Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Category: digestion

Abdominal Fullness or Bloating
Abdominal fullness or bloating occurs when excess gas builds up in the digestive tract. Common causes of gas include: Swallowed air. If swallowed air is not burped up, it passes through the digestive tract and is released through the anus as gas...

Abdominal Gas and Colic
Some people have problems digesting milk protein or milk sugar (lactose intolerance). But these problems are very rare in babies. Until your doctor can evaluate your baby, it is usually not advisable to switch formula or stop breastfeeding as a...

Abdominal Pain Causes
Abdominal pain can have many causes. Often the specific symptoms help determine the cause of the pain. Cause Most common symptoms Gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, gallbladder disease, bowel obstruction, pancreatitis, appendicitis,...

Abdominal Pain Following an Injury
Blunt abdominal injuries, such as from a fall or a blow to the stomach, can cause severe bruising of the abdominal wall and bleeding from or rupture of the internal organs. These types of injuries are often caused by falls from a significant height....

Abdominal Pain and Other Illness
Many chronic illnesses can cause belly (abdominal) pain. These illnesses include sickle cell disease, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and cystic fibrosis. Sudden (acute) illnesses, such as strep throat and influenza (flu), can cause...

Abdominal Pain, Age 11 and Younger
Covers possible causes of abdominal pain in children 11 and younger, including stomach flu, urinary tract infection, constipation, and appendicitis. Includes interactive tool to help you decide when to call a doctor. Offers home treatment tips.

Abdominal Pain, Age 12 and Older
Covers symptoms and possible causes of abdominal pain, such as peptic ulcer disease, indigestion, appendicitis, or stomach flu. Includes interactive tool to help you decide when to call a doctor. Offers home treatment tips.

Abdominal Ultrasound
An abdominal ultrasound takes pictures of the organs and other structures in your upper belly. It uses sound waves to show images on a screen. Areas that can be checked include the: Abdominal aorta. This large blood vessel passes down the back of...

Abdominal X-Ray
An abdominal X-ray is a picture of structures and organs in the belly (abdomen). This includes the stomach, liver, spleen, large and small intestines, and the diaphragm, which is the muscle that separates the chest and belly areas. Often two X-rays...

Acid reducers
Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure to read the...

Adjustable Gastric Banding Surgery
Looks at adjustable gastric banding surgery (also called gastric banding), a type of weight-loss surgery used to treat obesity. Explains what it is and why it is done. Looks at how it is done and what to expect after surgery. Also covers risks.

Adult Primary Liver Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Adult primary liver cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the liver. The liver is one of the largest organs in the body. It has two lobes and fills the upper right side of the abdomen inside the rib cage. Three of the many important functions of the liver are: To filter harmful...

Advance Care Planning: Should I Have Artificial Hydration and Nutrition?
Guides through decision to receive artificial hydration and nutrition if you have a life-threatening or terminal illness. Describes various feeding-tube methods. Discusses benefits and risks. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)
An alanine aminotransferase (ALT) test measures the amount of this enzyme in the blood. ALT is found mainly in the liver, but also in smaller amounts in the kidneys, heart, muscles, and pancreas. ALT was formerly called serum glutamic pyruvic...

Alkaline Phosphatase
An alkaline phosphatase (ALP) test measures the amount of the enzyme ALP in the blood. ALP is made mostly in the liver and in bone with some made in the intestines and kidneys. It also is made by the placenta of a pregnant woman. The liver makes...

Ammonia
An ammonia test measures the amount of ammonia in the blood. Most ammonia in the body forms when protein is broken down by bacteria in the intestines. The liver normally converts ammonia into urea, which is then eliminated in urine. Ammonia levels...

Amylase
An amylase test measures the amount of this enzyme in a sample of blood taken from a vein or in a sample of urine. Normally, only low levels of amylase are found in the blood or urine. But if the pancreas or salivary glands become damaged or...

Anal Cancer
Anal cancer is not the same as cancer of the colon or rectum. To learn about these cancers, see the topic Colorectal Cancer. Anal cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in the anus, which is the opening at the end of the rectum. Anal cancer is not...

Anal Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Prevention - Patient Information [NCI]
Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by cancer. To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective...

Anal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Anal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the anus. The anus is the end of the large intestine, below the rectum, through which stool (solid waste) leaves the body. The anus is formed partly from the outer skin layers of the body and partly from the intestine. Two ring-like...

Anal Fissure
An anal fissure is a tear in the lining of the lower rectum (anal canal) that causes pain during bowel movements. Anal fissures don't lead to more serious problems. Most anal fissures heal with home treatment after a few days or weeks. These are...

Anal Fistulas and Crohn's Disease
Crohn's disease may cause sores, or ulcers, that tunnel through the intestine and into the surrounding tissue, often around the anus and rectum. These abnormal tunnels, called fistulas, are a common complication of Crohn's disease. They may get...

Anthrax
Discusses anthrax, a disease caused by Bacillus anthracis bacteria. Covers symptoms based on the three types of infection. Discusses treatment with antibiotics and other medicines. Covers anthrax vaccine. Offers tips on reducing exposure risk.

Antigen Tests for Giardiasis
For a giardia antigen test, a stool sample or fluid from the upper part of the intestines (duodenal fluid) is tested in the lab for the presence of antigens from Giardia lamblia. This test is often done at the same time as a stool analysis. An...

Appendicitis
Discusses what happens when the appendix becomes infected and inflamed. Includes appendicitis symptoms such as belly pain. Looks at exams and tests. Covers different types of surgery to remove your appendix (appendectomy).

Ascites and Cirrhosis
Fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity (ascites) is the most common major complication of cirrhosis. But it's important to get treatment. People who have alcoholic cirrhosis may develop ascites early in the course of liver disease. Those who have...

Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)
An aspartate aminotransferase (AST) test measures the amount of this enzyme in the blood. AST is normally found in red blood cells, liver, heart, muscle tissue, pancreas, and kidneys. AST formerly was called serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase...

Asthma and GERD
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the abnormal backflow, or reflux, of stomach juices into the esophagus, the tube that leads from the throat to the stomach. GERD is found in many people who have asthma. Having asthma increases the chances...

Barium Enema
Discusses barium enema, a procedure used to help diagnose problems in the large intestine (colon and rectum). Covers why it's done, how it's done, and how to prepare. Looks at risks. Covers possible results.

Basic Metabolic Panel
Briefly discusses basic metabolic panel, a blood test that measures your sugar (glucose) level, electrolyte and fluid balance, and kidney function. Provides links to more info on specific tests such as blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and potassium tests.

Bile Duct Cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma) Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Bile duct cancer is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the bile ducts. A network of tubes, called ducts, connects the liver, gallbladder, and small intestine. This network begins in the liver where many small ducts collect bile (a fluid made by the liver to break down fats during digestion). The...

Biliopancreatic Diversion and Biliopancreatic Diversion With Duodenal Switch
Discusses biliopancreatic diversion, surgery for obesity that makes the stomach smaller and bypasses part of the intestine. Looks at why the procedure is considered only for people who have not been able to lose weight other ways or whose health is at risk. Includes risks.

Bilirubin
A bilirubin test measures the amount of bilirubin in a blood sample. Bilirubin is a brownish yellow substance found in bile. It is produced when the liver breaks down old red blood cells. Bilirubin is then removed from the body through the stool...

Bowel Disease: Caring for Your Ostomy
Caring for your ostomy is an important part of maintaining your quality of life. You will need to: Empty your pouch as needed. Replace your pouching system as needed (usually every 3 to 7 days). This may include measuring your stoma (the exposed...

Bowel Disease: Changing Your Diet
Covers following an eating plan for inflammatory bowel disease. Helps you learn more about how to eat so you can manage your symptoms but still get the nutrition you need. Looks at common problem foods.

Bowel Movements in Babies
You may be surprised at the number of diapers your newborn goes through every day. Many newborns have at least 1 or 2 bowel movements a day. By the end of the first week, your baby may have as many as 5 to 10 a day. Your baby may pass a stool after...

Bowel Obstruction
Looks at causes and symptoms of small-bowel and large-bowel obstructions. Covers exams and tests to diagnose it. Covers treatment with enemas or stents. Discusses when surgery may be needed.

Bowel Resection
Discusses surgical treatment of digestive system problems by removing diseased or damaged part of the colon (bowel resection). Includes laparoscopic surgery. Covers what to expect after surgery. Discusses risks.

Bowel Resection for Colorectal Cancer
Resection is another name for any operation that removes tissue or part of an organ. Bowel resection for colorectal cancer, also called partial colectomy, removes the tumor. To make sure that only healthy tissue is left, the doctor removes a small...

