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Acid Reflux - Heartburn - GERD - Glossary
Medical Terms Explained

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Ablation: Removal or destruction of abnormal tissue.

Abdomen: The belly , that part of the body that contains all of the structures between the chest and the pelvis . The abdomen is separated anatomically from the chest by the diaphragm, the powerful muscle spanning the body cavity below the lungs .

Abdominal: Relating to the abdomen.

Abnormal: Not normal. Deviating from the usual structure, position, condition, or behavior. In referring to a growth, abnormal may mean that it is cancerous or premalignant (likely to become cancer).

Acid Indigestion: Excessive secretion of hydrochloric acid by the stomach cells. Sometimes used interchangeably with heartburn.

Acid Reflux: A common condition and an abnormal one in which acid in the stomach rises up into the esophagus. This occurs because the valve separating the contents of the stomach from the esophagus does not function properly.

Acid Regurgitation: The feeling of a sour or bitter-tasting liquid flowing up and into the mouth.

Acid Suppressors: Medicines that slow down the production of acid in the stomach. Proton (or acid) pump inhibitors and H2-receptor antagonists are the two main types of acid suppressors.

Adenocarcinoma: A cancer that develops in the lining or inner surface of an organ. More than 95 percent of prostate cancers are adenocarcinoma.

Adenoids: Masses of lymphoid tissue in the upper part of throat behind the nose.

Aerophagia: Excessive swallowing of air.

Aggressive: In oncology, quickly growing, tending to spread rapidly. As, for example, an aggressive tumor.

Alimentary Canal: Another term for the gastrointestinal tract or the digestive tract.

Aluminum: A naturally occurring element that makes up about 8% of the surface of the earth and is always found combined with other elements such as oxygen, silicon, and fluorine. Aluminum is is the most common metallic element in the earth's crust but has no clear biologic role. Everyone is exposed to low levels of aluminum from food, air, and water. Exposure to high levels of aluminum may result in respiratory problems (aluminosis). Inhalation of bauxite (aluminum ore) fumes may cause pulmonary fibrosis . Aluminum in the bloodstream may lead to neurological symptoms and may be fatal.

Anemia: The condition of having less than the normal number of red blood cells or less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood. The oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood is, therefore, decreased.

Angina: Chest pain due to an inadequate supply of oxygen to the heart muscle. The chest pain of angina is typically severe and crushing. There is a feeling just behind the breastbone (the sternum) of pressure and suffocation.

Antacid: Any agent that reduces or neutralizes acidity, as of the gastric juice or any other secretion. Calcium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide are antacids

Antihistamines: A drug used to counteract the physiological effects of histamine production in allergic reactions and colds. Antihistamine side effects that very occasionally occur include urine retention in males and fast heart rate.

Antioxidants: A group of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes called antioxidants that help protect our body from the formation of free radicals. Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that can cause damage to our cells, impairing our immune system and leading to infections and various degenerative diseases. Antioxidants work together with the body's natural free radical scavangers to eat up these free radical particles.

Aspiration: Removal of a sample of fluid and cells through a needle. Aspiration also refers to the accidental sucking in of food particles or fluids into the lungs.

Asthma : A common disorder in which chronic inflammation of the bronchial tubes (bronchi) makes them swell, narrowing the airways. Asthma involves only the bronchial tubes and does not affect the air sacs ( alveoli ) or the lung tissue (the parenchyma of the lung) itself.

Asthmatic: Pertaining to asthma as, for example, asthmatic bronchitis. Also refers to a person with asthma.


Barium: A chalky solution of barium used to coat the inside of organs so that they will show up on an x-ray.

Barium Swallow: An upper gastrointestinal series (barium swallow) is an X-ray test used to define the anatomy of the upper digestive tract. Women who are or may be pregnant should notify the doctor requesting the procedure and the radiology staff. The test involves filling the esophagus, stomach, and small intestines with a white liquid material (barium).

