul REE-fluks duh-zeez)

Flow of the stomach’s contents back up into the esophagus. Happens when
the muscle between the esophagus and the stomach (the lower esophageal
sphincter) is weak or relaxes when it shouldn’t. May cause esophagitis.
Also called esophageal reflux or reflux esophagitis.

Gastrointestinal (GI)


Related to the gastrointestinal tract.

Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract

(GAH-stroh-in-TES-tuh-nul trakt)

The large, muscular tube that extends from the mouth to the anus, where
the movement of muscles and release of hormones and enzymes digest food.
Also called the alimentary canal or digestive tract.



Nerve or muscle damage in the stomach. Causes slow digestion and emptying,
vomiting, nausea, or bloating. Also called delayed gastric emptying.



An artificial opening from the stomach to a hole (stoma) in the abdomen
where a feeding tube is inserted. See also Enteral Nutrition.


See Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.


See Gastrointestinal.

Giant Hypertrophic Gastritis

(JY-unt hy-pur-TROH-fik gah-STRY-tis)

See Ménétrier’s Disease.



An infection with the parasite Giardia lamblia from spoiled food
or unclean water. May cause diarrhea. See also Gastroenteritis.

Gilbert Syndrome

(GIL-burt sin-drohm)

A buildup of bilirubin in the blood. Caused by lack of a liver enzyme
needed to break down bilirubin. See also Bilirubin.

Globus Sensation

(GLOH-bus sen-SAY-shun)

A constant feeling of a lump in the throat. Usually related to stress.



A simple sugar the body manufactures from carbohydrates in the diet.
Glucose is the body’s main source of energy. See also Carbohydrates.



A protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. In people who can’t
digest it, gluten damages the lining of the small intestine or causes
sores on the skin.

Gluten Intolerance

(GLOO-ten in-TAH-luh-runs)

See Celiac Disease.

Gluten Sensitive Enteropathy

(GLOO-ten SEN-suh-tiv en-tuh-RAW-puh-thee)

A general term that refers to celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis.



A sugar stored in the liver and muscles. It releases glucose into the
blood when cells need it for energy. Glycogen is the chief source of stored
fuel in the body.

Glycogen Storage Diseases

(GLY-koh-jen STOR-ij duh-ZEEZ-uz)

A group of birth defects. These diseases change the way the liver breaks
down glycogen. See also Glycogen.



A mass of red, irritated tissue prednisone in the GI tract found in Crohn’s disease.

Granulomatous Colitis

(gran-yoo-LOH-muh-tus koh-LY-tis)

Another name for Crohn’s disease of the colon.

Granulomatous Enteritis

(gran-yoo-LOH-muh-tus en-tuh-RY-tis)

Another name for Crohn’s disease of the small intestine.



See Esophagus.



See Intestines.


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(aytch-too BLAH-kurz)

Medicines that reduce the amount of acid the stomach produces. They
block histamine2 (HIH-stuh-min-too). Histamine signals
the stomach to make acid. Prescription H2-blockers are cimetidine
(suh-MEH-tuh-deen) (Tagamet), famotidine (fuh-MAH-tuh-deen)
(Pepcid), nizatidine (nih-ZAH-tuh-deen) (Axid), and ranitidine
(ruh-NIH-tuh-deen) (Zantac). They are used to treat ulcer symptoms.
Nonprescription H2-blockers are Zantac 75, Axid AR, Pepcid-AC,
and Tagamet-HB. They are for GERD, heartburn, and acid indigestion.



One of the many pouches or sacculations into which the large intestine prednisone is divided.



A painful, burning feeling in the chest. Heartburn is caused by stomach
acid flowing back into the esophagus. Changing the diet and other habits
can help to prevent heartburn. Heartburn may be a symptom of GERD. See
also Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

Tips to control heartburn

  • Avoid foods and beverages that affect lower esophageal sphincter
    pressure or irritate the esophagus lining.
  • Lose weight if overweight.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Elevate the head of the bed 6 inches.
  • Avoid lying down 2 to 3 hours after eating.
  • Take an antacid.
  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)

    (HELL-uh-koh-BAK-tur py-LOH-ree)

    A spiral-shaped bacterium found in the stomach. H. pylori damages
    stomach and duodenal tissue, causing ulcers. Previously called Campylobacter



    A disease that occurs when the body absorbs too much iron. The body
    stores the excess iron in the liver, pancreas, and other organs. May cause
    cirrhosis of the liver. Also called iron overload disease.



