National Digestive Diseases
Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)

A service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

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The Digestive Diseases Dictionary E - K

E

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E. coli (EE) (KOH-ly):
a family of bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract. Some forms may cause diarrhea. E. coli O157:H7 is the strain that causes the most severe illness. Common sources of E. coli include raw or undercooked ground beef, unpasteurized fruit juices and milk, and fresh produce. Also called Escherichia coli. See foodborne illness and gastroenteritis.
electrocoagulation (ee-LEK-troh-koh-AG-yoo-LAY-shuhn):
a procedure that uses an electrical current passed through an instrument to stop bleeding.
electrolytes (ee-LEK-troh-lyts):
minerals in body fluids, including sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride. When dehydrated, the body lacks enough fluid and electrolytes.
ELISA (uh-LEE-suh):
a test used to measure antibodies. Also called enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
endoscope (EN-doh-skohp):
a small, flexible tube with a light used to see the upper GI tract or lower GI tract. The colonoscope and sigmoidoscope are types of endoscopes.
endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (en-doh-SKOP-ik) (RET-roh-grayd) (koh-LAN-jee-oh-PAN-kree-uh-TOG-ruh-fee):
a procedure that combines upper GI endoscopy and x rays to treat problems of the bile ducts and pancreatic duct. Also called ERCP.
endoscopic sphincterotomy (en-doh-SKOP-ik) (SFINGK-tur-OT-uh-mee):
surgery to cut the muscle between the common bile duct and the pancreatic duct. The surgeon uses a catheter and wire to remove gallstones or other blockages. Also called endoscopic papillotomy.
endoscopy (en-DOSS-kuh-pee):
a procedure that uses an endoscope to see inside the body, such as inside the upper GI tract or lower GI tract.
enema (EN-uh-muh):
a procedure that involves flushing water or laxative into the anus using a special squirt bottle. See bowel prep or laxatives.
enteral nutrition (EN-tur-uhl) (noo-TRISH-uhn):
a way to provide food through a tube placed in the nose, stomach, or small intestine. A tube in the nose is called a nasogastric or nasoenteral tube. A tube may be placed into the stomach through a hole called a gastrostomy or percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG). A tube may be placed into the small intestine through a hole called a jejunostomy or percutaneous endoscopic jejunostomy (PEJ). Also called tube feeding.
enteritis (EN-tur-EYE-tiss):
irritation of the small intestine.
enterocele (EN-tur-o-SEEL):
a hernia in the intestines.
enterokinase deficiency (EN-tur-oh-KY-nayss) (duh-FISH-en-see):
a rare disorder of protein malabsorption.
enterostomal therapy nurse (EN-tur-oh-STOH-muhl) (THAIR-uh-pee) (nurss):
a specially trained nurse who teaches a person with a stoma—and family members or caregivers—to clean, care for, and change the ostomy pouch and protect the skin around the stoma. Also called ET nurse.
enzyme (EN-zym):
a substance that speeds up chemical reactions in the body.
eosinophilic esophagitis (EE-oh-sin-oh-FIL-ik) (uh-SOF-uh-JY-tiss):
a disease in which the lining of the esophagus becomes infiltrated with a type of white blood cell called an eosinophil.
eosinophilic gastroenteritis (EE-oh-sin-oh-FIL-ik) (GASS-troh-en-tur-EYE-tiss):
an irritation of the stomach, small intestine, or large intestine caused by a type of white blood cell called an eosinophil.
epithelium (EP-ih-THEE-lee-uhm):
layers of cells that line hollow organs and glands, such as the inner and outer tissue covering gastrointestinal tract organs. Cells in the epithelium absorb nutrients.
erythema nodosum (AIR-ih-THEE-muh) (NOH-doh-suhm):
swelling or red sores on the lower legs that can occur during flare-ups of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
esophageal atresia (uh-SOF-uh-JEE-uhl) (uh-TREE-zee-uh):
a birth defect in which the esophagus lacks the opening to allow food to pass into the stomach.
Drawing of an esophagus and stomach beside a windpipe.
