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Digestive System. What is the Digestive System?. Also called the GI Tract or Alimentary Canal The Digestive System is responsible for breaking down foodstuff and converting into energy or using the nutrients in the foodstuff for necessary body functions. Anatomy of the Digestive System.

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what is the digestive system
What is the Digestive System?
  • Also called the GI Tract or Alimentary Canal
  • The Digestive System is responsible for breaking down foodstuff and converting into energy or using the nutrients in the foodstuff for necessary body functions.
anatomy of the digestive system
Anatomy of the Digestive System
  • Begins at the MOUTH.
  • The mouth is responsible for MECHANICAL DIGESTION. The teeth break down food by chewing (MASTICATION).
  • The mouth is also the place where CHEMICAL DIGESTION begins. The SALIVARY GLANDS (sublingual, parotid, and submandibular glands) are responsible for producing an environment for food breakdown.
Next, the food enters the ESOPHAGUS (food tube) which connects the mouth to the STOMACH.
  • After food enters the stomach, acids are released to continue with chemical digestion.
  • From the stomach, food enters the SMALL INTESTINE by traveling through the DUODENUM.
The small intestine is responsible for absorption of nutrients.
  • From the small intestine, food enters the LARGE INTESTINE (colon) where water absorption takes place.
  • After the stool is solidified, it travels to the RECTUM and ANUS for removal from the body.
accessory digestive organs
Accessory Digestive Organs
  • Liver

- detoxifies the blood.

- stores sugar as GLYCOGEN.

  • Pancreas

- secretes INSULIN, a hormone that allows glucose to enter the bodies cells.

- also manufactures and secretes GLUCAGON, a hormone that raises blood sugar and SOMATOSTATIN, a hormone which helps regulate sleep.

combining forms for the digestive system
Combining Forms for the Digestive System
  • ORAL CAVITY (Mouth)

or / o AND stomat / o refer to the mouth.

IE: stomat / itis -> inflammation of the


or / al -> pertaining to the mouth

gloss / o AND lingu / o

both mean TONGUE.

gloss / ectomy -> surgical removal of the tongue

lingu / al -> pertaining to the tongue

dent / o AND odont / o mean TEETH.

dent / ist -> specialist of the teeth

Orth / odont / ist -> specialist that straigtens teeth.

gingiv / o means GUM(s)

gingiv / itis -> inflammation of the gums


esophag / o -> esophagus

esophag / o / scope -> an instrument to view the esophagus

gastr / o means stomach

gastr / o / scopy -> a visual examination of the stomach

pharyng / o means pharynx (throat)

pharyng / itis -> inflammation of the throat

pylor / o means pylorus (a part of the stomach)

pylor / o / tomy -> an incision into the pylorus


an / o -> anus

an / al -> pertaining to the anus

append / o

appendic / o -> appendix

append / ectomy -> excision of the appendix

appendic / itis -> inflammation of the appendix

col / o

colon / o -> colon

col / o / centesis -> puncture of the colon

colon / o / scope -> instrument to view or examine the colon

duoden / o means duodenum

duoden / o / stomy -> to form an opening (mouth) in the duodenum

enter / o means intestine

enter / o / pathy -> disease of the intestine

enter / it is -> inflammation of the intestine

ile / o means ileum (part of the small intestine)

ile / o / stomy -> to form an opening (mouth) in the ileum

jejun / o means jejunum (part of the small intestine)

jejun / o / rrhaphy -> to suture a rupture of the jejunum

proct / o means anus or rectum

proct / o / logist -> specialist or one who studies the rectum

rect / o means rectum

NOTE: there are multiple word roots for many organs.

rect / o / cele -> hernia of the rectum

sigmoid / o means sigmoid colon (part of the large intestine that is “S” shaped)

sigmoid / o / scopy -> a visual examination of the sigmoid colon

common suffixes
Common Suffixes



Refer to pain.

stomat / o / dynia -> pain in the mouth

NOTE: a combining vowel is not needed when using –algia.

stomat / algia -> pain in the mouth

The combining form

sial / o

Refers to the salivary glands or saliva.

What does sial / o / rrhea mean?

flow of saliva

The prefix Dia- means “through”.

What is the literal translation of

Dia / rrhea?

through flow -> frequent passage of watery bowel movements?

pertaining to
Pertaining to…..

The following suffixes all mean the same thing.

-al vertebr / al

-ar vascul / ar

-ary maxill / ary

-ic thromb / ic


When defining a medical word, first define the SUFFIX. Next, look at the beginning of the word (PREFIX or ROOT). Finally, look at the middle of the word (ROOT).

sub / lingu / al

  • “-al” means “pertaining to”
  • “sub-” means “beneath”
  • “/ lingu /” means “tongue”

Therefore, sublingual means to something pertaining to the beneath the tongue.

A sublingual dose of nitroglycerin is placed beneath the tongue.

  • This suffix refers to an abnormal condition.

stomat / osis means an abnormality of the mouth.

Myc /
  • Word root meaning FUNGUS.

myc / osis is an abnormal condition of a fungus.

pharynx esophagus and stomach
Pharynx, Esophagus, and Stomach

gastr / ic

gastr / itis

gastr / algia

gastr / dynia

gastr / rrhea

All refer to the stomach.

what do the following mean
What Do The Following Mean?

Removal of the stomach

  • Gastr / ectomy
  • Esophag / o / plasty
  • Gastr / tome

Surgical repair of the esophagus

Instrument to cut the stomach

hemat / o -> blood

emesis -> vomit

hemat / emesis -> to vomit blood

NOTE: a combining vowel is NOT needed.

other definitions
Other Definitions

epi - above or upon

epigastric pain is pain above the stomach.

dys - bad, painful, or difficult

-pepsia digestion

dyspepsia literally means painful digestion or “heartburn”

-phagia means to swallow or eat.

dys / phagia is difficultly swallowing

aer - means air

aer / o / phagia means swallowing air.

infants frequently have this as they suck milk from a bottle.

small intestine and colon
Small Intestine and Colon

The small intestine is broken into three parts:

duodenum duoden / o

jejunum jejun / o

ileum ile / o

duoden / o / stomy

To form a new opening

First part of small intestine

Combining vowel

col / o / stomy -> form a new hole in

the colon

col / o / rrhaphy -> suture the colon


sigmoid / itis -> inflammation of the

sigmoid colon

rect / o / stenosis -> a narrowing of the


accessory organs
Accessory Organs

Combining Form Meaning

Cholangi / o bile vessel

Cholecyst / o gall bladder

Choledoch / o bile duct

Hepat / o liver

Pancreat / o pancreas

Sial / o saliva

Lith / o stone, calculus