Barrett's Esophagus: a condition marked by an abnormal lining of the esophagus that develops in response to acid injury. Studies indicate that this condition may be linked to an increased risk of cancer of the esophagus.

Bicarbonate: In medicine, bicarbonate usually refers to bicarbonate of soda (sodium bicarbonate, baking soda) a white powder that is common ingredient in antacids.

Bile: Bile is a yellow-green fluid that helps break down fats in the small intestine. It is stored in the gallbladder and passes through the common bile duct into the duodenum where it helps digest fat. The principal components of bile are cholesterol, bile salts, and the pigment bilirubin.

Biopsy: The removal of a sample of tissue for purposes of diagnosis. (Many definitions of "biopsy" stipulate that the sample of tissue is removed for examination under a microscope. This may or may not be the case. The diagnosis may be achieved by other means such as by analysis of chromosomes or genes.)

Blood: The familiar red fluid in the body that contains white and red blood cells, platelets, proteins, and other elements. The blood is transported throughout the body by the circulatory system. Blood functions in two directions: arterial and venous. Arterial blood is the means by which oxygen and nutrients are transported to tissues while venous blood is the means by which carbon dioxide and metabolic by-products are transported to the lungs and kidneys, respectively, for removal from the body.

Breathing: The process of respiration, during which air is inhaled into the lungs through the mouth or nose due to muscle contraction, and then exhaled due to muscle relaxation.

Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, in some cases, to metastasize (spread).

Candida/Candidiasis: Candida Albicans is a type of yeast-like fungus that inhabits the intestine, genital tract, mouth, and throat. Normally, this fungus lives in a healthy balance with the other bacteria and yeasts in the body; however, certain conditions can cause this fungus to multiply, weakening the immune system and causing an infection known as candidiasis. Because this fungus travels through the bloodstream to many parts of the body, various symptoms may develop.

Capsule: Capsule has many meanings in medicine including the following:
1. In medicine, a membranous structure that envelops an organ, a joint, tumor, or any other part of the body. It is usually made up of dense collagen-containing connective tissue.
2. In pharmacy, a solid dosage form in which the drug is enclosed in a hard or soft soluble container, usually of a form of gelatin.
3. In microbiology, a coat around a microbe, such as a bacterium or fungus.

Catheter: A thin, flexible tube . For example, a catheter placed in a vein provides a pathway for giving drugs, nutrients, fluids, or blood products. Samples of blood can also be withdrawn through the catheter.

Chest Pain: There are many causes of chest pain. One is angina which results from inadequate oxygen supply to the heart muscle. Angina can be caused by coronary artery disease or spasm of the coronary arteries. Chest pain can also be due to a heart attack (coronary occlusion) and other important diseases such as pulmonary embolism. Anyone with chest pain should seek immediate medical attention.

Chronic: This important term in medicine comes from the Greek chronos, time and means lasting a long time.

Chyme: A nearly liquid mass of partly digested food and secretions in the stomach and intestine.

Colon: The part of the large intestine that runs from the cecum to the rectum as a long hollow tube that serves to remove water from digested food and let the remaining material, solid waste called stool , move through it to the rectum and leave the body through the anus.

Complication: In medicine, an additional problem that arises following a procedure, treatment or illness and is secondary to it.

Connective Tissue: A material made up of fibers forming a framework and support structure for body tissues and organs. Connective tissue surrounds many organs. Cartilage and bone are specialized forms of connective tissue. All connective tissue is derived from mesoderm, the middle germ cell layer in the embryo.

Constipation: Infrequent (and frequently incomplete) bowel movements. The opposite of diarrhea, constipation is commonly caused by irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis, and medications (constipation can paradoxically be caused by overuse of laxatives). Colon cancer can narrow the colon and cause constipation. High-fiber diets can frequently relieve constipation.

Contraction: The tightening and shortening of a muscle.