Bowel Transit Time
A bowel transit time test measures how long it takes for food to travel through the digestive tract. After you chew and swallow your food, it moves into your stomach, where it is mixed with acid and digestive enzymes. After your food leaves your...

Campylobacteriosis
Campylobacteriosis is food poisoning caused by the campylobacter bacterium. It is one of the most common causes of diarrhea in the United States, affecting more than 2.4 million people every year. Campylobacteriosis occurs much more often...

Cancer: Home Treatment for Diarrhea
Home treatment may be all that is needed to treat diarrhea caused by cancer or the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Be sure to follow any instructions and take any medicines your doctor has given you to treat diarrhea. Check with...

Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, and Blood Sugar
The body uses three main nutrients to function— carbohydrate, protein, and fat. These nutrients are digested into simpler compounds. Carbohydrates are used for energy (glucose). Fats are used for energy after they are broken into fatty acids....

Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA)
The carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test measures the amount of this protein that may appear in the blood of some people who have certain kinds of cancers, especially cancer of the large intestine (colon and rectal cancer). It may also be present in...

Cardiac Cachexia
Cardiac cachexia is unintentional severe weight loss caused by heart disease. The weight loss might be life-threatening. It can happen to people who have severe heart failure. Even with a very good appetite and high calorie intake, some people lose...

Caregiving: Using a Bedside Commode (Toilet)
A bedside commode is a portable toilet. If you are helping a loved one use a bedside commode, try to be relaxed. Helping with a commode can be embarrassing for both of you. This may be especially true if you are caring for someone of the opposite...

Causes of Bleeding in the Digestive Tract
Causes of bleeding in the stomach and intestines (digestive tract) include: Regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen. These medicines can irritate the stomach lining and cause an ulcer. Inflammatory...

Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a problem some people have with foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a type of protein. It's found in the grains wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a wheat-rye cross). People can have a food intolerance to gluten but not have...

Celiac Disease Antibodies
Celiac disease is a problem that happens when gluten in food causes your immune system to attack the lining of your small intestine. As part of this mistaken attack, your immune system creates certain proteins called antibodies. If your doctor...

Celiac Disease: Eating a Gluten-Free Diet
Celiac disease is a problem some people have with foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a type of protein found in the grains wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a wheat-rye cross). When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, it triggers an immune...

Childhood Liver Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Childhood liver cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the liver. The liver is one of the largest organs in the body. It has two lobes and fills the upper right side of the abdomen inside the rib cage. Three of the many important functions of the liver are: To filter harmful...

Childhood Salivary Gland Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Salivary gland cancer is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the salivary glands. The salivary glands make saliva and release it into the mouth. Saliva has enzymes that help digest food and antibodies that help protect against infections of the mouth and throat. There are 3 pairs of...

Chloride (Cl)
A chloride test measures the level of chloride in your blood or urine. Chloride is one of the most important electrolytes in the blood. It helps keep the amount of fluid inside and outside of your cells in balance. It also helps maintain proper...

Cholecystitis
Cholecystitis is inflammation of the gallbladder, a small organ near the liver that plays a part in digesting food. Normally, fluid called bile passes out of the gallbladder on its way to the small intestine. If the flow of bile is blocked, it...

Cholera Vaccine: What You Need to Know
Cholera is a disease that can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting. If it isn't treated quickly, it can lead to dehydration and even death. About 100,000-130,000 people are thought to die from cholera each year, almost all of them in countries where...

Chronic Constipation
Some people are constipated for weeks, months, or years, and others have bouts of constipation that come and go over long periods of time. Chronic constipation may have many causes, including: Diet, especially if you do not include enough fruits,...

Chronic Pancreatitis: Pain Management
Pain is a frustrating, sometimes debilitating aspect of ongoing (chronic) pancreatitis. Many people have pain for many years. Pain may decrease as the damaged pancreas loses its ability to produce enzymes. But it may take years for the pancreas to...

Cirrhosis
Discusses serious condition in which scarring damages the liver. Looks at causes, including heavy alcohol use, autoimmune chronic hepatitis, and chronic viral hepatitis. Covers symptoms like fluid buildup in the belly called ascites. Discusses transplant.

Cirrhosis Complications: Encephalopathy
When the liver has been damaged by cirrhosis, it may not be able to filter poisons from the bloodstream, especially substances in the blood produced by bacteria in the large intestine. As a result, these substances (which include ammonia) may build...

Cirrhosis Complications: Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis
People who have cirrhosis are at risk for an infection in the fluid (ascites) that builds up in the abdominal cavity. Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) is an infection of ascitic fluid that occurs without warning or a clear cause. SBP most...

Cirrhosis Complications: Variceal Bleeding
In people who have cirrhosis, high blood pressure in the veins that carry blood from the intestines to the liver (portal hypertension) causes many problems. One serious complication of portal hypertension is variceal bleeding. When blood pressure...

Cirrhosis: Beta-Blockers for Portal Hypertension and Varices
In people who have cirrhosis, portal hypertension causes many problems. One serious complication is bleeding of enlarged veins, or varices, in the digestive tract (variceal bleeding). When the buildup of scar tissue caused by cirrhosis reduces the...

Cirrhosis: Surgical Shunts for Portal Hypertension
Shunt surgeries are designed to redirect the flow of blood or abdominal fluid through other areas of the body. Shunts are rarely used because of the complications they may cause. They are done only in medical centers where the surgeon is experienced...

Cirrhosis: Vasoconstrictor Medicines for Variceal Bleeding
Medicines that constrict small blood vessels and reduce blood flow to the portal vein are used to treat sudden (acute) bleeding from enlarged veins (varices) in the digestive tract (variceal bleeding). Octreotide is the main medicine used in the...

Cleaning Up Diarrhea
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you wear disposable gloves when cleaning up diarrhea or other body fluids. You may wear reusable rubber gloves if you wash and disinfect them after each use. If you don't have...

Clostridium Difficile Colitis
Discusses C. difficile bacteria that cause swelling and irritation of the large intestine, or colon. Looks at how you may get Clostridium difficile colitis if you take antibiotics. Covers treatment with medicine such as metronidazole.

Clostridium Difficile Toxins
Clostridium difficile( C. difficile) are bacteria that live in your large intestine, or colon, all the time. They usually don't cause problems. But sometimes, something causes the bacteria to grow. When there are too many of them, they release...

Colon Cancer Genetic Testing
Discusses blood test that can tell you if you carry rare changed genes that can cause colon cancer, also called colorectal cancer. Covers familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). Looks at colonoscopy screening. Discusses risks. Includes genetic counseling.

Colon Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Colon cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the colon. The colon is part of the body's digestive system. The digestive system removes and processes nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water) from foods and helps pass waste material out of the body. The...

Colon Polyps
Discusses colon polyps. Covers causes and symptoms. Covers screening tests such as fecal occult blood test (FOBT) and colonoscopy. Looks at treatment choices. Covers risks. Offers prevention tips like staying at a healthy weight, limiting alcohol, and quitting smoking.

Colonoscopy
Describes colonoscopy, a screening test that examines the lining of the large intestine. Explains that the test is done to look for polyps in the colon or rectum and to check for colorectal cancer. Discusses preparing for the test and how it is done.

Colorectal Cancer
Discusses testing and diagnosis of colorectal cancer. Covers polyps, small growths inside the colon or rectum. Includes when screening tests such as colonoscopy should be done. Discusses treatment with surgery and chemotherapy. Offers prevention tips.

Colorectal Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Prevention - Patient Information [NCI]
Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by cancer. To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective...

Colorectal Cancer Screening
Screening tests for colorectal cancer look for signs of cancer before you have symptoms. Screening tests for colorectal cancer include: Stool tests that can be done at home. They include: FIT (fecal immunochemical test). This test checks for signs...

Colorectal Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Patient Information [NCI]
Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread. Scientists are trying to better understand which people are more likely to...

Colorectal Cancer, Metastatic or Recurrent
Discusses colon and rectal cancers that return after treatment or that spread to other parts of the body. Looks at symptoms. Discusses treatment with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

Colorectal Cancer: Which Screening Test Should I Have?
Guides you through choosing a test to check for colorectal cancer. Looks at symptoms of colorectal cancer. Covers stool tests, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and virtual colonoscopy. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Colostomy for Colorectal Cancer
After a surgeon has removed the diseased part of your bowel during an operation called a bowel resection, he or she will then sew the two healthy ends of your bowel back together. Sometimes the bowel tissue needs more time to heal before the...

Common Types of Hernias
Provides information on common hernias, including abdominal, incisional, and umbilical hernias. Briefly covers symptoms and treatment with surgery.

