Esophagus is the food pipe through which food passes, from the pharynx to the stomach. It is about 25 cm long in adults. The esophagus may be affected by gastric reflux, cancer, prominent dilated blood vessels called varices that can bleed profusely, and disorders of motility. Diseases may cause difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia), painful swallowing (odynophagia), chest pain, or cause no symptoms at all. Clinical investigations include X-rays when swallowing barium, endoscopy, and CT scans.
The stomach is located between the esophagus and the small intestine. Its main function is digestion and storage of food. The stomach may be affected by gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, stomach cancer and pyloric stenosis. Diseases may cause pain in epigastric region, non bilious vomiting, early satiety and abdominal fullness.
Small Intestine is a part of the gastrointestinal tract between the stomach and the large bowel. The small intestine has three parts- Duodenum, Jejunum and Ileum. The primary function of small bowel is the absorption of nutrients and minerals from food. Small bowel may be affected by appendicitis, meckel’s diverticula, strictures and malignancy.
Large intestine is the last part of the gastrointestinal tract. Water is absorbed here and remaining waste material is stored as feces before being removed by defecation. It has two parts- colon and rectum. Large bowel may be affected by Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Acute Inflammatory Diseases, Rectal Prolapse, Haemrroids and Malignancy. Disease may cause constipation, blood in stool, and abdominal distension.
Gallbladder is a hollow organ where bile is stored and concentrated before it is released in small intestine. Humans can live without a gallbladder. Common gallbladder problems are gallstone disease and cancer, they usually manifest with pain in right upper abdomen or found incidentally.
Bile duct is a long tube like structure that carry bile from liver to gastrointestinal tract. Bile, required for the digestion of food. Blockage of the bile duct by stones, scarring from bile duct injury, or cancer prevents the bile from being transported to the intestine and the active ingredient in the bile (bilirubin) instead accumulates in the blood. This condition results in jaundice, where the skin and eyes become yellow from the bilirubin in the blood. This condition also causes severe itching/pruritis from the bilirubin deposited in the tissues. In certain types of jaundice (surgical obstructive jaundice), the urine will be noticeably darker, and the stools will be much paler than usual.
Pancreas is a digestive organ, secreting pancreatic juice containing digestive enzymes that assist digestion and absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. It is also an endocrine organ producing several important hormones, including insulin, glucagon, somatostatin, and pancreatic polypeptide which circulate in the blood and have important role of blood sugar control within the body. Anatomically, the pancreas is divided into head, neck, body and the tail of pancreas. The head is surrounded by the duodenum in its concavity. Common conditions that may affect pancreas are inflammation of pancreas (pancreatitis) or pancreatic cancer, which usually manifests as pain in upper abdomen radiating to the back, and sometimes with jaundice.
The liver is a vital organ and it has a wide range of functions, including detoxification of various metabolites, protein synthesis, and the production of biochemicals necessary for digestion. Liver is the only organ that has a remarkable capacity to regenerate and grow back again. The classic symptoms of liver damage are Pain in the upper right quadrant, Jaundice (yellow skin and/or whites of the eyes), Swelling of the abdomen, ankles and feet, Pale stools, Dark urine, Excessive fatigue and Bruising and easy bleeding.
Portal hypertension is an increase in pressure within the portal venous system and its branches, which draining most of the intestine to the liver. It is defined as a hepatic venous pressure gradient equal to or more than 5 mm of hg. The most common cause of portal hypertension is liver cirrhosis followed by non cirrhotic portal hypertension (NCPH).