Contrast: Short for "contrast media." Contrast media are X-ray dyes used to provide contrast, for example, between blood vessels and other tissue.

Cough: A rapid expulsion of air from the lungs typically in order to clear the lung airways of fluids, mucus, or material. Also called tussis.


Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease ; the identification of an illness. 2 A conclusion or decision reached by diagnosis. The diagnosis is rabies . 3 The identification of any problem. The diagnosis was a plugged IV.

Diarrhea: A familiar phenomenon with unusually frequent or unusually liquid bowel movements, excessive watery evacuations of fecal material. The opposite of constipation. There are myriad infectious and noninfectious causes of diarrhea.

Dilatation: The process of enlargement or expansion.

Dilate: To stretch or enlarge. It comes from the Latin verb "dilatare" meaning "to enlarge or expand.".

Distention: The state of being distended, enlarged, swollen from internal pressure.

DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid. One of two types of molecules that encode genetic information. (The other is RNA . In humans DNA is the genetic material; RNA is transcribed from it. In some other organisms, RNA is the genetic material and, in reverse fashion, the DNA is transcribed from it.)

Duodenal: Pertaining to the duodenum, part of the small intestine (as in duodenal ulcer).

Duodenum: The first part of the small intestine. The duodenum extends from the pylorus at the bottom of the stomach to the jejunum, the second part of the small intestine. The duodenum is a common site for the formation of peptic ulcers.

Dysphagia: Difficulty swallowing.

EGD: Esophagogastroduodenoscopy or upper endoscopy. A procedure that enables a gastroenterologist to examine the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum using a thin flexible tube (a "scope") that can be looked through or seen on a TV monitor.

Endoscope: A lighted optical instrument used to get a deep look inside the body and examine organs such as the throat or esophagus. An endoscope can be rigid or flexible.

Endoscopy: Endoscopy is a broad term used to described examining the inside of the body using an lighted, flexible instrument called an endoscope. In general, an endoscope is introduced into the body through a natural opening like the mouth or anus. Although endoscopy can include examination of other organs, the most common endoscopic procedures evaluate the esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach, and portions of the intestine.

ENT: Abbreviation for ears, nose and throat. A field of medicine also called otolaryngology.

Enzyme: A protein (or protein-based molecule) that speeds up a chemical reaction in a living organism. An enzyme acts as catalyst for specific chemical reactions , converting a specific set of reactants (called substrates) into specific products.

Esophageal: Pertaining to the esophagus.

Esophageal Adenocarcinoma: Cancer that arises from the glands lining the esophagus and resembles cancers found in the stomach and intestinal tract.

Esophageal cancer: A malignant tumor of the esophagus. The risk of cancer of the esophagus is increased by long-term irritation of the esophagus, such as from smoking, heavy alcohol intake, and Barrett esophagitis. A history of radiotherapy to the area also makes one more susceptible to esophageal cancer. Very small tumors in the esophagus usually do not cause symptoms. As a tumor grows, the most common symptom is difficulty in swallowing. There may be a feeling of fullness, pressure, or burning as food goes down the esophagus. Problems with swallowing may come and go. At first, they may be noticed mainly when the person eats meat, bread or coarse foods, such as raw vegetables. As the tumor grows larger and the pathway to the stomach becomes narrower, even liquids can be hard to swallow, and swallowing may be painful. Cancer of the esophagus can also cause indigestion, heartburn, vomiting, and frequent choking on food. Because of these problems, weight loss is common. Esophageal cancer can be diagnosed through a barium X-ray study of the esophagus and endoscopy and biopsy of the tumor. Treatment includes chemotherapy and sometimes surgery. The prognosis with esophageal cancer is guarded. At the time of the diagnosis, more than 50% of patients have unremovable tumors or evidence of metastases.