Complications of Peptic Ulcer
Complications of peptic ulcer may include bleeding, perforation, penetration, or obstruction. Peptic ulcers sometimes bleed. Sometimes an ulcer may involve just the surface lining of the digestive tract. The person may then have a slow but constant...

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
A comprehensive metabolic panel is a blood test that measures your sugar (glucose) level, electrolyte and fluid balance, kidney function, and liver function. Glucose is a type of sugar your body uses for energy. Electrolytes keep your body's fluids...

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan of the Body
A computed tomography (CT) scan uses X-rays to make detailed pictures of structures inside of the body. During the test, you will lie on a table that is attached to the CT scanner, which is a large doughnut-shaped machine. The CT scanner sends...

Constipation in Children
Constipation occurs when stools become hard and are difficult to pass. A child may cry because he or she is constipated. A crying episode usually occurs while the child is trying to pass a stool and normally will stop when the stool is passed. Some...

Constipation, Age 11 and Younger
Discusses constipation in those 11 and younger. Covers normal patterns of bowel movements. Covers hard stools and if and when children should be given laxatives. Offers home treatment tips. Includes interactive tool to help you decide when to call a doctor.

Constipation, Age 12 and Older
Describes constipation in those 12 and older. Covers symptoms, including few bowel movements, straining, and passing hard stools. Discusses treatment, including diet and use of laxatives. Includes interactive tool to help you decide when to call a doctor.

Constipation: Keeping Your Bowels Healthy
For healthy bowels, avoid constipation. You can: Include fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains in your diet each day. These foods are high in fiber. Drink plenty of fluids, enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water. Get...

Crohn's Disease
Discusses Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel disease. Covers symptoms, which include diarrhea and abdominal pain. Discusses treatment with medicines, including corticosteroids, immunomodulators, and biologics. Also covers treatment with surgery.

Crohn's Disease: Problems Outside the Digestive Tract
Sometimes symptoms of Crohn's disease can develop outside the digestive tract in other parts of the body (systemic symptoms), including the eyes, liver, blood, and bones. These systemic symptoms suggest that the immune system is involved in Crohn's...

Crohn's Disease: When Surgery Is Needed
Surgery for Crohn's disease usually is needed if ongoing symptoms do not respond to medicine or if side effects of medicine cause other serious problems. Surgery may be needed when you have: Bowel blockage (obstruction). Abscesses or tears...

Cryptosporidium
Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrheal disease caused by the Cryptosporidium parvum parasite, also referred to as "Crypto." Crypto lives in the intestine of infected animals and humans and is passed through stool. Crypto is primarily transmitted by...

D-Xylose Absorption Test
The D-xylose absorption test measures the level of D-xylose, a type of sugar, in a blood or urine sample. This test is done to help diagnose problems that prevent the small intestine from absorbing nutrients in food. D-xylose is normally easily...

Dementia: Bladder and Bowel Problems
Loss of bladder and bowel control (incontinence) can sometimes result from Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Several strategies may help you deal with this problem: Encourage the person to use the bathroom on a regular schedule, such as every...

Dengue Fever
Dengue (say "DEN-gay") fever is a disease caused by a virus that is carried by mosquitos. Mild cases cause a rash and flu-like symptoms. Some people, especially children, can get more serious forms of the illness, known as dengue hemorrhagic fever...

Diabetes and Constipation or Diarrhea
Diabetes is a disease in which the body either does not produce or is unable to use the hormone insulin properly. The pancreas produces insulin, which helps the body use sugar (glucose) from foods. If the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, or...

Diabetes: How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy
A colonoscopy is a test that lets a doctor look inside your colon. The doctor uses a thin, lighted tube called a colonoscope to look for small growths (called polyps), cancer, and other problems like bleeding. During the test, the doctor can take...

Diarrhea, Age 11 and Younger
Discusses diarrhea in those 11 and younger. Covers causes such as infection or inflammatory bowel disease. Offers home treatment tips. Discusses signs of dehydration. Includes interactive tool to help you decide when to call a doctor.

Diarrhea, Age 12 and Older
Discusses diarrhea in older children and adults. Covers causes and symptoms such as abdominal pain and black or bloody stools. Offers home treatment tips. Discusses signs of dehydration. Includes interactive tool to help you decide when to call a doctor.

Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia)
Difficulty swallowing is also called dysphagia. It is usually a sign of a problem with your throat or esophagus —the muscular tube that moves food and liquids from the back of your mouth to your stomach. Although dysphagia can happen to anyone, it...

Digestion
Provides links to information about digestion and digestive health. Includes info about heartburn, constipation, gas and bloating, ulcers, diverticulitis, and gallstones.

Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)
A digital (finger) rectal examination is done to check for problems with organs or other structures in the pelvis and lower belly. During the examination, the doctor gently puts a lubricated, gloved finger of one hand into the rectum. He or she may...

Diverticular Bleeding
Briefly discusses diverticular bleeding. Explains what diverticular bleeding is. Looks at causes, and symptoms such as severe rectal bleeding. Covers treatment options. Offers prevention tips, including eating a high-fiber diet.

Diverticulitis
Includes info on diverticulitis, a condition in which pouches form in the colon and get inflamed or infected. Discusses symptoms and possible complications. Covers treatment with changes to your diet, medicine, or surgery. Offers prevention tips.

Diverticulosis
Looks at causes and symptoms of diverticulosis. Explains what diverticulosis is and how it is treated. Covers painful diverticular disease. Offers home treatment and prevention tips, including eating more dietary fiber.

Dyspepsia
Dyspepsia is a common condition and usually describes a group of symptoms rather than one predominant symptom. These symptoms include: Belly pain or discomfort. Bloating. Feeling uncomfortably full after eating. Nausea. Loss of appetite. Heartburn....

E. Coli Infection From Food or Water
E. coli ( Escherichia coli) is the name of a germ, or bacterium, that lives in the digestive tracts of humans and animals. There are many types of E. coli, and most of them are harmless. But some can cause bloody diarrhea. Some strains of E. coli...

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP)
An endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP) test checks the tubes (ducts) that drain the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. A flexible, lighted scope (endoscope) and X-ray pictures are used. The scope is put through the mouth and gently...

Endoscopic Treatment for Variceal Bleeding Caused by Cirrhosis
In people who have cirrhosis, high pressure in the veins that carry blood from the intestines to the liver (portal hypertension) causes many problems. Variceal bleeding —bleeding from enlarged veins (varices) in the digestive tract—is an extremely...

Environmental Illness
An environmental illness can occur when you are exposed to toxins or substances in the environment that make you sick. These health hazards may be found where you live, work, or play. Maybe you have headaches that only occur on weekends. Or maybe...

Eosinophilic Esophagitis
Esophagitis (say "ee-sof-uh-JY-tus") is irritation or inflammation the esophagus. This is the tube that carries food from your throat to your stomach. In eosinophilic (say "ee-uh-sin-uh-FILL-ick") esophagitis, the irritation is caused by white blood...

Esophageal Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Prevention - Patient Information [NCI]
Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by cancer. To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective...

Esophageal Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Patient Information [NCI]
Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread. Scientists are trying to better understand which people are more likely to...

Esophageal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Esophageal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the esophagus. The esophagus is the hollow, muscular tube that moves food and liquid from the throat to the stomach. The wall of the esophagus is made up of several layers of tissue, including mucous membrane, muscle, and connective...

Esophageal Spasm
Normally, contractions of the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth and the stomach) move food from the mouth to the stomach with a regular, coordinated rhythm. Esophageal spasm means that contractions of the esophagus are irregular,...

Esophagitis
Esophagitis is irritation or inflammation of the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that carries food from your throat to your stomach. Esophagitis can be painful and can make it hard to swallow. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is the...

Esophagus Tests
Your esophagus is the tube that connects your throat to your stomach. It moves food and liquid down to the stomach. Esophagus tests can check how well the muscles in the tube work, how strong the tube is, and the pH (acid content) of the tube. They...

Feeding Your Premature Infant
If your premature infant was born before the gestational age of 32 to 34 weeks, he or she cannot feed by mouth. This is because of: Poor coordination (or lack) of sucking, swallowing, and gag reflex. Weakness of both the oral and stomach muscles....

Following a Low-Fiber Diet
A low-fiber diet contains foods that don't create much waste (stool). This diet slows down your bowels and gives them a chance to rest. Fiber is the part of plants that your body can't digest. It gives bulk to your diet and helps you feel full. It...

Food Poisoning and Safe Food Handling
This topic is about many different types of food poisoning. You can also see the topics E. Coli Infection and Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy. Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating foods that have harmful organisms in them. These harmful...

