Nursecepts

Medical Terminology of the Gastrointestinal System

Medical Terminology of the Gastrointestinal System

This article covers the medical terminology of the gastrointestinal system. These terms will help with the study of gastrointestinal conditions and diseases. You can use this list as you cover disease processes related to the gastrointestinal system in your studies. First, this article will cover a list of word roots, and a few additional suffixes and prefixes specifically related to the gastrointestinal system. Secondly, you will find terms related to gastrointestinal specialties and their definitions. There is also a list of gastrointestinal structures, diagnostic test, and procedures. Finally, there is a list containing diseases and conditions of the gastrointestinal system.

If you need a background on how medical terms are formed, read the article on Medical Terminology Basics. Also, the article 11 Rules for Changing Singular Terms to Plural Terms is a good article for the use of singular and plural endings used in medical terminology. Since a list of basic prefixes and suffixes has been presented in the previous articles, these lists are just a review of those medical terms.

Review of Prefixes

This section contains prefixes that are used for the medical terminology of most systems. Prefixes are used at the beginning of a word to modify or vary the meaning of the word. When the prefixes are detached from a term, it is followed by a hyphen (-).

PrefixesDefinition
a-, an-no, not, without, away
aut-self
brady- slow
dia-apart, through
end-, endo-within, inside
exo-outside of, without
epi- above
hyper- excessive
hypo- insufficient
inter- between
intra- middle
media-medium
medial-situated or pertaining to the middle
medi-middle
medio-within
normo- normal
per- through
peri- around
physio-, physi-related to nature or physiology
poly- many
pro-before, for, in front of, from, in behalf of, on account of
re-back, again
retro-behind, back, backward
sub-under, below, beneath, in small quantity, less than normal
syn-, sy-, syl-, sym-union or association
tachy- fast
trans- across, through, beyond, over
ultra- excess

Review of Suffixes

Below are some suffixes that can be used for the medical terminology of most systems. Suffixes are placed at the end of a word root or word part to modify or vary the meaning. Suffixes can indicate a condition, disease or a procedure. When a suffix is written detached it is preceded by a hyphen (-).

SuffixesDefinition
-ac. -al, -ar, -aryPertaining to
-icPertaining to, characteristics
-ose, -ousPertaining to
-tic Pertaining to
-centesissurgical puncture as to aspirate or remove fluid
-cision process of cutting
-ectomyexcision (surgical removal or cutting out)
-grama drawing or a written record
-graphproduct of a drawing, writing or recording
-graphythe process of recording
-ia condition
-ism condition process, theory of, principle, method
-itis inflammation
-ologist one who studies
-ologystudy of
-lysisprocess of loosening, freeing, or destroying
-opsyto view
-osiscondition, status process
-otomycutting into
-ostomyformation of an opening
-plasty surgical repair
-pathy disease
-sclerosis hardening
-scope instrument for viewing
-scopyvisual examination with a lighted instrument
-sisstate of, condition
-stasis to stand, place, stop, control
-stenosisnarrowing
-tension pressure
-therapytreatment
-thoracicchest
-ule small

Word Root and Combining Vowel for the Gastrointestinal System

This is a list of word roots with their combining vowel used for the gastrointestinal system.

Word RootDefinition
An(o)pertaining to the anus
Appendic(o)referring to the appendix
Cec(o)Pertaining to the cecum
Chol(e)bile
Cholangi(o)bile duct
Cholecyst(o)gallbladder
Choledoch(o)common bile ducts
Colon(o)pertaining to the colon
Diverticul(o)diverticulum
Duoden(o)duodenum
Enter(o)intestine
Esophag(o)esophagus
Gastro(o)stomach
Hepat(o)liver
Ile(o)ileum
Jejun(o)jejunum
Pancreat(o)pancreas
Proct(o)rectum and anus
Rect(o)rectum
Sigmoid(o)sigmoid colon
Spleen(o)spleen
Hemat(o)blood

Additional Gastrointestinal suffixes and prefixes

TermDefinition
Bili- bile
Cec-, ceco-cecum
Cirrh-yellow
Cys-bladder or sac
Dys-bad or painful
Gastro-, gastr-stomach
Sigmoid-sigmoid colon
-pancreatpancreas
-phagiato eat or swallow

Gastrointestinal Specialties

This is a list of the gastrointestinal specialist and their general job description.

Medical Terminology Gastrointestinal System Medical Specialties

TermDefinition
GastroenterologistGastro means stomach.
Entero means intestine.
-logist means one who studies.
A physician specializing in diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
GastroenterologyGastro means stomach.
Entero means intestine.
-logy means the study of.
The study of the diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.

