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Digestive Health

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Terms and Definitions

Below are a list of key terms commonly used in digestive health.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Acid reflux: a painful condition in which acids regurgitate from the stomach into the esophagus, also referred to as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)

Anus: the opening of the rectum through which solid waste leaves the body


Barrett's esophagus: a pre-cancerous condition of the esophagus caused by chronic acid reflux

Benign: non-cancerous

Bile ducts: a network that transports digestive fluids from the liver and gallbladder to the intestine

Biopsy: the cellular study of tissue removed from a living body

Bronchoscope: a flexible instrument used to examine airways


Cholangioscopy: examination of the bile ducts via endoscopy

Colon: the main part of the large intestine


Digestive system: Comprised of the esophagus, small intestine, colon, rectum and anus

Duodenum: the first part of the small intestine


Endoscope: a long, narrow, flexible tube with a small light and camera at one end

Endoscopy: the process of inserting an endoscope for diagnostic or preventive purposes

Enteroscope: a tool used to examine the inside of the intestines

Esophagus: the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach


Gallbladder: the organ that works in conjunction with the liver and pancreas to assist with food digestion

Gallstones: a small mass in the gallbladder that blocks the bile ducts

Gastrointestinal: relating to the stomach and intestines


Liver: the organ responsible for blood filtration, detoxification and metabolism


Malignant: cancerous


Pancreas: a gland that secretes digestive enzymes into the intestine

Polyps: small, benign growths

Proctoscope: a tool used to examine the anus and rectum

Pulmonary: relating to the lungs


Rectum: the area where the large intestine meets the anus


Sigmoid colon: the part of the large intestine close to the rectum and anus

Sigmoidoscope: an endoscope used to examine the last one-third of the colon

Small intestine/bowel: the longest part of the digestive system

Stent: a device that keeps tubes or vessels open

Stomach: located in the upper abdomen, where the initial stages of digestion occur

Strictures: the irregular narrowing of a passage or duct


Trachea: also known as the 'windpipe,' a major connector that carries air to the lungs


Ulcers: a painful, open sore on the skin or a mucous membrane

Ultrasound: a procedure in which images are generated by sound vibrations

Upper GI Tract: the area of the digestive system that includes the esophagus, stomach and duodenum


Varices: the irregular dilation or swelling of a vein or veins