Fructose or Sorbitol Intolerance
Fructose and sorbitol are two sugars that often are added to processed foods and medicines to make them taste sweet. Fructose can be found in soda pop and many fruit juice drinks. Sorbitol is found in diet products, chewing gum, candy, frozen ice...

Fulminant Hepatitis
People who have fulminant hepatitis typically develop the symptoms seen in viral hepatitis. Then they rapidly develop severe, often life-threatening liver failure. This can happen within hours, days, or sometimes weeks. Symptoms of severe liver...

Fundoplication Surgery for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
During fundoplication surgery, the upper curve of the stomach (the fundus) is wrapped around the esophagus and sewn into place so that the lower portion of the esophagus passes through a small tunnel of stomach muscle. This surgery strengthens the...

GERD: Controlling Heartburn by Changing Your Habits
Symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can be painful and, if allowed to continue, can lead to complications including esophagitis. Esophagitis is irritation or inflammation of the esophagus. You can make changes to your lifestyle to...

GERD: Esophageal Erosion and Ulcers
The backup, or reflux, of stomach acids and juices into the esophagus that occurs with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can wear away (erode) the lining of the esophagus and cause sores, called ulcers. GERD is caused when stomach acid and...

GERD: Which Treatment Should I Use?
Guides you through decision to use medicine or surgery to treat GERD. Covers medicines like antacids and esomeprazole (Nexium). Discusses laparoscopic surgery. Looks at pros and cons of each. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Gallbladder Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Gallbladder cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the gallbladder. Gallbladder cancer is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the tissues of the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that lies just under the liver in the upper abdomen. The...

Gallbladder Scan
Discusses nuclear scanning test done to evaluate gallbladder function. Covers how to prepare for test and how it is done, including use of radioactive tracer substance. Includes info on risks and what test results may mean.

Gallstone Symptoms: When Surgery Is Needed
Several conditions or situations may require surgery to remove the gallbladder. Surgery usually is needed when: Your gallbladder suddenly becomes inflamed or infected (cholecystitis). Gallstones cause repeated attacks of pain. You have growths...

Gallstones
Discusses gallstones, which are hard stones in the gallbladder. Covers causes and symptoms. Discusses what increases your risk and offers prevention tips. Covers treatment options, including bile acid, lithotripsy, ERCP, and laparoscopic and open surgery.

Gallstones: Should I Have Gallbladder Surgery?
Guides through the decision to have surgery to remove the gallbladder. Includes info on open and laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Lists benefits and risks of surgery. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Gas (Flatus)
Gas (flatus) is made in the stomach and intestines as your body breaks down food into energy. All people pass gas, some people more than others. It is normal to pass gas from 6 to 20 times per day. Common causes of gas include: Swallowed air. If...

Gas, Bloating, and Burping
Gas (flatus), burping, and bloating are all normal conditions. Gas is made in the stomach and intestines as your body breaks down food into energy. Gas and burping may sometimes be embarrassing. Bloating, which is a feeling of fullness in the...

Gas, Burping, or Bloating That Begins After Eating or Drinking
Gas, burping, or bloating is common after you swallow air, eat foods that cause gas, or drink carbonated beverages. This is normal and usually can be helped by making some simple changes. The amount of gas that different foods cause varies from...

Gastric Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Gastric cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lining of the stomach. The stomach is a J-shaped organ in the upper abdomen. It is part of the digestive system, which processes nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water) in foods that are eaten and helps pass waste...

Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Looks at sleeve gastrectomy, a type of weight-loss surgery for obesity. Explains what it is and why it is done. Looks at how it is done and what to expect after surgery. Also covers risks.

Gastrin
A gastrin test measures the level of the hormone gastrin in the blood. Gastrin is produced by cells, called G cells, in the stomach lining. When food enters the stomach, G cells trigger the release of gastrin in the blood. As blood levels of gastrin...

Gastritis
Gastritis is an upset stomach. It happens when something irritates the stomach lining. Normally, a layer of mucus protects the stomach lining. If gastritis occurs for a long time, part of this lining may wear away, causing sores called ulcers....

Gastroenteritis in Adults and Older Children
Discusses gastroenteritis (also called stomach flu) caused by a virus or bacteria. Covers symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever. Offers home treatment tips. Also offers prevention tips. Covers when you should seek care.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Discusses gastroesophageal reflux disease. Covers main symptom of heartburn, caused by stomach acid and juices flowing from the stomach back into the esophagus. Covers treatment with medicines and surgery. Offers tips on lifestyle changes to help manage GERD.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) During Pregnancy
Most pregnant women have symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), especially heartburn, at some point. These symptoms may start at any time during a pregnancy. And they often get worse throughout the pregnancy. Heartburn is common when...

Gastroesophageal Reflux in Babies and Children
Gastroesophageal reflux happens when food and stomach acid flow from the stomach back into the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. In adults, reflux is often called heartburn or acid reflux. Reflux...

Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
A gastrointestinal carcinoid tumor is cancer that forms in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is part of the body's digestive system. It helps to digest food, takes nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water) from food to be used by the body and helps...

Gastrointestinal Complications (PDQ®): Supportive care - Patient Information [NCI]
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is part of the digestive system, which processes nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water) in foods that are eaten and helps pass waste material out of the body. The GI tract includes the stomach and intestines (bowels). The stomach is a J-shaped organ in...

Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Gastrointestinal stromal tumor is a disease in which abnormal cells form in the tissues of the gastrointestinal tract. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is part of the body's digestive system. It helps to digest food and takes nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water) from food so they can...

Gastroparesis
After a meal, the stomach normally empties in 1½ to 2 hours. When you have gastroparesis, your stomach takes a lot longer to empty. The delay results in bothersome and possibly serious symptoms because digestion is altered. Bezoar is a fairly rare...

Getting Enough Fiber
Eating a high-fiber diet is thought to help prevent constipation and its related problems. It may lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and help control blood sugar levels. And it may help with reaching and staying at a healthy weight....

Giardiasis
Giardiasis (say "jee-ar-DYE-uh-sus") is an infection of the intestines caused by the parasiteGiardia lamblia. The illness, also called giardia (say "jee-AR-dee-uh"), is most often a problem in undeveloped countries where tap water is not safe. You...

Groin Problems and Injuries
Discusses groin problems and injuries. Looks at acute injuries, hernias, rashes, and other groin problems in children. Covers signs and symptoms. Offers home treatment and prevention tips. Covers emergencies such as severe pain and signs of shock.

HELLP Syndrome and Preeclampsia
HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening liver disorder thought to be a type of severe preeclampsia. It is characterized by Hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells), Elevated Liver enzymes (which indicate liver damage), and Low Platelet count. HELLP...

Heartburn
Covers heartburn and when symptoms may be caused by a more serious problem like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Offers home treatment and prevention tips. Discusses emergencies. Includes interactive tool to help you decide when to call a doctor.

Heartburn Symptom Record
Record Answer questions Date and time of day: ________ Date and time of day: ________ Date and time of day: ________ Symptoms What were your symptoms? How long did the heartburn last? Do you have any other symptoms, such as asthma, hoarseness, or...

Heartburn: Changing Your Eating Habits
You can make changes to your eating habits to help relieve your symptoms of heartburn. Here are some things to try: It's best to eat several small meals instead of two or three large meals. After you eat, wait 2 to 3 hours before you lie down....

Helicobacter Pylori Bacteria
Helicobacter pylori is a type of bacteria that is a major cause of stomach (gastric) and upper small intestine (duodenal) ulcers. Infection with H. pylori may also increase the risk of stomach cancer. H. pylori bacteria can cause ulcers by growing...

Helicobacter Pylori Tests
Helicobacter pylori tests are used to detect a Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection in the stomach and upper part of the small intestine (duodenum). H. pylori can cause peptic ulcers. But most people with H. pylori in their digestive systems do...

Hemorrhoidectomy for Hemorrhoids
Covers hemorrhoidectomy, surgery to remove hemorrhoids. Covers when and why it is done. Also covers how it is done, recovery, and home treatment after surgery. Includes info on common and rare risks.

Hemorrhoids
Discusses hemorrhoids. Covers causes like constipation. Also covers symptoms, including rectal itching or bleeding. Discusses what increases your risk and offers prevention tips. Includes info on home treatment and medical procedures like hemorrhoidectomy.

Hemorrhoids: Which Treatment Should I Use?
Guides you through decision to treat hemorrhoids. Looks at home remedies and other treatment options including rubber band ligation, coagulation, and hemorrhoidectomy. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a virus that can infect the liver. In most cases, the infection goes away on its own and doesn't lead to long-term liver problems. In rare cases, it can be more serious. Other viruses (hepatitis B and hepatitis C) also can cause...