Normal esophageal development
Drawing of the esophagus with a portion of the esophagus emerging from the windpipe.
One form of esophageal atresia
esophageal manometry (uh-SOF-uh-JEE-uhl) (muh-NOM-uh-tree):
a test to measure muscle contraction in the esophagus. This test is often done when surgery is being considered to treat GERD.
esophageal perforation (uh-SOF-uh-JEE-uhl) (PUR-foh-RAY-shuhn):
a hole in the esophagus, which may be caused by a disease or medical procedure.
esophageal pH monitoring (uh-SOF-uh-JEE-uhl) (PEE-AYCH) (MON-ih-tur-ing):
a test to measure the amount of acid in the esophagus.
esophageal spasms (uh-SOF-uh-JEE-uhl) (SPA-zumz):
muscle contractions in the esophagus that cause pain in the chest or trouble swallowing.
esophageal stricture (uh-SOF-uh-JEE-uhl) (STRIK-choor):
a narrowing of the esophagus often caused by acid flowing back from the stomach or by cancer. This condition may require surgery.
esophageal ulcer (uh-SOF-uh-JEE-uhl) (UHL-sur):
a sore in the esophagus caused by chronic inflammation, infection, medicines, or cancer.
esophageal varices (uh-SOF-uh-JEE-uhl) (VAIR-ih-seez):
enlarged blood vessels in the esophagus that can be caused by portal hypertension. If the vessels burst, serious bleeding can occur.
esophagitis (uh-SOF-uh-JY-tiss):
irritation of the esophagus from refluxed stomach acid that damages the lining and causes bleeding or ulcers.
esophagus (uh-SOF-uh-guhss):
the muscular tube that carries food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. Also called the gullet.
excrete (eks-KREET):
when the body gets rid of waste.
extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (EKS-truh-kor-POH-ree-uhl) (shok) (wayv) (LITH-oh-TRIP-see):
a method of breaking up bile stones, gallstones, and pancreatic and kidney stones using shock waves a machine generates outside the body.
extrahepatic biliary tree (EKS-truh-heh-PAT-ik) (BIL-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 an infant or a child grows at a slower-than-normal rate, often due to malabsorption of nutrients. Infants and children with liver diseases and other disorders may have this condition.
familial adenomatous polyposis (fa-MIL-ee-uhl) (AD-uh-NOH-muh-tuhss) (POL-ih-POH-siss):
an inherited disease characterized by the presence of 100 or more polyps in the colon. The polyps may lead to colorectal cancer if not treated. Gardner's syndrome is a type of familial adenomatous polyposis.
fat:
  1. one of the three main nutrients in food. Foods that provide fat are butter, margarine, salad dressing, oil, nuts, meat, poultry, fish, and some dairy products.
  2. a greasy liquid or solid material found in the human body, animals, and some plants. The body stores extra calories as fat, which provides a reserve supply of energy.
fecal fat test (FEE-kuhl) (fat) (test):
a test to measure the body's ability to break down and absorb fat by examining stool for fat.
fecal impaction (FEE-kuhl) (im-PAK-shuhn):
hard stool that packs in the intestine and rectum so tightly that the normal pushing action of the colon is not enough to expel the stool. This condition occurs most often in children and older adults.
fecal incontinence (FEE-kuhl) (in-KON-tih-nenss):
the accidental passing of solid or liquid stool or mucus from the rectum. Includes the inability to hold a bowel movement until reaching a toilet as well as passing stool into one's underwear without being aware of it happening. Commonly called a bowel control problem.
fecal occult blood test (FEE-kuhl) (uh-KUHLT) (bluhd) (test):
a test to see blood in the stool that is not visible to the naked eye. A sample of stool is placed on a chemical strip that changes color if blood is present. Hidden blood in the stool may be a sign of colorectal cancer.
Drawing of hands holding a card containing a stool sample. A drop of liquid is being applied to the stool sample to test for fecal occult blood.