Esophageal pH Monitoring: This test determines the severity of acid reflux, including the amount of acidity and the time acid remains in the esophagus. There are two types of pH monitoring tests. In the first, a tiny tube is inserted through the nose and into the esophagus. An acid monitor at the end of the tube measures and records the acid levels in the esophagus for 24 hours. In the second, a pH monitor is clipped into the esophagus by endoscopy and records the pH up to a 48-hour period.

Esophageal ulcer: A sore or erosion of the esophagus generally caused by excessive exposure to acid.

Esophagectomy: The surgical removal of the esophagus for the treatment of adenocarcinoma which involves removing the patient's esophagus and top part of the stomach. A portion of the stomach is then pulled up into the chest and connected to the remaining normal portion of the esophagus. The patient then has a "new" esophagus made up of the normal portion of the esophagus not removed at surgery connected to a portion of the stomach pulled up into the chest.

Esophagitis: Inflammation of the esophagus. The esophagus is that soft tube-like portion of the digestive tract connecting the pharynx with the stomach.

Esophagram: A series of x-rays of the esophagus. The x-ray pictures are taken after the patient drinks a solution that coats and outlines the walls of the esophagus. Also called a barium swallow.

Esophagus: The tube-like structure that connects the mouth to the stomach and acts as a passage-way for food. This organ is one of several that make up the digestive system.


Fundoplication: (anti-reflux surgery) A surgical technique that strengthens the barrier to acid reflux when the lower esophageal sphincter does not work normally and there is gastro-esophageal reflux.

Gastroenterologist: Physician who specializes in diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and biliary system.

Gastric: Having to do with the stomach.

Gastroesophageal: Pertaining to both the stomach and the esophagus, as in the gastroesophageal junction, the place where the esophagus connects to the stomach.

Gastroesophageal Reflux: The return of stomach contents back up into the esophagus. This frequently causes heartburn because of irritation of the esophagus by stomach acid.

Gastrointestinal: Relating to any part of the GI tract.

Gastrointestinal Tract: The tube that extends from the mouth to the anus in which the movement of muscles and release of hormones and enzymes digest food. The gastrointestinal tract starts with the mouth and proceeds to the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, small intestine, large intestine (colon), rectum and, finally, the anus. Also called the alimentary canal, digestive tract and, perhaps most often in conversation, the GI tract.

Gastritis: Inflammation of the stomach.

GERD: Stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease , a disorder in which there is recurrent return of stomach contents back up into the esophagus, frequently causing heartburn, a symptom of irritation of the esophagus by stomach acid. This can lead to scarring and stricture of the esophagus, which can require stretching (dilating).

GERD Medications: H2 blockers such as ranitidine (Zantac®), cimetidine (Tagamet HB 200®), and famotidine (Pepcid®) are drugs that block one of the ways in which the stomach is stimulated to produce acid. Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) such as omeprazole (Prilosec OTC®), esomeprazole (Nexium®), and lansoprazole (Prevacid) are medications that block histamines which in turn block acid production in the stomach.

H2 Blockers: A type of medication that falls into a group known as acid suppressors. These drugs prevent a substance called histamine from stimulating acid production.

Heartburn: A burning sensation, usually centered in the middle of the chest near the sternum, caused by the reflux of acidic stomach fluids that enter the lower end of the esophagus. Also called acid reflux, cardialgia, pyrosis.

Helicobacter Pylori : Bacteria that cause stomach inflammation (gastritis) and ulcers in the stomach. This bacteria is the most common cause of ulcers worldwide. It is often referred to as H. pylori.

Hernia: A general term referring to a protrusion of a tissue through the wall of the cavity in which it is normally contained.

Hiatal: Pertaining to an hiatus, an opening.

Hiatal Hernia: An anatomical abnormality in which part of the stomach protrudes up through the diaphragm into the chest .

Histamine: Substance that plays a major role in many allergic reactions. Histamine dilates blood vessels and makes the vessel walls abnormally permeable.

Histamine2-Receptor Antagonist (H2-RA): A class of medications that decrease stomach acid by preventing histamine from stimulating the stomach to produce acid (see H2 blockers).

