Abnormal condition of small pouches or sacs (diverticula) in the wall of the intestine (often the colon). Diverticulitis is an inflammation and infection within diverticula.
gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD):
A condition in which contents of the stomach flow back into the esophagus.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD):
Inflammation of the terminal (last) portion of the ileum (Crohn disease) or inflammation of the colon (ulcerative colitis).
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS):
Signs and symptoms are crampingq abdominal bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Although IBS causes distressing symptoms, it does not permanently harm the intestine.
Yellow-orange coloration of the skin and other tissues, from high levels of bilirubin in the bloodstream (hyperbilirubinemia).
Abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan:
A series of cross-sectional x-ray images that show abdominal organs.
Abdominal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):
Magnetic and radio waves create images of abdominal organs and tissues in all three planes of the body.
Process of beaming sound waves into the abdomen to produce images of organs such as the gallbladder. Endoscopic ultrasonography is useful to detect enlarged lymph nodes and tumors in the upper abdomen.
X-ray examinations using a liquid barium mixture to locate disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. In a barium enema (lower GI series), barium is injected into the anus and rectum and x-ray images are taken of the colon. In an upper GI series (barium swallow), barium is taken in through the mouth and x-ray images reveal the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.
X-ray examination of the bile ducts after the injection of contrast material through the liver (percutaneous transhepatic cholangiopraphy) or through a catheter from the mouth, esophagus, and stomach into the bile ducts (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or ERCP).
Visual examination of the gastrointestinal tract with an endoscope. Examples are esophagoscopy, gastroscopy, and sigmoidoscopy.
Feces are placed on paper containing the chemical guaiac, which reacts with hidden (occult) blood. This is an important screening test for colon cancer.
Liver function test (LFTs):
Measurements of liver enzymes and other substances in the blood. Enzyme levels increase when the liver is damaged (as in hepatitis). Examples of liver enzymes are ALT, AST, and alkaline phosphatase (alk phos). High bilirubin, (blood pigment), indicate jaundice caused by liver disease or other problems affecting the liver.
CT scans, MRI, and computers are used to produce two- and three-dimensional images of the colon. It is useful to diagnose colon disease.
Surgical creation of an opening between two gastrointestinal organs. Examples are gastrojejunostomy, cholecystojejunostomy, and choledochoduodenostomy.
Removal of organs or tissues via a laparoscope (instrument inserted into the abdomen through a small incision). Examples are laparoscopic cholecystectomy and laparoscopic appendectomy. A form of minimally invasive surgery.
Barium enema (barium, a contrast agent, is introduced through the rectum, and x-ray pictures of the colon are taken)