Fecal occult blood test
fermentation (FUR-men-TAY-shuhn):
the process of bacteria breaking down undigested food and releasing alcohols, acids, and gases.
fiber (FY-bur):
the undigested parts of food. Fiber helps make stool soft so that it moves smoothly through the colon. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and is found in beans, fruit, and oat products. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and is found in whole-grain products and vegetables. Both kinds of fiber help prevent constipation.
fistula (FISS-tyoo-luh):
an abnormal passage, or tunnel, between two organs, called an internal fistula, or between an organ and the outside of the body, called an external fistula. Fistulas occur most often in the areas around the rectum and anus.
flatulence (FLAT-yoo-lenss):
extra gas in the stomach or intestine that can cause bloating and flatus.
flatus (FLAY-tuhss):
gas passed through the anus.
flexible sigmoidoscopy (FLEK-suh-buhl) (SIG-moy-DOSS-kuh-pee):
a procedure that uses a flexible tube called a sigmoidoscope to look inside the rectum and lower colon. Also called sigmoidoscopy.
foodborne illness (FOOD-born) (IL-ness):
infection or irritation of the gastrointestinal tract caused by food or beverages that contain harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses, or chemicals. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and chills. See gastroenteritis.
fulminant hepatic failure (FUL-mih-nuhnt) (heh-PAT-ik) (FAYL-yoor):
liver failure that occurs suddenly in a previously healthy person. The most common causes are acute hepatitis, acetaminophen overdose, and liver damage from prescription medicines.
functional gastrointestinal disorders (FUHNK-shuhn-uhl) (GASS-troh-in-TESS-tin-uhl) (diss-OR-durz):
problems caused by changes in how the gastrointestinal tract works. People with a functional disorder have frequent symptoms; however, the gastrointestinal tract does not become damaged. Emotional stress can trigger symptoms of functional disorders. Functional disorders include irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. Also called functional GI disorders or motility disorders.
fungus (FUHNG-guhss):
a mold or yeast such as Candida that may cause infection.

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galactose (guh-LAK-tohss):
a type of sugar in milk products and sugar beets. The small intestine produces an enzyme, lactase, that breaks down lactose into two simpler forms of sugar: glucose and galactose.
galactosemia (guh-LAK-toh-SEE-mee-uh):
a buildup of galactose in the blood caused by the lack of one of the enzymes needed to break down galactose.
gallbladder (GAWL-blad-ur):
the organ that stores the bile. Eating signals the gallbladder to empty the bile through the bile ducts into the small intestine to mix with ingested food.
gallstones (GAWL-stohnz):
small, hard particles that develop in the gallbladder. Gallstones can move out of the gallbladder and block the bile ducts.
Drawing of the biliary tract with stones in the gallbladder and common bile duct.
Gallstones
gas:
air in the gastrointestinal tract. Gas leaves the body when people belch through the mouth or pass gas through the anus.
gastrectomy (gass-TREK-tuh-mee):
surgery to remove all or part of the stomach.
gastric (GASS-trik):
related to the stomach.
gastric emptying scintigraphy (GASS-trik) (EMP-tee-ing)(sin-TIG-ruh-fee):
a test that involves eating a bland meal, such as eggs or an egg substitute, that contains a small amount of radioactive material. An external camera scans the abdomen to show where the radioactive material is located. A radiologist is then able to measure the rate of gastric emptying at 1, 2, 3, and 4 hours after the meal. Doctors can use this test to diagnose gastroparesis.
gastric hypersecretion (GASS-trik) (HY-pur-see-KREE-shuhn):
the release of too much stomach acid and the hallmark symptom of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
gastric resection (GASS-trik) (ree-SEK-shuhn):
an operation to remove part or all of the stomach.
gastric ulcer (GASS-trik) (UHL-sur):
an open sore in the lining of the stomach.
gastrin (GASS-trin):
a hormone released after eating that causes the stomach to produce more acid.
gastritis (gass-TRY-tiss):
a condition in which the stomach lining—known as the mucosa—is inflamed.
gastrocolic reflex (GASS-troh-KOL-ik) (REE-fleks):
an increase of muscle movement in the gastrointestinal tract when food enters an empty stomach. The condition may cause the urge to have a bowel movement right after eating.