Hormone: A chemical substance produced in the body that controls and regulates the activity of certain cells or organs.

Hydrochloric Acid: A powerful acid contained in stomach juices that helps the body break down food. When present in the esophagus, this acid can irritate the lining of the esophagus and cause the sensation known as heartburn.

Hyperchlorhydria: Presence of an excessive amount of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

Ibuprofen: A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) commonly used to treat pain, swelling, and fever. Common brand names for Ibuprofen include Advil, Motrin, and Nuprin.

Incision: A cut. When making an incision, a surgeon is making a cut.

Infection: The growth of a parasitic organism within the body. (A parasitic organism is one that lives on or in another organism and draws its nourishment therefrom.) A person with an infection has another organism (a "germ") growing within him, drawing its nourishment from the person.

Inflammation: A basic way in which the body reacts to infection , irritation or other injury, the key feature being redness, warmth, swelling and pain . Inflammation is now recognized as a type of nonspecific immune response .

Intestine: The long, tubelike organ in the abdomen that completes the process of digestion. It consists of the small and large intestines.


Lactose Intolerance: The inability of the body to break down lactose; results in gastrointestinal distress.

Laparoscopy: A type of minimally invasive surgery in which a small incision (cut) is made in the abdominal wall through which an instrument called a laparoscope is inserted to permit structures within the abdomen and pelvis to be seen. The abdominal cavity is distended and made visible by the instillation of absorbable gas, typically, carbon dioxide. A diversity of tubes can be pushed through the same incision in the skin. Probes or other instruments can thus be introduced through the same opening. In this way, a number of surgical procedures can be performed without the need for a large surgical incision. Most patients receive general anesthesia during the procedure.

Laparotomy: An operation to open the abdomen.

Laryngeal: Having to do with the larynx (the voice box).

Larynx: The larynx is the portion of the breathing, or respiratory, tract containing the vocal cords which produce vocal sound. It is located between the pharynx and the trachea. The larynx, also called the voice box, is a 2-inch-long, tube-shaped organ in the neck.

Laser: A powerful beam of light that can produce intense heat when focused at close range. Lasers are used in medicine in microsurgery, cauterization, for diagnostic purposes, etc. For example, lasers are employed in microsurgery to cut tissue and remove tissue.

Lower Esophageal Sphincter: The natural valve that keeps stomach contents in the stomach and out of the esophagus. When working properly, this important valve operates like a door, letting food into the stomach but not back up into the esophagus. Also known as the LES.

LES: Abbreviation for lower esophageal sphincter, the natural valve that keeps stomach contents in the stomach and out of the esophagus. When working properly, this important valve operates like a door, letting food into the stomach but not back up into the esophagus.

Lumen: A term referring to the channel within a tube such as a blood vessel or to the cavity within a hollow organ such as the intestine . Lumen is a luminous term because it is Latin for light, including the light that comes through a window. When a hollow organ is cut across, you can see light through the space that has been opened. So the word "lumen" came to mean this space.

Lungs: The lungs are a pair of breathing organs located within the chest which remove carbon dioxide from and bring oxygen to the blood. There is a right and left lung.

Lymph: An almost colorless fluid that travels through vessels called lymphatics in the lymphatic system and carries cells that help fight infection and disease.

Magnesium: A mineral involved in many processes in the body including nerve signaling, the building of healthy bones, and normal muscle contraction . About 350 enzymes are known to depend on magnesium.

Malignancy: Cancerous cells that have the ability to spread, invade and destroy tissue. These cells tend to grow rapidly, invade and destroy nearby tissue, and may spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Those cells resistant to treatment may return after being removed or destroyed.

Medication: 1. A drug or medicine. 2. The administration of a drug or medicine. (Note that "medication" does not have the dangerous double meaning of "drug.")

Motility: The ability of the digestive tract to propel its contents.

Mucosal: The inner lining of a tubular structure or hollow organ.

