The specialty of gastroenterology focuses on the digestive system. The major organs of the digestive system are the esophagus, the stomach, the small intestine, the large intestine, and the rectum. Other parts of this body system include the liver, the gallbladder and the pancreas.
The digestive system has several names. It is called the alimentary canal, the gastrointestinal system, the GI tract, or it can also be referred to as the gut. This body system begins at the mouth and becomes a tube about 30 feet long that eventually exits the body at the end of the large bowel, an area called the rectum.
The digestive system is like a food-processing machine. It has five main functions:
Foods rich in fiber are often low in calories and fat and they fill you up more. They may also reduce your risks for certain health problems. To find out the amount of fiber in canned, packaged or frozen food, read the "Nutrition Facts" label. It tells you how much fiber is in a serving.
There are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. They both aid digestion and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Ischemic colitis is a type of inflammation of the lining of the colon (colitis) caused by a reduction of flow in the blood vessels supplying the colon. The lining of the colon may appear reddened, sometimes with ulcerations.
A lipoma is a growth of fat cells located in the muscle layer. A lipoma is harmless and is not cancerous. They are usually small in size and do not cause pain.
The exact cause of lipomas is not clear, but they tend to run in families.
Lipomas generally do not require treatment. Because lipomas are not cancerous growths and cannot become cancerous, they do not need to be removed.
Lymphoid aggregates appear as slightly elevated nodules that may be normal in color or more red than the surrounding tissue. Sometimes they can look like small polyps. This is a harmless, non- cancerous condition.
Lymphoid aggregates occur when the normal lymphoid tissue collects in a certain location.
No treatment is required.
Melanosis coli is a dark brown discoloration (pigmentation) of the lining of the colon walls. Melanosis coli is harmless, does not cause symptoms and is usually observed during routine colonoscopy.
The most common cause of melanosis coli is the chronic use of anthranoid laxatives such as Senna.
If a person stops using anthranoid laxatives, the changes associated with melanosis coli lessen over time and may disappear.
What is diarrhea?
Diarrhea, is derived from the Greek word "to flow through", and is a common problem for many people. Because the range of normal stools is broad, it is not defined by the number of stools a person passes per day. In general, acute diarrhea is defined as less than 14 days in duration and chronic diarrhea is defined as more than 30 days in duration.
What are the symptoms of diarrhea?
Symptoms may be mild, such as painless and watery bowel movements, or more severe. "Alarm" symptoms which generally re
What is constipation?
Constipation is defined as infrequent bowel movements, hard to pass stools or straining during bowel movements that is troubling to the individual. Frequency of bowel movements among healthy people varies widely from three bowel movements each day to three bowel movements a week.
What causes constipation?
Many factors can lead to constipation including a diet that is low in fiber, inadequate fluid intake, low levels of physical activity, medications, and poor bowel habits. Medical problems that can c
What is colon cancer?
Cancers that begin in the lower bowel are called colon cancers. The colon is the last 4-6 feet of your intestine, an organ that helps eliminate solid waste from your body. The last 6 inches of the colon is called the rectum, and cancers that start here are called rectal cancers. Colon and rectal cancers will cause over 50,000 deaths in the United States this year; only lung cancer will kill more Americans. 75% of colon and rectal cancers occur in persons without a family history of colon cancer.
What is acute self-limited colitis?
In general, this is a type of inflammation of the lining of the colon that is due to an infection or drug, or other chemical or irritant. It tends to cause acute rather than chronic symptoms, and usually heals completely.
What are the symptoms of acute self-limited colitis?
This depends on the cause, but may include abdominal bloating or pain, bloody or watery diarrhea, or fever. At times the colon may appear "irritated" at the time of routine colonoscopy, and the patient may hav