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Heartburn/GERD Health Center

Glossary of Heartburn Terms

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

Fats: Substances that help the body use some vitamins and keep the skin healthy. They are also one of the main ways the body stores energy.

Fluoroscopy: A continuous X-ray beam is passed through the body. The technique allows the doctor to observe how an organ performs its normal function; for example, how the esophagus works during swallowing.

Fundoplication: A procedure that involves wrapping the upper part of the stomach around the lower esophageal sphincter (the ring of muscle that opens and closes to allow food into the stomach) to create a band that prevents stomach acids from backing up.

Fundus: Upper part of the stomach.

Gallbladder: A pear-shaped reservoir that sits just under the liver. It stores and concentrates bile. During a meal, the gallbladder contracts, sending bile to the duodenum to help absorb and digest fats.

Gastric: Pertaining to the stomach.

Gastric enzymes: Term often used to describe all the digestive enzymes, which are substances in the stomach and digestive system that break down food. Pepsin is an enzyme in the stomach that breaks down proteins. Lipase is an enzyme produced by the pancreas that breaks down fats in the duodenum. Amylase is also produced by the pancreas and breaks down starch. Maltase, sucrase, and lactase are other enzymes secreted in the small intestine to convert certain sugars.

Gastric juice: A mixture produced by the cells of the stomach that contains hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes.

Gastritis: An inflammation of the lining of the stomach from any cause, including infection or alcohol.

Gastroenterologist: A doctor who specializes in diseases and conditions of the gastrointestinal tract.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD: A digestive condition that develops when the reflux of stomach contents causes troublesome symptoms and/or complications. Heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD, but regurgitation, difficulty swallowing, and a feeling of a lump in the throat are other symptoms.

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