Terminology of Indigestion and Vomiting

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  • 0:01 Digestion Terminology
  • 0:25 Aerophagia & Eructation
  • 1:00 Vomiting & Regurgitation
  • 2:35 Nausea & Indigestion
  • 3:09 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Have you ever been sick or just had too much to drink or eat? How did you feel? Maybe it made you vomit or belch. This lesson defines the terms related to all of this unpleasant feeling.

Digestion Terminology

This is going to be a slightly uncomfortable lesson. What do you expect from a lesson about terms related to stuff like vomiting and indigestion? So, let's follow along with our friend Bruce here. Bruce had a bit too much to eat and drink last night, to put it mildly, and he may have even gotten food poisoning. His fun night isn't over yet!

Aerophagia & Eructation

When Bruce gets home from the restaurant he went out to with his friends, he feels like he's got a lot of gas in his stomach. This may be a result of aerophagia, or excessive swallowing of air, such as when eating and drinking. 'Aero-' means 'air' and '-phagia' means 'swallowing.'

And so, quite stereotypically, Bruce proceeds to belch really loudly all over the home, scaring the daylights out of his cats in the process. The act of belching is technically called eructation, the ejection of gas coming from the stomach through the mouth.

Vomiting & Regurgitation

Eructation seems to make Bruce feel a bit better, at least for a little bit. After bringing up some gas from his stomach, he walks around a bit and regurgitates. Regurgitation is the movement of gastric contents into the mouth without nausea or forceful abdominal muscular contractions. Bruce is surprised by this but likes the taste of this partially digested food and swallows it back down.

But soon after, he starts to feel queasy and regrets going out that night and having a bit much too eat and drink. He runs off to the bathroom and vomits into the toilet bowl while his cats hold up his hair. Vomiting is the forcible expulsion of stomach contents through a person's mouth by way of involuntary muscular contractions. The stand-alone technical term and suffix (-emesis) for vomiting is emesis.

Again, to make this clear, the word 'emesis' means 'vomiting' on its own. But '-emesis' is a suffix that implies vomiting when used in other words. For instance, hematemesis is the vomiting of blood since 'hemat/o' means 'blood,' while hyperemesis is excessive vomiting, where 'hyper-' means 'excessive.' You get the idea.

Also, please make a mental note of how vomiting is not the same thing as regurgitation. The latter is a pretty passive process that doesn't involve nausea and the former is a forceful process that includes nausea. Regurgitation doesn't make you feel all that bad, while vomiting makes you feel pretty sick.

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