gastroenteritis (GASS-troh-en-tur-EYE-tiss):
inflammation of the lining of the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, which may be caused by bacteria, viruses, 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 foodborne illness, infectious diarrhea, and traveler's diarrhea.
gastroenterologist (GASS-troh-EN-tur-OL-uh-jist):
a doctor who specializes in digestive diseases and disorders.
gastroesophageal reflux (GASS-troh-uh-SOF-uh-JEE-uhl) (REE-fluhks):
a condition in which stomach contents flow back up into the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux is also called acid reflux or acid regurgitation because the stomach's digestive juices are called acids. With gastroesophageal reflux, a person can taste food or acidic fluid in the back of the mouth. Refluxed stomach acid that touches the lining of the esophagus can cause heartburn. Also called GER. See GERD.
gastrointestinal duplications (GASS-troh-in-TESS-tin-uhl) (DOO-plih-KAY-shuhnz):
rare, smooth cysts—abnormal, fluid-filled sacs—attached to the border of the gastrointestinal tract, which commonly occur in the ileum.
gastrointestinal tract (GASS-troh-in-TESS-tin-uhl) (trakt):
a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. The hollow organs that make up the gastrointestinal tract are the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine—which includes the colon and rectum—and anus. Also called the GI tract, alimentary canal, or digestive tract.
gastroparesis (GASS-troh-puh-REE-siss):
a disorder that slows or stops the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. Gastroparesis can occur when illness or injury damages the vagus nerve and the stomach muscles stop working normally. Also called delayed gastric emptying.
gastrostomy (gass-TROSS-tuh-mee):
an artificial opening from the stomach to the abdomen where a feeding tube is inserted. See enteral nutrition.
gene (jeen):
a trait passed from parent to child.
genetic disorder (juh-NET-ik) (dis-OR-dur):
a disorder caused by an abnormality in a person's genes.
GERD (gurd):
a more serious, chronic form of gastroesophageal reflux. Gastroesophageal reflux that occurs more than twice a week for a few weeks could be GERD, which over time can lead to more serious health problems. Also called gastroesophageal reflux disease.
giardiasis (JEE-ar-DY-uh-siss):
an infection of Giardia intestinalis, a parasite spread through water contaminated with the stools of infected people or animals. The condition can cause diarrhea. See gastroenteritis.
Gilbert syndrome (zheel-BAIR) (SIN-drohm):
a buildup of bilirubin in the blood caused by the lack of a liver enzyme needed to break it down.
globus sensation (GLOH-buhss) (sen-SAY-shuhn):
a constant feeling of a lump in the throat that is usually related to stress.
glucose (GLOO-kohss):
one of the simplest forms of sugar. Glucose is the sugar the body uses for energy. Also called dextrose.
gluten (GLOO-tuhn):
a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley and in products such as vitamin and nutrient supplements, lip balms, and certain medicines. In people with celiac disease, gluten damages the lining of the small intestine.
gluten intolerance (GLOO-tuhn) (in-TOL-ur-uhnss):
a condition in which the body has difficulty digesting gluten; however, the immune system does not react to the gluten. Gluten intolerance can cause symptoms similar to celiac disease, such as digestive issues, fatigue, joint pain, headaches, and skin rash. The condition does not typically lead to the more serious complications of celiac disease.
glycogen (GLY-koh-jen):
the stored form of sugar in the liver and muscles that 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-uhj) (dih-ZEEZ-iz):
a group of genetic disorders in which glycogen stored in the liver cannot be broken down into glucose to supply energy to the body.
granuloma (GRAN-yoo-LOH-muh):
lumps formed by cells of the immune system in various organs of the body.