Hepatitis A Vaccine: What You Need to Know
Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease. It is caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is spread from person to person through contact with the feces (stool) of people who are infected, which can easily happen if someone does not wash his or her...

Hepatitis A Virus Test
The hepatitis A virus test is a blood test that shows whether you have a hepatitis A infection. The test looks for antibodies made by the body to fight the virus. They will be in your blood if you have a hepatitis A infection now or have had one in...

Hepatitis A and Undercooked Shellfish
Eating raw shellfish, especially oysters, may put you at risk for hepatitis A. Bivalves such as oysters and clams filter large amounts of water when feeding. If shellfish are living in water that has been contaminated with stool containing the...

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a virus that infects the liver. Most adults who get it have it for a short time and then get better. This is called acute hepatitis B. Sometimes the virus causes a long-term infection, called chronic hepatitis B. Over time, it can...

Hepatitis B Treatment Recommendations
The American Association for the Study of Liver Disease has made recommendations for treating long-term (chronic) hepatitis B. These recommendations are based on the presence of hepatitis B antigens in your blood, the level of hepatitis B viral DNA...

Hepatitis B Vaccine: What You Need to Know
Hepatitis B is a serious disease that affects the liver. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis B can cause mild illness lasting a few weeks, or it can lead to a serious, lifelong illness. Hepatitis B virus infection can be either...

Hepatitis B Virus Tests
Covers hepatitis B virus (HBV) tests that check for hepatitis B infection. Looks at most common HBV tests. Explains how tests are done and how to prepare for them. Looks at other tests that show how well the liver is working. Covers test results.

Hepatitis B and C: Risk of Liver Cancer
People who are infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C (HCV) virus may develop a chronic infection that can lead to cirrhosis. The damage that results increases the risk of liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma). If you have chronic...

Hepatitis B: How to Avoid Spreading the Virus
The following tips can help you prevent the spread of the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Inform the people you live with and/or have sex with about your illness as soon as possible. If you have long-term (chronic) HBV infection, you can infect others with...

Hepatitis B: Postvaccination Test for Immunity
A postvaccination test for immunity to the hepatitis B virus (HBV) is recommended only if you: Have an impaired immune system. This can be caused by many things, such as infection with HIV or the use of medicines to prevent organ rejection. Are...

Hepatitis B: Should I Be Tested?
Guides through decision to be tested for hepatitis B. Explains hepatitis B and discusses causes and lifestyles that put you at higher risk. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Hepatitis B: Should I Take Antiviral Medicine for Chronic Hepatitis B?
Guides you through the decision to take antiviral drugs for chronic hepatitis B. Covers treatment with interferons and nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Lists side effects. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Hepatitis C
Discusses hepatitis C, a disease caused by a virus that infects the liver. Covers causes and symptoms. Includes info on the two phases, acute and chronic. Includes info on cirrhosis. Covers treatment with antiviral medicines and surgery.

Hepatitis C Virus Tests
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) test is a blood test that looks for the genetic material (RNA) of the virus that causes hepatitis or for the proteins (antibodies) the body makes against HCV. These proteins will be present in your blood if you have a...

Hepatitis C: Your Risk for Cirrhosis
Up to 85% of people who are infected with the hepatitis C virus will develop long-term (chronic) infection. About 25% of people who have chronic hepatitis C will go on to develop cirrhosis —severe liver damage and scarring—after a period...

Hepatitis D
Infection with the hepatitis D virus (HDV), or delta agent, occurs only in people who are already infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HDV infection may make HBV infection more severe. In people who have long-term (chronic) HBV infection, HDV...

Hepatitis E
Hepatitis E is a virus that can infect the liver. Unlike other forms of hepatitis, the hepatitis E virus usually doesn't lead to long-term illness or serious liver damage. Most people get well within a few months. People usually get hepatitis E by...

Hepatitis Panel
Covers blood test used to find markers of hepatitis infection. Lists types of hepatitis panels. Includes links for more info on hepatitis A, B, and C virus tests.

Hiatal Hernia
Discusses three main types of hiatal hernia: sliding, paraesophageal, and mixed. Covers symptoms such as heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Looks at treatment with lifestyle changes, medicines, and sometimes surgery.

Hiccups
Hiccups occur when a spasm contracts the diaphragm, a large sheet of muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. This spasm causes an intake of breath that is suddenly stopped by the closure of the vocal cords (glottis). This...

Hidden Gluten
Gluten is a protein found in some grains, notably wheat, barley, and rye. Some foods and food products may contain gluten even when it is not specifically listed as an ingredient. The following foods and food products may have hidden gluten: Ice...

Hirschsprung's Disease
Hirschsprung's disease is a birth defect that affects the nerve cells in the large intestine. These nerve cells control the muscles that normally push food and waste through the large intestine. In babies who have Hirschsprung's disease, the muscles...

Ileoanal Anastomosis for Ulcerative Colitis
This surgery is done to treat ulcerative colitis. The doctor removes all of the large intestine (colon) and the diseased lining of the rectum. This surgery is also called an ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA). In an ileoanal procedure, the lining...

Incision of External Hemorrhoids
When an external hemorrhoid gets irritated and clots (thrombosed, or clotted, hemorrhoid), a doctor may relieve your pain by removing the contents of the clot. The doctor will use a medicine to numb the anal area (local anesthetic). Then he or she...

Infant Formulas
Infant formula is a nutritional product that is made from processed cow's milk or soybean products. Special processing makes cow's-milk formula more digestible and less likely to cause an allergic reaction than regular cow's milk. Vitamins and...

Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Cancer Risk
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) increases the risk of colon cancer. The amount of increased risk depends on the type of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease of the colon), how much of the intestine is involved, and how...

Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Enteral or Total Parenteral Nutrition
The following nutritional treatments may be used for inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease). Enteral nutrition is a fluid given through a tube that is inserted into the nose, down the throat, and into the stomach. This...

Infrared Photocoagulation for Hemorrhoids
Has info on infrared photocoagulation, a procedure in which an intense beam of infrared light is used to cause scar tissue, which cuts off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid. Covers how well it works and risks. Covers what to expect after the procedure.

Inguinal Hernia
Provides information on hernias. Focuses on inguinal hernias. Briefly describes femoral and abdominal wall hernias. Covers symptoms and treatment with surgery.

Inguinal Hernia: Should I Have Surgery Now, or Should I Wait?
Guides you through decision to have inguinal hernia surgery. Looks at the two types of surgery for treatment. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Intraoperative Cholangiogram
During surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy), you may have a procedure called intraoperative cholangiogram. The doctor places a small tube called a catheter into the cystic duct, which drains bile from the gallbladder into the common...

Intussusception
Intussusception means that one part of the intestine has folded into itself, like a telescope. This can happen anywhere along the intestinal tract. It usually happens between the lower part of the small intestine and the beginning of the large...

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Discusses disorder of intestines that causes symptoms such as belly pain, cramping or bloating, and diarrhea or constipation. Covers treatment by avoiding foods that trigger symptoms, getting regular exercise, and managing stress. Includes medicines.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Controlling Symptoms With Diet
Covers controlling irritable bowel syndrome with diet. Discusses limiting foods that may make symptoms like bloating or diarrhea worse. Explains importance of adding fiber to your diet, drinking plenty of water, and getting regular exercise.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Criteria for Diagnosis
Experts on digestive diseases developed these criteria, known as the Rome III criteria, to help doctors determine whether symptoms are caused by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). You meet the Rome III criteria for IBS if your symptoms began at least 6...

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Should I Have Tests for IBS Symptoms?
Guides you through decision to have tests when you have IBS symptoms. Covers kinds of tests that may be done and what tests results might mean. Lists reasons for and against tests. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Lactic Acid Dehydrogenase (LDH)
Discusses test to help diagnose lung disease, lymphoma, anemia, liver disease, and also to see how well chemotherapy is working during treatment for lymphoma. Looks at possible results.

Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance means the body cannot easily digest lactose, a type of natural sugar found in milk and dairy products. This is not the same thing as a food allergy to milk. When lactose moves through the large intestine (colon) without being...

Laparoscopic Gallbladder Surgery for Gallstones
Discusses cholecystectomy, surgery to remove the gallbladder. Covers how it is done and how well it gets rid of gallstones. Also covers risks associated with laparoscopic surgery.

Laparoscopic Surgery
Laparoscopy (say "lap-uh-ROSS-kuh-pee") is surgery that is done through small cuts (incisions) in your belly. To do this type of surgery, a doctor puts a lighted tube, or scope, and other surgical tools through small incisions in your belly. The...