Mucosal Protective Agents: Medications that create a protective barrier on the lining of the esophagus to protect it from stomach acid.

Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. There are three types of muscle in the body. Muscle which is responsible for moving extremities and external areas of the body is called "skeletal muscle." Heart muscle is called "cardiac muscle." Muscle that is in the walls of arteries and bowel is called "smooth muscle."

Muscular: Having to do with the muscles. Also, endowed with above average muscle development. Muscular system refers to all of the muscles of the body collectively.

Nasal: Having to do with the nose. Nasal drops are intended for the nose, not (for example) the eyes. The word "nasal" came from the Latin "nasus" meaning the nose or snout.

Nausea: Nausea is the urge to vomit. It can be brought by many causes including, systemic illnesses, such as influenza, medications, pain, and inner ear disease.

Nerve: A bundle of fibers that uses chemical and electrical signals to transmit sensory and motor information from one body part to another.

Over-the-counter Medicines: Medications that can be purchased without a doctor's prescription.


Pepsin: A name for several enzymes secreted by the stomach to break down protein.

Peptic Ulcer: A raw, crater-like break in the mucosal lining of the stomach or duodenum.

Perfusion: A chemotherapy technique that may be used when melanoma occurs on an arm or leg. The flow of blood to and from the limb is stopped for a while with a tourniquet, and anticancer drugs are put directly into the blood of the limb. This allows the patient to receive a high dose of drugs in the area where the melanoma occurred.

Peristalsis: Wavelike movement of intestinal muscles that propels food along the digestive tract.

Pharynx: The hollow tube about 5 inches long that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (the tube that goes to the stomach).

Photodynamic Therapy: A form of cancer treatment using an photosensitizing agent administered intravenously which concentrates selectively in tumor cells, followed by exposure of the tumor tissue to a special red laser light, in order to destroy as much of the tumor as possible.

Physiologic: Something that is normal, neither due to anything pathologic nor significant in terms of causing illness.

Pill: In pharmacy, a medicinal substance in a small round or oval mass meant to be swallowed. Pills often contain a filler and a plastic substance such as lactose that permits the pill to be rolled by hand or machine into the desired form. The pill may then be coated with a varnishlike substance.

Placebo: A "sugar pill" or any dummy medication or treatment.

Placebo Effect: Also called the placebo response. A remarkable phenomenon in which a placebo, a fake treatment, an inactive substance like sugar, distilled water, or saline solution, can sometimes improve a patient's condition simply because the person has the expectation that it will be helpful. Expectation plays an important role in the placebo effect -- the more a person believes they are going to benefit from a treatment, the more likely it is that they will experience a benefit.

Pneumonia: Inflammation of one or both lungs with consolidation. Pneumonia is frequently but not always due to infection. The infection may be bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic. Symptoms may include fever, chills, cough with sputum production, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

Primary: First or foremost in time or development. The primary teeth (the baby teeth) are those that come first. Primary may also refer to symptoms or a disease to which others are secondary.

Progressive: Increasing in scope or severity. Advancing. Going forward. In medicine, a disease that is progressive is going from bad to worse.

Promotility Agent: Medications that increase the lower esophageal sphincter pressure, increase stomach emptying, and stimulate the esophagus to contract more often and with more power.

Proteins: Large molecules composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific order determined by the base sequence of nucleotides in the DNA coding for the protein.

Proton Pump Inhibitor: The most powerful type of acid suppressors. These medications work by preventing acid pumps in the stomach from producing too much acid. Also known as acid pump inhibitors.

Radioactive: Emitting energy waves due to decaying atomic nuclei. Radioactive substances are used in medicine as tracers for diagnosis, and in treatment to kill cancerous cells.

Rebound: Return of the original symptoms when maneuvers or treatment is discontinued.

Recurrence: The return of a sign, symptom or disease after a remission. The reappearance of cancer cells at the same site or in another location is, unfortunately, a familiar form of recurrence.