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H2 blockers (AYCH-TOO) (BLOK-urz):
medicines that decrease the amount of acid the stomach produces. Histamine2 (H2) signals the stomach to make acid. Examples of H2 blockers include cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), nizatidine (Axid), and ranitidine (Zantac). H2 blockers are used to treat ulcer symptoms and GERD.
heartburn (HART-burn):
a painful, burning feeling in the midchest, behind the breastbone, and in the middle of the abdomen. Refluxed stomach acid that touches the lining of the esophagus can cause heartburn. Also called acid indigestion. See gastroesophageal reflux.
hemochromatosis (HEE-moh-KROH-muh-TOH-siss):
a disease caused by too much iron in the body. Too much iron in the body leads to iron overload—a buildup of extra iron that, without treatment, can damage organs such as the liver, heart, and pancreas; the endocrine glands; and the joints. Also called iron overload disease.
hemoglobin (HEE-moh-GLOH-bin):
the main oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells.
hemorrhoidectomy (HEM-oh-roy-DEK-tuh-mee):
surgery to remove hemorrhoids.
hemorrhoids (HEM-uh-roydz):
swollen and inflamed veins around the anus or in the lower rectum. Constipation and straining during bowel movements cause the veins to swell. Hemorrhoids cause itching, pain, and sometimes bleeding.
Drawing of the rectum and anus with an internal hemorrhoid and an external hemorrhoid labeled.
Hemorrhoids
hepatic (heh-PAT-ik):
related to the liver.
hepatic encephalopathy (heh-PAT-ik) (en-SEF-uh-LAW-puh-thee):
a buildup of toxins in the brain due to liver failure. The condition may cause memory loss, confusion, loss of consciousness, and coma. Also called hepatic coma.
hepatitis (HEP-uh-TY-tiss):
a virus, or infection, that causes liver disease and inflammation of the liver. Inflammation can cause organs to become damaged.
hepatitis A (HEP-uh-TY-tiss) (ay):
a virus, or infection, that causes liver disease and inflammation of the liver. The hepatitis A virus spreads through contact with an infected person's stool by ingesting unclean food and water or having close personal contact.
hepatitis B (HEP-uh-TY-tiss) (bee):
a virus, or infection, that causes liver disease and inflammation of the liver. The hepatitis B virus spreads through contact with an infected person's blood, semen, or other body fluid. Without treatment, chronic hepatitis B can cause liver cancer and liver failure.
hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HEP-uh-TY-tiss) (bee) (IM-yoo-noh-GLOB-yoo-lin):
a vaccination that gives short-term protection against hepatitis B.
hepatitis B vaccine (HEP-uh-TY-tiss) (bee) (vak-SEEN):
a vaccination to prevent hepatitis B. The vaccine leads the body to make its own antibodies against the hepatitis B virus.
hepatitis C (HEP-uh-TY-tiss) (see):
a virus, or infection, that causes liver disease and inflammation of the liver. The hepatitis C virus spreads through contact with an infected person's blood. Without treatment, chronic hepatitis C can cause liver cancer and liver failure.
hepatitis D (HEP-uh-TY-tiss) (dee):
a virus, or infection, that causes liver disease and inflammation of the liver. The hepatitis D virus spreads through contact with infected blood. Hepatitis D only occurs at the same time as infection with hepatitis B or in people who are already infected with hepatitis B.
hepatitis E (HEP-uh-TY-tiss) (ee):
a virus, or infection, that causes liver disease and inflammation of the liver. The hepatitis E virus spreads through food or water contaminated by stool from an infected person. This disease is uncommon in the United States.
hepatologist (HEP-uh-TOL-uh-jist):
a doctor who specializes in liver diseases.
hepatorenal syndrome (HEP-uh-toh-REE-nuhl) (SIN-drohm):
unexplained kidney failure seen in people with severe liver or biliary tract disease.
hepatotoxicity (HEP-uh-toh-tok-SISS-ih-tee):
damage to the liver caused by a medicine or other substance.
hernia (HUR-nee-uh):
a condition in which part of an internal organ pushes through a weak area in the organ's wall. Most hernias occur in the abdominal area.
herniorrhaphy (HUR-nee-OR-uh-fee):
surgery to repair a hernia.
hiatal hernia (hy-AY-tuhl) (HUR-nee-uh):
an opening in the diaphragm that lets the upper part of the stomach to move up into the chest. Hiatal hernias may cause GERD due to stomach acid flowing back up through the opening; however, most produce no symptoms.
