Peristalsis Definition

Peristalsis Definition Peristalsis – the rhythmic waves of contraction that move food through the gastrointestinal tract. Pressure against the inner walls of the intestines, such as occurs when food enters an intestinal segment, signals the muscles to contract and relax in a progressive pattern. The muscles ahead of the pressure relax, widening the intestinal passage, and […]

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Rectum – Definition and Function

Rectum Definition The segment of the colon between the sigmoid colon and the anus. About six inches long, the rectum retains solid digestive waste until a bowel movement expels it. Rectum Anatomy The spinal cord regulates the nerve impulses that initiate the reflexive contractions of the rectum that result in bowel movements. The walls of the rectum are smooth and flexible, […]

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The Gastrointestinal System – Function, Diseases and Information

Definition of Gastrointestinal System The gastrointestinal system converts ingested foods to nutrients the body can absorb and use. Physician specialists who treat gastrointestinal conditions are gastroenterologists. Functions of the Gastrointestinal System Traditional chinese medicine (tcm), a centuriesold philosophy of health centered on balance among the body’s systems and functions, views the torso as the “triple […]

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Small Intestine – Anatomy, Parts, Problems and Function

Small Intestine Definition The segment of the gastrointestinal tract immediately following the stomach. The small intestine’s three sections – duodenum, jejunum, and ileum – perform about 85 percent of the digestive functions of the gastrointestinal tract. Food passes from the stomach to the duodenum, from the duodenum to the jejunum, and from the jejunum to the ileum. The small intestine loops and folds […]

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Colon Definition and Health

Definition of Colon The large intestine, which extracts water from and consolidates the waste byproducts of digestion. The colon extends from the ileum, the final segment of the small intestine, to the anus, the exit from the body for solid digestive waste (feces or stool). The colon goes up the left side of the abdomen (the ascending colon), across the […]

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Stomach – Definition, Function and Problems

Stomach – Definition, Function and Problems Stomach – the pouchlike organ that receives and digests food. The stomach can stretch up to six times its resting size to accommodate influxes of food and drink up to about the combined quantity of a gallon. Three layers of muscle wrap around the deeply pitted gastric mucosa (mucous membrane lining of […]

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Digestive Enzymes – Benefits and Deficiency

Digestive Enzymes Definition Digestive Enzymes – specialized protein structures that help break down (hydrolyze) foods in the mouth, stomach, and small intestine to assist in absorbing nutrients from foods. Gastrointestinal structures produce dozens of digestive enzymes, which they secrete in various digestive juices. Amylase in saliva, for example, breaks down carbohydrates into their sugar components. Gastric juices combine […]

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Anus – Definition and Function

Anus Definition Anus – the opening through which the body passes solid waste (feces), below the final segment of the colon and the terminus of the gastrointestinal system. The anal sphincter is a ring of MUSCLE that contracts to contain fecal matter and relaxes to expel it. Learning to control the contraction and relaxation of the anal sphincter begins to […]

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Digestive Hormones – Types and Definition

Digestive Hormones Definition Digestive hormones – chemical messengers that stimulate or inhibit gastrointestinal functions. Organs and structures of the gastrointestinal system synthesize and release digestive hormones in response to chemical and physiologic changes that take place with the ingestion of food and its passage through the gastrointestinal tract. The major Digestive Hormones are Gastrin, which stimulates […]

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Appendix – Function, Location and Information

Appendix Definition Appendix is a small, fingerlike projection, sometimes called the vermiform appendix, extending from the bottom of the cecum, the first segment of the large intestine (colon). Historically health professionals have viewed the appendix as a vestigial structure with no functional purpose. However, recent research identifies clusters of gut-associated lymphoid tissue (galt), fragments of lymphoid […]

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