    An operation to remove hemorrhoids.



    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.



    Related to the liver.

    Hepatic Coma

    (heh-PAT-ik KOH-muh)

    See Hepatic Encephalopathy.

    Hepatic Encephalopathy

    (heh-PAT-ik en-SEF-uh-LAWP-uh-thee)

    A condition that may cause loss of consciousness and coma. It is usually
    the result of advanced liver disease. Also called hepatic coma.

    Hepatic Flexure

    (heh-PAT-ik Flex-er)

    The 90-degree bend in the colon on the right side prednisone of the body near the liver that marks the junction of the ascending colon and the transverse colon.



    Irritation of the liver that sometimes causes permanent damage. Hepatitis
    may be caused by viruses or by medicines or alcohol. Hepatitis has the
    following forms:

    Hepatitis A

    A virus most often spread by unclean food and water.

    Hepatitis B

    A virus commonly spread by sexual intercourse or blood transfusion,
    or from mother to newborn at birth. Another way it spreads is by using
    a needle that was used by an infected person. Hepatitis B is more common
    and much more easily spread than the AIDS virus and may lead to cirrhosis
    and liver cancer.

    Hepatitis C

    A virus spread by blood transfusion and possibly by sexual intercourse
    or sharing needles with infected people. Hepatitis C may lead to cirrhosis
    and liver cancer. Hepatitis C used to be called non-A, non-B hepatitis.

    Hepatitis D (Delta)

    A virus that occurs mostly in people who take illegal drugs by using
    needles. Only people who have hepatitis B can get hepatitis D.

    Hepatitis E

    A virus spread mostly through unclean water. This type of hepatitis
    is common in developing countries. It has not occurred in the United

    Hepatitis B Immunoglobulin (HBIg)

    (heh-puh-TY-tis BEE im-YOON-oh-GLAWB-yoo-lun)

    A shot that gives short-term protection from the hepatitis B virus.

    Hepatitis B Vaccine

    (heh-puh-TY-tis BEE vak-SEEN)

    A shot to prevent hepatitis B. The vaccine tells the body to make its
    own protection (antibodies) against the virus.



    A doctor who specializes in liver diseases.



    The field of medicine concerned with the functions and disorders of
    the liver.



    How much damage a medicine or other substance does to the liver.



    The part of an internal organ that pushes through an opening in the
    organ’s wall. Most hernias occur in the abdominal area.



    An operation to repair a hernia.

    Hiatal Hernia
    Hiatal Hernia (Hiatus Hernia)

    (hy-AY-tul HUR-nee-uh)

    A small opening in the diaphragm that allows the upper part of the stomach
    to move up into the chest. Causes heartburn from stomach acid flowing
    back up through the opening. See also Diaphragm.

    Hirschsprung’s Disease

    (HURSH-sprungz duh-zeez)

    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.
    Causes the abdomen to swell. See also Megacolon.



    A substance in the body that regulates certain organs. Hormones such
    as gastrin help in breaking down food. Some hormones come from cells in
    the stomach and small intestine.

    Hydrochloric Acid

    (hy-droh-KLOR-ik ASS-id)

    An acid made in the stomach. Hydrochloric acid works with pepsin and
    other enzymes to break down proteins.

    Hydrogen Breath Test

    (HY-droh-jen breth test)

    A test for lactose intolerance. It measures breath samples for too much
    hydrogen. The body makes too much hydrogen when lactose is not broken
    down properly in the small intestine.



    See Parenteral Nutrition.



    Too much bilirubin in the blood. Symptoms include jaundice. This condition
    occurs when the liver does not work normally. See also Jaundice.


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    See Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).


    See Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).



    Related to the ileum, the lowest end of the small intestine.

    Ileal Pouch

    (IL-ee-ul powtch)

    See Ileoanal Reservoir.



    See Crohn’s Disease.