The Structure and Function of the Gastrointestinal System

The gastrointestinal tract is a pathway that begins at the mouth and ends at the anus. The upper portion of the gastrointestinal tract includes the oral cavity, teeth, tongue, salivary glands, pharynx and esophagus. The lower portion of the gastrointestinal tract includes the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. The accessory organs include the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. The gastrointestinal tract is also known as the alimentary tract, the alimentary canal, and the digestive tract.

Check out the article Nursing Assessment of the Gastrointestinal System to learn about the different organs and accessory organs. Also, the article 11 Facts About the Gastrointestinal System Every Nursing Student Should Know will give some foundational information about the gastrointestinal system. Remember, not all terms used for medical terminology use a prefix, word root, combining vowel or a suffix. But, they are still medical terminology related to the gastrointestinal system.

Medical Terminology Gastrointestinal System Structure and Function

TermDefinition
AnusThe terminal end of the anal canal.
AppendixAn accessory part that is attached to a main structure.
Vermiform appendix
Vermiform means resembling a worm.
A wormlike process that extends from the cecum.
BiliaryBili- pertains to bile
Pertaining to bile or the gallbladder duct which transport bile. Sometimes called the biliary tree.
ColonA part of the large intestine located between the cecum and the rectum.
CecumCec(o) means cecum
The first part of the large intestine.
DuodenumDuoden(o) means duodenum
The first and shortest portion of the small intestine
EpigastricEpi- mean above.
Gastric mean stomach.
The area above the stomach.
EsophagusEsophag(o) means esophagus
The hollow tube that extends from the pharynx to the stomach.
GallbladderGall pertains to bile.
Bladder is a membrane sac acting as a receptacle for secretions.
A sac-shaped organ located under the right lobe of the liver.
HypochondriumHypochondriac region.
Hypo- mean under.
Chondriac mean cartilage.
The area of the abdomen located underneath the cartilage of the lower ribs.
HypogastricHypo- mean under.
Gastric means stomach.
The lower portion of the abdomen located below the umbilical area.
IleumIle(o) refers to the ileum.
The lower third portion of the small intestine.
InguinalPertaining to the groin.
JejunumJejun(o) refers to the jejunum.
The middle portion of the small intestine.
LiverOne of the largest organs in the abdominal cavity located below the diaphragm in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen.
PancreasAn organ located posterior (behind) the stomach that secretes the hormones insulin and glucagon and also secrets buffers and digestive enzymes into the duodenum.
RectumA portion of the large intestine between the colon and anus.
Sigmoid colonSigmoid means pertaining to a S-shape.
An S-shaped section of the colon that extends from the descending colon to the rectum.
StomachA muscular bag lined with mucus membranes that expand and is a reservoir for food.
SuprapubicSupra- means above.
Pubic means area of the symphysis pubis
An area above the symphysis pubis.
UmbilicalUmbilicus means navel.
Pertaining to the umbilical cord.

Diagnostic Studies of the Gastrointestinal System

TermDefinition
Abdominal Computed tomography (CT)Abdominal refers to a portion of the body located between the thorax and pelvis.
A technique that uses radiographic to produce an image of the cross section of tissue.
Abdominal Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)Abdominal refers to a portion of the body located between the thorax and pelvis.
Magnetic means lodestone.
Resonance means to sound again.
Imaging means image.
An MRI is a procedure used to produce an image by the creation of a magnetic field to give detailed information about the gastrointestinal system.
Abdominal ultrasoundAbdominal refers to a portion of the body located between the thorax and pelvis.
Ultra means beyond, farther,
Ultrasound is high-frequency sound waves.
Barium testAdministration of a radiopaque barium sulfate liquid to visual defects of the esophagus and surrounding areas.
CholangiographyChol- means bile.
-graphy means the process of recording.
The IV (intravenous) instillation of a radiopaque contrast to visualized and record information about the major bile ducts.
ColonoscopyColon (o) pertains to the colon.
-scopy is a visual examination with a lighted instrument.
The examination of the lining of the colon with a colonoscope.
EndoscopyEndo- refers to within, inside.
-scopy is a visual examination with a lighted instrument.
The examination of the organs and cavities of the body with an endoscope.
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)Endo- refers to within, inside.
-scopy is a visual examination with a lighted instrument.
Cholangi(o) means bile ducts.
Pancreat(o) refers to the pancreas.
-graphy means the process of recording.
An endoscopic test that allows the visualization of the bile ducts and pancreatic ducts.
Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)Esophag(o) refers to the esophagus.
Gastr(o) refers to the stomach.
Duoden(o) refers to the duodenum.
-scopy is a visual examination with a lighted instrument.
A test used for the visualization of the upper gastrointestinal tract.
Liver function test (LFT)Test of evaluate the functions of the liver including storage, metabolism, filtration, and excretion.
Liver biopsyBiopsy is the removal of a small piece of tissue to be used for microscopic examination.
A procedure in which a needle is inserted into the liver to obtain a specimen.
SigmoidoscopySigmoid(o) refers to the sigmoid colon.
-scopy is a visual examination with a lighted instrument.
The inspection of the sigmoid colon and rectum using a sigmoidoscope.