Laparoscopy
Laparoscopy is a surgery that uses a thin, lighted tube put through a cut (incision) in the belly to look at the abdominal organs or the female pelvic organs. Laparoscopy is used to find problems such as cysts, adhesions, fibroids, and infection....

Laxatives
A laxative is a substance that helps you have a bowel movement. Laxatives are used to relieve and prevent constipation, which occurs when it is difficult to have a bowel movement. There are four types of products for preventing or treating...

Lipase
A lipase test measures the amount of this enzyme in a blood sample. High amounts of lipase may be found in the blood when the pancreas is damaged or when the tube leading from the pancreas (pancreatic duct) to the beginning of the small intestine is...

Liposuction
Liposuction removes fat from your body using suction. During liposuction, small, thin, blunt-tipped tubes (cannula) are inserted through tiny cuts in the skin. Fat is suctioned out through these tubes as the doctor moves the tubes around under the...

Listeriosis
Listeriosis is food poisoning caused by eating foods contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes ( L. monocytogenes) bacterium. In pregnant women, the infection can result in miscarriage, premature delivery, serious infection of the newborn, or...

Liver (Hepatocellular) Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Prevention - Patient Information [NCI]
Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by cancer. To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective...

Liver (Hepatocellular) Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Patient Information [NCI]
Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread. Scientists are trying to better understand which people are more likely to...

Liver Biopsy
Explains liver biopsy, also called percutaneous liver biopsy, a test used to look for liver diseases like hepatitis, cirrhosis, hemochromatosis, or cancer. Covers how to prepare and what to expect. Includes what results mean. Also lists risks.

Liver Function Panel
Briefly discusses liver function panel, a blood test to check for liver disease. Offers links to info on other tests that check for problems with the liver.

Liver Function Tests
Covers blood tests to find out if your liver is damaged or inflamed. Discusses tests that measure bilirubin, albumin, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and aspartate aminotransferase (AST). Discusses other possible tests to confirm diagnosis of hepatitis C.

Liver Resection
Liver resection is the surgical removal of part of the liver. This operation is for some types of liver cancer and for certain cases of metastatic colorectal cancer. Up to half of your liver can be removed as long as the rest is healthy. During a...

Liver and Spleen Scan
Discusses nuclear scan to look at liver and spleen for problems. Explains how to prepare for the test, how it is done, and risks. Discusses results and what affects the tests. Looks at other tests that may be done.

Living With More Than One Health Problem
Many people have more than one long-term (chronic) health problem. You may be one of them. For example, you may have high blood pressure and diabetes, or you may have high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart failure. When you have more than one...

Living With an Ostomy
It takes time to adjust to an ostomy. But you will be able to work, participate in sports and physical activities, be intimate with your partner, and resume your social life after an ostomy. Most medicine is absorbed in the small intestine. If you...

Lung Transplant for Cystic Fibrosis
Lung transplant is an option for a few people who have severe lung problems that are caused by cystic fibrosis. The procedure removes the diseased lungs and replaces them with healthy lungs from a recently deceased donor. Sometimes a procedure...

Magnetic Resonance Cholangiogram
A magnetic resonance cholangiogram (MRC) is a test that can help doctors look for problems in the belly. The image is done from outside the body. No instruments are inserted in the body. Doctors can use MRC to find gallstones before surgery to...

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Discusses test (also called MRI scan) that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. Covers why it is done, how to prepare, and how it is done.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Abdomen
Discusses test (also called MRI scan) that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the belly. Covers why it is done, how to prepare, and how it is done. Discusses results.

Malabsorption Syndrome
Malabsorption syndrome is the inability to absorb nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from the intestinal tract into the bloodstream. Causes may include: Diseases affecting the intestine itself, such as celiac disease. Absence or low levels of certain...

Marine Toxins
Marine toxins are chemicals and bacteria that can contaminate certain types of seafood. Eating the seafood may result in food poisoning. The seafood may look, smell, and taste normal. There are five common types of marine toxins, and they all cause...

Medicines That Can Cause Abdominal Pain
Many prescription and nonprescription medicines can cause belly pain or cramping. A few examples are: Aspirin, ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin), and naproxen (such as Aleve). Antibiotics. Antidiarrheals. Laxatives. Iron supplements. Your health...

Medicines That Can Cause Constipation
Many prescription and nonprescription medicines can cause constipation. Examples include: Antacids. Antidepressants. Some blood pressure medicines. Cold medicines (antihistamines). Calcium and iron supplements. Opioid pain medicines. If you think...

Medicines That Can Cause Diarrhea
Many prescription and nonprescription medicines can cause diarrhea. A few examples are: Antibiotics. Antidepressants. Antacids. Proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole (Prilosec) and lansoprazole (Prevacid). Medicines used to treat cancer...

Medicines That Can Cause Heartburn
Many prescription and nonprescription medicines can cause heartburn. A few examples are: Aspirin, ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin), and naproxen (such as Aleve). Antibiotics. Steroids, such as prednisone. Some heart medicines. Caffeine and...

Medicines That Can Cause Nausea and Vomiting
Many nonprescription and prescription medicines can cause nausea or vomiting. A few examples are: Antibiotics. Antidepressants. Aspirin, ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin), and naproxen (such as Aleve). Medicines used to treat cancer...

Medicines That Can Cause Pancreatitis
In certain cases, medicines may cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). These include: Antibiotics. Medicines that suppress the immune system. Medicines used to treat high blood pressure. Aminosalicylates. Diuretics. Corticosteroids....

Medicines or Vitamins That Can Cause Gas, Bloating, or Burping
Many nonprescription and prescription medicines and supplements can cause gas and bloating. A few examples are: Aspirin. Antacids. Diarrhea medicines, such as Imodium, Kaopectate, and Lomotil. Opioid pain medicines. Fiber supplements and bulking...

Mild, Moderate, or Severe Diarrhea
Diarrhea is described as an increase in the frequency of bowel movements or a decrease in the consistency of stools that causes the discharge of watery, loose stools. The severity of diarrhea is determined by the size and number of stools passed...

Monitoring During Anesthesia
People receiving anesthesia must be carefully watched, because the medicines used for anesthesia affect the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system (airway and lungs). Anesthesia suppresses many of the body's normal...

Motion Sickness
If you've ever been sick to your stomach on a rocking boat or a bumpy airplane ride, you know the discomfort of motion sickness. It doesn't cause long-term problems, but it can make your life miserable, especially if you travel a lot. Children from...

Nausea and Vomiting, Age 11 and Younger
Vomiting occurs when a child's stomach contents are forced up the esophagus and out of the mouth. Although nausea may accompany vomiting in adults and older children, children younger than age 3 are usually not able to tell you if they are having...

Necrotizing Enterocolitis
Necrotizing enterocolitis is infection and inflammation of the intestine. It is most common in babies who are born early (premature). Many newborns who have it go on to live healthy lives. But if the infection becomes severe, it can cause severe...

Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)
Discusses nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is part of a group of diseases called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Covers cirrhosis. Discusses lifestyle changes, including controlling diabetes and high cholesterol and losing weight.

Nonprescription Antacids for Heartburn
Many people take nonprescription antacids for mild or occasional heartburn. Antacids are substances that neutralize some of the stomach acid. Some antacids have a foaming agent (alginate) that floats on top of the stomach's contents. This may reduce...

Noroviruses (Norwalk Viruses)
Noroviruses are also called Norwalk-like viruses and caliciviruses. Noroviruses cause gastroenteritis, food infection, food poisoning, and acute nonbacterial gastroenteritis. Noroviruses typically spread through contaminated water and foods,...

Object Stuck in a Child's Airway
An object can become stuck in the airway at any age but is most common in children younger than age 3. Although a child may not have any symptoms when something is stuck in his or her airway, any of the following symptoms may occur: Rapid, noisy, or...

Object Stuck in the Throat
Sometimes after you swallow a pill it may feel like it "got stuck" or didn't go all the way down. This feeling usually goes away within 30 to 60 minutes if you drink liquids or eat a piece of bread. You may not have any symptoms when something is...

Open Gallbladder Surgery for Gallstones
In open gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy), the surgeon removes the gallbladder through a single, large cut (incision) in the abdomen. You will need general anesthesia, and the surgery lasts 1 to 2 hours. The surgeon will make the incision either...

Open Inguinal Hernia Repair (Herniorrhaphy, Hernioplasty)
Discusses surgery that involves an incision to repair hernias in the groin. Covers why surgery is done and how well it works. Covers risks. Covers things to think about when having hernia repair surgery (herniorrhaphy).

