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Heartburn/GERD Health Center

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Glossary of Heartburn Terms

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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.

Gastroscopy: Procedure performed to examine the stomach, esophagus and duodenum using a thin, lighted tube called a gastroscope, or endoscope, which is passed through the mouth and into the stomach and duodenum.

H2 blockers: Histamine blockers - A type of medication that falls into a group known as acid blockers or suppressors. These drugs prevent a substance called histamine from stimulating acid production.

Heart attack: Permanent damage to the heart muscle caused by a lack of blood supply to the heart for an extended time period. Some of the symptoms of a heart attack are similar to those of heartburn.

Heartburn: A burning discomfort that is generally felt in the chest just behind the breastbone. The burning sensation results when harsh stomach juices come in contact with and irritate the delicate lining of the esophagus. (Also known as acid indigestion).

Hernia: protrusion of part of a structure through the tissues normally containing it.

Hiatal hernia: A condition that occurs when the upper part of the stomach moves into the chest cavity through a hole in the diaphragm, the muscle below the lungs and heart separating the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity.

Hiatus: A gap or a passage in an anatomical part or organ.

Laparoscope: A thin, telescope-like instrument with a miniature video camera and light source used to transmit images to a video monitor during laparoscopic surgery.

Laparoscopic antireflux surgery: A minimally invasive procedure that corrects GERD by creating an improved valve mechanism at the bottom part of the esophagus.

Laparoscopic surgery: Also known as laparoscopy, a surgical method that is much less invasive than traditional surgery. Tiny incisions are made to create a passageway for a special instrument called a laparoscope that transmits images to a video monitor. The surgeon watches the video screen while performing the procedure with small instruments that pass through small tubes, or catheters, placed in the incisions.

Large intestine: The long, tube-like organ that is connected to the small intestine at one end and the anus at the other. The large intestine has four parts: cecum, colon, rectum, and anal canal. Partly digested food moves through the cecum into the colon, where water and some nutrients and electrolytes are removed. The remaining material, solid waste called stool, moves through the colon, is stored in the rectum, and leaves the body through the anal canal and anus.

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