Drawing of a hiatal hernia with the esophagus, diaphragm, stomach, and hiatal hernia labeled.
Hiatal hernia
Hirschsprung disease (HURSH-spruhng) (dih-ZEEZ):
a birth defect in which some nerve cells are absent in the large intestine, causing the intestine not to move stool and become blocked. The blockage can cause severe constipation or intestinal obstruction. People are born with Hirschsprung disease and are usually diagnosed as infants. Hirschsprung disease is a type of megacolon.
hormone (HOR-mohn):
a chemical that one part of the body produces and releases into the blood to trigger or regulate particular functions of the body. The digestive system makes several different hormones.
H. pylori (aych) (py-LOR-eye):
a spiral-shaped bacterium found in the stomach. H. pylori damages the lining of the stomach and the duodenum, causing ulcers. Also called Helicobacter pylori. Previously called Campylobacter pylori.
hydrochloric acid (HY-droh-KLOR-ik) (ASS-id):
an acid made in the stomach that works with pepsin and other enzymes to digest protein.
hydrogen breath test (HY-droh-jen) (breth) (test):
a test that measures the amount of hydrogen in a patient's breath. Normally, little hydrogen is detectable in the breath. With lactose intolerance, undigested lactose produces high levels of hydrogen in the breath.
hyperbilirubinemia (HY-pur-BIL-ih-roo-bih-NEE-mee-uh):
too much bilirubin in the blood, which occurs when the liver is damaged or blood breaks down too quickly. Symptoms include jaundice.
hyperchlorhydria (HY-pur-klor-HY-dree-uh):
having too much hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
hyperplastic polyps (HY-pur-PLASS-tik) (POL-ips):
the most common form of polyps, usually found in the sigmoid colon and rectum. These polyps are not thought to progress to cancer.

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ileoanal pouch anastomosis (IL-ee-oh-AY-nuhl) (pouch) (uh-NASS-toh-MOH-siss):
surgery to remove the colon and inner lining of the rectum while leaving the outer muscle of the rectum intact. The surgeon pulls the ileum through the remaining rectum and joins it to the anus, creating a pouch to store stool that passes out of the body as bowel movements. Also called ileoanal pull-through intestine.
Drawing of an ileoanal pouch anastomosis with the ileum, ileal reservoir, anus, and anal sphincter labeled.
Ileoanal pouch anastomosis
ileoanal reservoir (IL-ee-oh-AY-nuhl) (REZ-ur-vwar):
a colonlike pouch created from the last several inches of the ileum after the large intestine is removed. Stool collects in the ileoanal reservoir and exits the body through the anus during a bowel movement. Also called a J-pouch or pelvic pouch.
Drawing of an ileoanal reservoir with the anus, ileum, removed colon, and ileoanal reservoir labeled.
Ileoanal reservoir
ileocecal valve (IL-ee-oh-SEE-kuhl) (valv):
one or more flaps of tissue between the ileum and the cecum.
ileocolitis (IL-ee-oh-koh-LY-tiss):
irritation of the ileum and the beginning part of the colon.
ileostomy (IL-ee-OSS-tuh-mee):
an operation that attaches the ileum to an opening in the abdomen, called a stoma. The stoma is about the size of a quarter and is usually located in the lower right part of the abdomen near the beltline. A person attaches an ostomy pouch to the stoma and wears the pouch outside the body to collect stool. A person needs to empty an ostomy pouch several times a day. A surgeon performs this procedure when it is necessary to remove or bypass the entire colon.
ileum (IL-ee-uhm):
the end part of the small intestine.
immune system (im-YOON) (SISS-tuhm):
the body's system for protecting itself from infection by identifying and destroying bacteria, viruses, and other potentially harmful foreign substances.
impaction (im-PAK-shuhn):
when something is trapped in a body passage. Examples are stones in a bile duct, hardened stool in the colon, or food in the esophagus. See fecal impaction.