Reflex: A reaction that is involuntary. The corneal reflex is the blink that occurs with irritation of the eye. The nasal reflex is a sneeze.

Reflux: The backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus.

Reflux Esophagitis: Inflammation of the esophagus due to the reflux (backward flow) of the stomach contents into the esophagus.

Regurgitation: The backflow of swallowed food or drink into the throat or mouth.

Scleroderma: A disease of connective tissue with the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the skin and sometimes also in other organs of the body.

Side Effects: Problems that occur when treatment goes beyond the desired effect. Or problems that occur in addition to the desired therapeutic effect.

Small Intestine: The part of the digestive tract that extends from the stomach to the large intestine.

Sphincter: A ring-like band of muscle that can tighten to narrow or close off a tube or an orifice.

Squamous Epithelium: Cells that line the esophagus.

Stomach: The sac-shaped digestive organ that is located in the upper abdomen, under the ribs. The upper part of the stomach connects to the esophagus, and the lower part leads into the small intestine.

Stomach Ulcer: a sore or erosion in the lining of the stomach generally caused by two powerful substances in stomach juices – hydrochloric acid and pepsin. A stomach ulcer is an acid-related malady and therefore shares some of the symptoms and therapies as heartburn.

Stool: The solid matter discharged in a bowel movement.

Stricture: An abnormal narrowing of a body passage, especially a tube or a canal. The stricture may be due, for example, to scar tissue or to a tumor. Stricture refers to both the process of narrowing and the narrowed part itself.

Superficial: In anatomy, on the surface or shallow. As opposed to deep. The skin is superficial to the muscles. The cornea is on the superficial surface of the eye.

Symptom: Any subjective evidence of disease. Anxiety, lower back pain, and fatigue are all symptoms. They are sensations only the patient can perceive. In contrast, a sign is objective evidence of disease. A bloody nose is a sign. It is evident to the patient, doctor, nurse and other observers.


Therapeutic: Relating to therapeutics, that part of medicine concerned specifically with the treatment of disease . The therapeutic dose of a drug is the amount needed to treat a disease.

Therapy: The treatment of disease .

Throat: The throat is the anterior (front) portion of the neck beginning at the back of the mouth, consisting anatomically of the pharynx and larynx . The throat contains the trachea and a portion of the esophagus .

Tissue: Tissue is a broad term that is applied to any group of cells that perform specific functions. Connective tissue consists of cells that make up fibers in the framework supporting other body tissues.

TLESRs: Transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations. The primary factor known to cause esophageal reflux disease is inappropriate transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations (TLESRs).

Ulcer: A slow-healing open sore in which tissue breaks down.

Ulceration: The process or fact of being eroded away, as by an ulcer.

Upper GI Endoscopy: Visual diagnostic examination of the upper GI tract, esophagus, stomach and duodenum utilizing a flexible endoscope.

Voice box: The voice box or larynx, is the portion of the respiratory (breathing) tract containing the vocal cords which produce sound. It is located between the pharynx and the trachea. The larynx, also called the voice box, is a 2-inch-long, tube-shaped organ in the neck.

Water Brash/Water Brush: Excessive salivation that results from esophageal acidification during reflux.

X-ray: 1. High-energy radiation with waves shorter than those of visible light. X-rays possess the properties of penetrating most substances (to varying extents), of acting on a photographic film or plate (permitting radiography), and of causing a fluorescent screen to give off light (permitting fluoroscopy). In low doses X-rays are used for making images that help to diagnose disease, and in high doses to treat cancer . Formerly called a Roentgen ray. 2. An image obtained by means of X-rays.

Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome: A rare disorder where excessive levels of the hormone gastrin are released into the stomach which increases stomach acidity which results in peptic ulcer development. A hormone secreting pancreatic or duodenal tumor is usually the cause.

By Mortin - Copyright 2010
Last modification 08/02/2010

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