Organ Transplant
Answers questions about organ transplants. Covers becoming an organ donor and getting on a waiting list. Covers tests used to see if you'd be a good candidate. Looks at medicines that you might take after a transplant. Offers tips for staying healthy.

Pain Management
Pain is your body's way of warning you that something is wrong. If you step on a sharp object or put your hand on a hot stove, the pain lets you know right away that you are hurt and need to protect yourself. You may have pain from an injury, after...

Pancreatic Cancer
Describes pancreatic cancer. Talks about symptoms and what tests are used to diagnose it. Provides treatment details. Lists factors that raise your risk.

Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (Islet Cell Tumors) Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors form in hormone-making cells (islet cells) of the pancreas. The pancreas is a gland about 6 inches long that is shaped like a thin pear lying on its side. The wider end of the pancreas is called the head, the middle section is called the body, and the narrow end is called the tail. The...

Pancreatitis
Discusses pancreatitis, inflammation of the pancreas that causes abdominal pain. Discusses most common causes, which include gallstones and alcohol misuse. Covers symptoms and treatment with medicines or surgery to remove the gallbladder.

Paracentesis
Paracentesis is a procedure to take out fluid that has collected in the belly (peritoneal fluid). This fluid buildup is called ascites. Ascites may be caused by infection, inflammation, an injury, or other conditions, such as cirrhosis or cancer....

Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when a pelvic organ—such as your bladder—drops (prolapses) from its normal place in your lower belly and pushes against the walls of your vagina. This can happen when the muscles that hold your pelvic organs in place get...

Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Should I Have Surgery?
Guides through decision to have surgery for pelvic organ prolapse. Explains symptoms and discusses several types of surgeries used for different symptoms. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Peptic Ulcer Disease
A peptic ulcer is a sore in the inner lining of the stomach or upper small intestine. Ulcers form when the intestine or stomach's protective layer is broken down. When this happens, digestive juices—which contain hydrochloric acid and an enzyme...

Perforation
A perforation is a hole in the wall of the digestive tract. A perforation may occur anywhere in the digestive tract and may occur when: A crater-shaped sore (ulcer) erodes through the wall of the stomach or a section of intestine. An infection in...

Pinworms
Pinworms are a type of parasite that lives in the digestive system of humans. They are common throughout the world. Adult pinworms are about 0.5 in. (12.7 mm) long and look like little white threads. Pinworm eggs are so tiny, you'd need a microscope...

Postcholecystectomy Syndrome
Postcholecystectomy syndrome sometimes occurs when abdominal symptoms develop after surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy). About 5% to 40% of people who have the gallbladder removed may experience symptoms. Symptoms of...

Postoperative Problems
Many people do not feel well after surgery. Pain, nausea, and a lack of energy may occur even after a minor surgery. Usually, getting some rest and following the instructions your surgeon gave you will help postoperative problems diminish over time....

Potassium (K) in Blood
Discusses blood test to check level of potassium (K) in blood. Includes info on what affects potassium levels in the body such as kidney function, blood pH, and hormones. Explains how and why test is done. Covers what results mean.

Potassium (K) in Urine
Discusses test to check level of potassium (K) in urine. Includes info on what affects potassium levels in the body such as kidney function, blood pH, and hormones. Explains how and why test is done. Covers what results mean.

Prealbumin Blood Test
This test measures the amount of prealbumin in the blood. Prealbumin is a protein that is made in the liver and released in the blood. It helps carry certain hormones that regulate the way the body uses energy and other substances through the blood....

Pregnancy: Changes in Bowel Habits
Constipation is a common problem during pregnancy. Delayed passage of bowel contents (slow transit) is the most common cause of constipation during pregnancy. You may also have constipation or discomfort with bowel movements for a few days after...

Pregnancy: Hemorrhoids and Constipation
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins at the end of the large intestine (anus). They often stick out from the anus (external hemorrhoids). They can also be located on the inside of the lower intestine (internal hemorrhoids). Bleeding, itching, and pain are...

Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC)
Discusses primary biliary cholangitis (PBC). Looks at causes and symptoms. Covers how it is diagnosed and treated. Also looks at symptoms of advanced liver damage such as variceal bleeding and osteoporosis.

Probiotics
Probiotics are bacteria that help keep the natural balance of organisms (microflora) in the intestines. The normal human digestive tract contains about 400 types of probiotic bacteria that reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and promote a healthy...

Proctocolectomy and Ileostomy for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
In proctocolectomy, the large intestine and rectum are removed, leaving the lower end of the small intestine (the ileum). The doctor sews the anus closed and makes a small opening called a stoma in the skin of the lower abdomen. The surgical...

Protect Yourself From Hepatitis A When Traveling
Immunization against the hepatitis A virus (HAV) is recommended for anyone traveling to any country or area except: Australia. Canada. Japan. New Zealand. The United States. Western Europe and the Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden,...

Pushing a Rectal Prolapse Into Place
If you or your child has a rectal prolapse, you may be able to push the prolapse back into place as soon as it occurs. Your doctor will let you know if this is okay to do. Put on disposable gloves, and put lubricating jelly on your finger. Gently...

Pyloric Stenosis
Pyloric stenosis is a problem with a baby's stomach that causes forceful vomiting. It happens when the baby's pylorus, which connects the stomach and the small intestine, swells and thickens. This can keep food from moving into the intestine. A baby...

Rectal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Rectal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the rectum. The rectum is part of the body's digestive system. The digestive system takes in nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water) from foods and helps pass waste material out of the body. The digestive...

Rectal Problems
Rectal problems are common. Almost everyone will experience some rectal itching, pain, or bleeding at some time during his or her life. These problems are often minor and may go away on their own or with home treatment. Rectal itching (pruritus) is...

Rectal Problems Caused by Abuse
Signs of abuse may not be apparent without an examination of the genital area. These signs include: Bruises, scars, chafing, or bite marks in the genital area. Discharge from the vagina or penis. Rectal or genital bleeding. Anal tears or dilation....

Rectal Prolapse
Rectal prolapse occurs when part or all of the wall of the rectum slides out of place, sometimes sticking out of the anus. See a picture of rectal prolapse. There are three types of rectal prolapse. Partial prolapse (also called mucosal prolapse)....

Recurrent Abdominal Pain (RAP)
Recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) with no cause is defined as at least 3 separate episodes of abdominal pain that occur in a 3-month period. These episodes are often severe, and the child is not able to do his or her normal activities. It may affect up...

Repair of Rectocele or Enterocele
A rectocele occurs when the end of the large intestine (rectum) pushes against and moves the back wall of the vagina. An enterocele (small bowel prolapse) occurs when the small bowel presses against and moves the upper wall of the vagina. Rectoceles...

Rotavirus
Rotavirus is a virus that infects the intestinal tract. You can get rotavirus more than once, but the first infection is usually the worst. This infection causes stomach upset and diarrhea. Babies and very young children who have rotavirus...

Rotavirus Vaccine: What You Need to Know
Rotavirus is a virus that causes diarrhea, mostly in babies and young children. The diarrhea can be severe and lead to dehydration. Vomiting and fever are also common in babies with rotavirus. Before rotavirus vaccine, rotavirus disease was a...

Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass
Discusses gastric bypass surgery to treat obesity. Discusses why and when it is done. Covers laparoscopic and open Roux-en-Y surgery. Discusses risks during and after surgery.

Rubber Band Ligation for Hemorrhoids
Describes rubber band ligation, a procedure in which the hemorrhoid is tied off at its base with rubber bands. Covers why it is done and how well it works. Also covers risks. Discusses what to expect after treatment.

Salivary Gland Cancer Treatment (Adult) (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Salivary gland cancer is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the salivary glands. The salivary glands make saliva and release it into the mouth. Saliva has enzymes that help digest food and antibodies that help protect against infections of the mouth and throat. There are 3 pairs of...

Salmonellosis
Salmonellosis is a type of food poisoning caused by the Salmonella enterica bacterium. There are many different kinds of these bacteria. Salmonella serotype Typhimurium and Salmonella serotype Enteritidis are the most common types in the United...

Scleroderma
Scleroderma is a rare disease in which a person's immune system begins to destroy normal, healthy tissues. (This is called an autoimmune disease.) As a result, connective tissue of the skin, lungs, and internal organs—especially the esophagus,...

Shigellosis
Shigellosis is a type of food poisoning caused by infection with the shigella bacterium. It is more common in summer than winter. Children ages 2 to 4 are most likely to get the condition. Shigellosis is spread when the bacteria in feces (stool) or...

