Pathologies of the Esophagus: Vocabulary

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  • 0:02 The Esophagus
  • 0:24 Dysphagia & Pyrosis
  • 1:10 GERD & Hiatal Hernia
  • 2:15 Esophageal Stricture & Varices
  • 3:09 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Your esophagus is a long, muscular tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. It can have a lot of different problems, some of which this lesson will outline.

The Esophagus

We're going to take a hiatus from work and school on a fun ride down into the esophagus, or food tube, in this lesson. The esophagus connects your mouth to the stomach. After you've swallowed it, food passes through here on its way to the stomach. And it, like any other structure in your body, can suffer from different problems. This is going to be one wild ride, so hang on!

Dysphagia & Pyrosis

Okay, let's get into our little esophagus ship. First, we start our way into the esophagus from inside of the mouth itself. But there's a problem right away here. For some strange reason, we can't get into the esophagus from the mouth. This person is having difficulty swallowing, or dysphagia. 'Dys-' means 'difficult' and '-phagia' means 'swallowing.'

After trying a few times, we finally make our way into the esophagus. Phew! But just as we make our way down the esophagus, towards the end next to the stomach, we're almost set on fire! Aaah! What could this possibly be but pyrosis, or heartburn? 'Pyro-' means 'fire' and '-osis' implies some diseased state.

Gerd & Hiatal Hernia

As our fire engineers jump out of the ship to put out the fire, the tour guide explains that the biggest cause of frequent heartburn is called GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Let's break down what happens here. 'Gastro-' means 'stomach,' 'esophago-' means 'esophagus,' and 'reflux' means something is going back in the wrong direction. In this condition, stomach acid goes back up the esophagus and burns away at the inner lining of the esophagus, leading to heartburn.

GERD can be worsened by something called a hiatal hernia, a condition where part of the stomach protrudes through the esophageal hiatus of the diaphragm. No, this hiatus has nothing to do with our break away from work and school. 'Hiatus' means there's some gap or opening, in this case, in the diaphragm. And it is through this opening that the stomach pops through. So, basically, part of the stomach is now in your chest instead of the abdomen as a result of this herniation, or abnormal protrusion.

Esophageal Stricture & Varices

Now that the fire of pyrosis has been put out by the fire crew, we can move even closer to the stomach where we notice two other problems.

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