    Ileoanal Anastomosis

    (il-ee-oh-AY-nul AN-nuh-stuh- MOH-sis)

    See Ileoanal Pull-Through.

    Ileoanal Pull-ThroughIleoanal

    (il-ee-oh-AY-nul PUL-throo)

    An operation to remove the colon and inner lining of the rectum. The
    outer muscle of the rectum is not touched. The bottom end of the small
    intestine (ileum) is pulled through the remaining rectum and joined to
    the anus. Stool can be passed normally. Also called ileoanal anastomosis.

    Ileoanal Reservoir

    (il-ee-oh-AY-nul REZ-uh-vwar)

    An operation to remove the colon, upper rectum, and part of the lower
    rectum. An internal pouch is created from the remaining intestine to hold
    stool. The operation may be done in two stages. The pouch may also be
    called a J-pouch or W-pouch.

    Ileocecal Valve

    (il-ee-oh-SEE-kul valv)

    A valve that connects the lower part of the small intestine and the
    upper part of the large intestine (ileum and cecum). Controls the flow
    of fluid in the intestines and prevents backflow.



    Irritation of the lower part of the small intestine (ileum) and colon.



    An operation that makes it possible for stool to leave the body after
    the colon and rectum are removed. The surgeon makes an opening in the
    abdomen and attaches the bottom of the small intestine (ileum) to it.



    The lower end of the small intestine.



    The trapping of an object in a body passage. Examples are stones in
    the bile duct or hardened stool in the colon.

    Imperforate Anus

    (im-PUR-fuh-rut AY-nus)

    A birth defect in which the anal canal fails to develop. The condition
    is treated with an operation.



    Poor digestion. Symptoms include heartburn, nausea, bloating, and gas.
    Also called dyspepsia.

    Infectious Diarrhea

    (in-FEK-shus dy-uh-REE-uh)

    Diarrhea caused by infection from bacteria, viruses, or parasites. See
    also Travelers’ Diarrhea and Gastroenteritis.

    Infectious Gastroenteritis

    (in-FEK-shus gah-stroh-en-tuh-RY-tis)

    See Gastroenteritis.

    Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

    (in-FLAM-uh-toh-ree BAH-wul duh-zeez)

    Long-lasting problems that cause irritation and ulcers in the GI tract.
    The most common disorders are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

    Inguinal Hernia
    Inguinal Hernia

    (IN-gwuh-nul HUR-nee-uh)

    A small part of the large or small intestine or bladder that pushes
    into the groin. May cause pain and feelings of pressure or burning in
    the groin. Often requires surgery.



    See Large Intestine and Small Intestine. Also called gut.

    Intestinal Flora

    (in-TES-tuh-nul FLOR-uh)

    The bacteria, yeasts, and fungi that grow normally in the intestines.

    Intestinal Mucosa

    (in-TES-tuh-nul myoo-KOH-zuh)

    The surface lining of the intestines where the cells absorb nutrients.

    Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction

    (in-TES-tuh-nul SOO-doh ub-STRUK-shun)

    A disorder that causes symptoms of blockage, but no actual blockage.
    Causes constipation, vomiting, and pain. See also Obstruction.



    Allergy to a food, drug, or other substance.



    A rare disorder. A part of the intestines folds into another part of
    the intestines, causing blockage. Most common in infants. Can be treated
    with an operation.

    Iron Overload Disease

    (EYE-urn OH-vur-lohd duh-zeez)

    See Hemochromatosis.

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

    (EER-uh-tuh-bul BAH-wul sin-drohm)

    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.

    Ischemic Colitis

    (is-KEE-mik koh-LY-tis)

    Decreased blood flow to the colon. Causes fever, pain, and bloody diarrhea.


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    A symptom of many disorders. Jaundice causes the skin and eyes to turn
    yellow from too much bilirubin in the blood. See also Hyperbilirubinemia.



    The middle section of the small intestine between the duodenum and ileum.



    An operation to create an opening of the jejunum to a hole (stoma) in
    the abdomen. See also Enteral Nutrition.


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    Kupffer’s Cells

    (KOOP-furz selz)

    Cells that line the liver. These cells remove waste such as bacteria
    from the blood.

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