Sigmoidoscopy (Anoscopy, Proctoscopy)
Anoscopy, proctoscopy, and sigmoidoscopy tests allow your doctor to look at the inner lining of your anus, your rectum, and the lower part of the large intestine (colon). These tests are used to look for abnormal growths (such as tumors or polyps),...

Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)
Single photon-emission computed tomography (SPECT) is a test that uses a special type of camera and a tracer (a radioactive substance in liquid form) to look at organs or bones in the body. During the test, the tracer is put into a vein...

Small Intestine Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Small intestine cancer is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the small intestine. The small intestine is part of the body's digestive system, which also includes the esophagus, stomach, and large intestine. The digestive system removes and processes nutrients (vitamins, minerals...

Sodium (Na) in Blood
A sodium test checks how much sodium is in the blood. Sodium is both an electrolyte and mineral. It helps keep the water (the amount of fluid inside and outside the body's cells) and electrolyte balance of the body. Sodium is also important in how...

Spitting Up
Almost all babies spit up, especially newborns. Spitting up happens less often after the muscles of the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach, become more coordinated. This process can take as little as 6 months or as...

Staph Food Poisoning
Staph food poisoning is a type of food poisoning caused by infection with the Staphylococcus aureus ( S. aureus) bacterium. The bacteria multiply in foods and produce toxins especially if food is kept at room temperature. The toxins may be present...

Stomach (Gastric) Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Prevention - Patient Information [NCI]
Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by cancer. To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective...

Stomach (Gastric) Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Patient Information [NCI]
Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread. Scientists are trying to better understand which people are more likely to...

Stool Analysis
Discusses stool analysis, a test used to look for bacteria, parasites, or blood in the digestive tract. Covers why and how it is done. Looks at risks. Covers normal and abnormal results.

Stool Culture
A stool culture is a test on a stool sample to find germs (such as bacteria or a fungus) that can cause an infection. A sample of stool is added to a substance that promotes the growth of germs. If no germs grow, the culture is negative. If germs...

Stool Tests for Colorectal Cancer
A stool test is one of many tests used to look for colorectal cancer. These tests may find cancer early, when treatment works better. Colorectal cancer affects the large intestine (colon) and the rectum. Stool tests include: Fecal immunochemical...

Stroke: Bladder and Bowel Problems
Some people who have a stroke suffer loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence) after the stroke. But this is usually temporary. And it can have many causes, including infection, constipation, and the effects of medicines. If you have problems...

Swallowed Air
Swallowing air may cause bloating, burping, gas, and abdominal pain. Swallowed air that is not released by burping passes through the digestive tract and is released as gas (flatus). Babies often swallow air during feeding. It is important to burp...

Swallowed Button Disc Battery, Magnet, or Object With Lead
Button disc batteries are found in watches, cameras, calculators, hearing aids, and computer games. They are easily swallowed by children. These batteries, which contain corrosive fluids, can come apart when swallowed and quickly damage tissue. Some...

Swallowed or Inhaled Objects
When you swallow food, liquid, or an object, what is swallowed passes from your mouth through your throat and esophagus into your stomach. A swallowed object will usually pass through the rest of your digestive tract without problems and show up in...

Technetium-Labeled Red Blood Cell Bleeding Scan
In a technetium-labeled red blood cell bleeding scan, blood is taken from you, and a small amount of radioactive material called technetium is added to the blood. The blood with the technetium is then injected back into your bloodstream. Red blood...

Tips for Swallowing Medicines
Some people have a hard time swallowing medicines. Large pills or capsules can get stuck in your throat, especially if your mouth is dry. Sometimes stuck pills can lead to heartburn and other problems. Try these tips to help make swallowing easier:...

Total Serum Protein
A total serum protein test measures the total amount of protein in the blood. It also measures the amounts of two major groups of proteins in the blood: albumin and globulin. Albumin is made mainly in the liver. It helps keep the blood from leaking...

Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt (TIPS) for Cirrhosis
Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) is a procedure that may be used to reduce portal hypertension and its complications, especially variceal bleeding. A TIPS procedure may be done by a radiologist, who places a small wire-mesh coil...

Travel Health
The best way to stay healthy on your trip is to plan before you go. If you are planning to travel to another country, see a doctor several months before you leave so you will have time for vaccines (immunizations) that you may need to get ahead of...

Traveler's Diarrhea
Traveler's diarrhea is a common medical problem for people traveling from developed, industrialized countries to developing areas of the world. High-risk areas for traveler's diarrhea include developing countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East,...

Treating a Twisting Bowel Obstruction
Doctors have several options for treating a bowel obstruction caused by twisting of the intestine (volvulus). The choice of procedure depends on the location of the obstruction. If the obstruction is caused by a twisting of the sigmoid area of the...

Tube Feeding: Living With a Feeding Tube
Explains artificial nutrition using tube feeding. Covers how a tube is inserted (gastrostomy) and how the tube is used for feeding. Helps you understand daily life with a feeding tube, including caring for the tube and avoiding common problems.

Types of Peptic Ulcers
There are two different types of peptic ulcers. They are: Gastric ulcers, which form in the lining of the stomach. Duodenal ulcers, which form in the upper small intestine. Both types of peptic ulcers are most commonly caused either by infection...

Types of Ulcerative Colitis
The severity of ulcerative colitis is determined by certain criteria. Ulcerative colitis can be classified as mild, moderate, severe, or fulminant (very severe), which may guide treatment choices. People who have mild ulcerative colitis...

Ulcerative Colitis
Discusses ulcerative colitis, a common type of inflammatory bowel disease that affects the colon and rectum. Covers symptoms and what happens as the disease progresses. Offers home treatment tips. Discusses treatment with medicine and surgery.

Ulcerative Colitis: Problems Outside the Digestive Tract
Complications of ulcerative colitis can include: Arthritis, in 5 to 20 out of 100 people. Some people develop colitis-related arthritis, which may resemble rheumatoid arthritis. In people who have ulcerative colitis, inflammation limited...

Ulcerative Colitis: Should I Have Surgery?
Guides through decision to have surgery for ulcerative colitis. Explains symptoms, long-term risks involved with the disease. Discusses common surgery options. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Umbilical Hernia: Should I Have Surgery?
Guides through decision to have surgery for an umbilical hernia. Describes symptoms of an umbilical hernia and when they normally occur. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Umbilical Hernia: Should My Child Have Surgery?
Guides through decision to have your child have surgery for an umbilical hernia. Describes symptoms of an umbilical hernia and when they normally occur. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Upper Gastrointestinal (UGI) Series
Discusses test that uses X-rays to find problems in the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. Covers why and how it is done. Offers tips on preparing for the test. Covers risks. Looks at results and at what could affect the test.

Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Discusses procedure (also called EGD or esophagogastroduodenoscopy) used to check the esophagus, stomach, and upper small intestine for problems. Covers why it is done, how it is done, and how it feels. Discusses what results could mean. Looks at risks.

Video Capsule Endoscopy
Video capsule endoscopy is a procedure that allows a doctor to examine your small intestine for sources of bleeding. It may be especially helpful for diagnosing Crohn's disease. For this procedure, you swallow a capsule that is less than an inch...

Viral Hepatitis
Viral hepatitis is liver inflammation caused by infection with a virus. The following viruses cause most cases of viral hepatitis: Hepatitis A virus (HAV) Hepatitis B virus (HBV) Hepatitis C virus (HCV) Hepatitis D virus (HDV) Hepatitis E virus...

Virtual Colonoscopy
Discusses virtual colonoscopy (computed tomographic colonography). Covers why and how it is done. Explains how it differs from a regular colonoscopy. Covers things to think about when choosing virtual colonoscopy.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anemia
Discusses vitamin B12 deficiency anemia. Explains role of B12 in red blood cells, which carry oxygen through your body. Covers symptoms and tests used to diagnose. Includes info on treatment with diet and medicines.

Weaning
Weaning is the term used to describe the process of switching a baby from: Breastfeeding to bottle-feeding. Breast- or bottle-feeding to a cup. Breast- or bottle-feeding to solid foods. Your baby will go through one or more of these weaning...

Weight-Loss Medicines
Losing weight can be hard work. Maybe you are wondering if taking medicines could help make it easier for you. Prescription weight-loss medicines may help some people who haven't been able to lose weight with diet and exercise. But they don't help...

Weight-Loss Surgery
Weight loss surgery helps people lose weight. There are two types of surgeries. They can be restrictive or a combination of restrictive and malabsorptive. Restrictive:This type of surgery makes the stomach smaller. It limits the amount of food the...

Whipple Surgery for Pancreatic Cancer
Looks at a type of surgery that removes cancer from the pancreas. Covers why surgery is done and how well it works. Also covers risks.

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