Procedures of the Gastrointestinal System

TermDefinition
Appendectomy also appendicectomyAppendic(o) pertaining to the appendix.
-ectomy means excision (surgical removal or cutting out)
Surgical removal of the vermiform appendix.
CecostomyCec(o) is pertaining to the cecum.
-ostomy is the formation of an opening.
The surgical formation of an opening into cecum.
CholecystectomyChole(o) means bile.
Cys- means bladder or sac.
-ectomy means excision (surgical removal or cutting out).
The surgical removal of the gallbladder.
CholecystostomyChole(o) means bile.
Cys- means bladder or sac.
-ostomy is the formation of an opening.
The surgical formation of an opening into the gallbladder.
CholedochojejunostomyChole(o) means bile
Doch(o) or dochus means containing.
Jejun(o) refers to the jejunum.
-ostomy is the formation of an opening.
A surgical procedure to form a connection between the common bile duct and jejunum.
CholedocholithotomyChole(o) means bile.
Doch(o) or dochus means containing.
Lith(o) means stone.
-otomy means cutting into.
Surgical incision into the common bile duct for the removal of gallstones.
ColectomyCole- means colon.
-ectomy means excision (surgical removal or cutting out).
Surgical excision of part of the colon.
ColostomyCol(o) refers to the colon.
-ostomy is the formation of an opening.
Surgical opening into the colon to form an artificial anus on the abdominal wall.
EsophagogastrostomyEsophag(o) means esophagus.
Gastr(o) means stomach.
-ostomy is formation of an opening.
Anastomosis of the esophagus to a portion of the stomach.
GastrectomyGastr(o) means stomach.
-ectomy means excision (surgical removal or cutting out).
The surgical removal of all or part of stomach.
GastrostomyGastr(o) means stomach.
-ostomy is the formation of an opening.
A surgical opening into the stomach through the abdominal wall usually for the placement of a feeding tube.
IleostomyIle(o) refers to the ileum.
-ostomy is the formation of an opening.
A surgical opening to bring the ileum to the surface of the abdomen.
PyloroplastyPylor(o) refers to the pylorus.
-plasty means surgical repair.
Enlargement and repair of pyloric sphincter area.

Diseases and Conditions of the Gastrointestinal System

Medical Terminology Gastrointestinal System Diseases

TermDefinition
AchalasiaA- means no, not or without.
Chalasia is the abnormal relaxation of the cardiac sphincter of the stomach.
The constriction of the lower portion of the esophagus due to the inability of the cardiac sphincter of the stomach to relax.
AppendicitisAppendic(o) pertaining to the appendix.
-itis means inflammation.
Inflammation of the vermiform appendix.
AscitesThe accumulation of a large amount of fluid in the peritoneal space.
CholelithiasisChole(o) means bile.
-lithiasis means stones.
The presences of gallstones in the gallbladder.
CirrhosisCirrh- means yellow
-osis refers to a condition.
A degenerative disease of the liver.
DysphagiaDys means bad or painful.
-phagia means to eat or swallow.
Difficulty swallowing.
GastritisGastr- means stomach.
-itis means inflammation.
Inflammation of the lining stomach.
HematemesisHemat- means blood.
Emesis means vomit.
The vomiting of bright red blood.
HematacheziaHemat- means blood.
-chezia means defecation or the passage of foreign substances with the stool.
The passage of bright red blood from the rectum.
HepatitisHepat- means liver.
-itis means inflammation.
The inflammation of the liver.
HepatomegalyHepat(o) means liver.
-megaly means large.
The abnormal enlargement of the liver.
JaundiceJaundice means yellow.
A large amount of bilirubin in the blood causing a yellow discoloration of skin, mucus membrane and sclera of the eye.
MelenaMelena means black.
The distinctive black tarry stool which usually suggests digested blood.
OdynophagiaOdyn(o) means pain.
-phagia means to eat or swallow.
A burning squeezing pain while swallowing caused by irritation of the esophageal mucosa.
PyrosisPyr(o) means fire or heat.
-osis refers to a condition.
Pyrosis means heartburn.
Heartburn is a painful burning sensation in the esophagus just below the sternum.
SpleenomegalySpleen(o) pertains to the spleen.
-megaly means large.
The abnormal enlargement of the spleen.
SteatorrheaSteat(o) means fat.
-rrhea means to discharge of flow.
A large amount of fat in the feces that is foul smelling and floats.

Reference

Mosby’s Medical Dictionary (2017). 10th ed. St Louis, MO. Elsevier Inc.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitution for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you chose to use this information.

Medical-Terminology-Gastrointestinal

Follow Nursecepts

Medical-Terminology-Gastrointestinal-System-Word-Root

Close Menu
×
×

Cart