imperforate anus (im-PUR-foh-rayt) (AY-nuhss):
a condition that occurs when the anus is blocked or missing, which lets little or no stool pass from the rectum. A doctor finds imperforate anus when first examining a newborn after birth. Correcting the condition almost always requires surgery.
infectious diarrhea (in-FEK-shuhss) (DY-uh-REE-uh):
diarrhea caused by infection from bacteria, viruses, or parasites. See traveler's diarrhea and gastroenteritis.
inflammation (IN-fluh-MAY-shuhn):
the body's normal protective response to injury, irritation, or infection of tissues. Signs of inflammation include swelling, redness, warmth, and pain.
inflammatory bowel disease (in-FLAM-uh-toh-ree) (boul) (dih-ZEEZ):
the general name for diseases that cause inflammation and irritation in the intestines. The most common types of inflammatory bowel disease are ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Also called IBD.
inguinal hernia (ING-gwih-nuhl) (HUR-nee-uh):
a condition in which intra-abdominal fat or part of the small intestine bulges through a weak area in the lower abdominal muscles. Inguinal hernia occurs in the groin, the area between the lower abdomen and upper thigh.
Drawing of the digestive tract within the outline of a male body with an inset showing an inguinal hernia.
Inguinal hernia
intestinal flora (in-TESS-tih-nuhl) (FLOH-ruh):
the bacteria, yeasts, and fungi that normally grow in the intestines and colon.
intestinal mucosa (in-TESS-tih-nuhl) (myoo-KOH-suh):
the inner surface lining of the intestines where the cells absorb nutrients.
intestinal obstruction (in-TESS-tih-nuhl) (ob-STRUHK-shuhn):
partial or complete blockage of movement of food or stool through the intestines. A complete intestinal obstruction is life threatening and requires immediate medical attention and often surgery. Also called bowel obstruction.
intestinal pseudo-obstruction (in-TESS-tih-nuhl) (SOO-doh-ob-STRUHK-shuhn):
a rare condition with symptoms that resemble those caused by an intestinal obstruction. However, when a health care provider examines the intestines, no blockage exists. Instead, the symptoms are due to nerve or muscle problems that affect the movement of food, fluid, and air through the intestines.
intestines (in-TESS-tinz):
also called the bowel or gut. See large intestine and small intestine.
intussusception (IN-tuss-suhss-SEP-shuhn):
a condition in which one section of the large intestine or small intestine folds into itself, much like a collapsible telescope, and causes blockage. The condition is most common in infants and can be treated with surgery.
irrigation (IHR-ih-GAY-shuhn):
cleansing of a cavity or tube with liquid.. An example is an enema given through a stoma to cleanse the large intestine.
irritable bowel syndrome (IHR-ih-tuh-buhl) (boul) (SIN-drohm):
a functional gastrointestinal disorder, meaning it is a problem caused by changes in how the gastrointestinal tract works. People with a functional gastrointestinal disorder have frequent symptoms; however, the gastrointestinal tract does not become damaged. Irritable bowel syndrome is not a disease; it is a group of symptoms that occur together. The most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are abdominal pain or discomfort, often reported as cramping, along with diarrhea, constipation, or both. The condition was previously called spastic colon or mucous colitis. Also called IBS.
ischemic colitis (iss-KEE-mik) (koh-LY-tiss):
irritation of the colon caused by decreased blood flow. The condition may cause bloody diarrhea.

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jaundice (JAWN-diss):
a sign of many disorders. The skin and whites of the eyes turn yellow from too much bilirubin in the blood. See hyperbilirubinemia.
jejunostomy (JEH-joo-NOSS-tuh-mee):
surgery to create an opening through the abdominal wall directly into a part of the small intestine called the jejunum. See enteral nutrition.
jejunum (juh-JOO-nuhm):
the middle section of the small intestine between the duodenum and ileum.

K

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karaya (kuh-RY-uh):
a plant-derived adhesive used in ostomy appliances, such as an ostomy
pouch.
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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Page last updated May 14, 2014


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