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Stomach, disorders of the The stomach may be affected by various disorders, including gastrointestinal infections, peptic ulcers, gastritis, pyloric stenosis, volvulus, polyps, and stomach cancer.
Stomach a hollow, bag-like organ of the digestive system located in the left side of the abdomen under the diaphragm. Food enters the stomach from the esophagus and exits into the duodenum.
The sight and smell of food, and its arrival in the stomach, stimulate gastric secretion from the stomach lining. Gastric juice contains pepsin, an enzyme that breaks down protein; hydrochloric acid, which kills bacteria and creates the optimum pH for pepsin activity; and intrinsic factor, which is essential for absorption of vitamin Bl2 in the small intestine. The gastric lining also secretes mucus to stop the stomach digesting itself.
The muscular stomach wall produces rhythmic contractions that chum the food and gastric juice to aid digestion. Partly digested food is squirted into the duodenum at regular intervals by stomach contractions and by relaxation of the ring of muscle at the stomach outlet, stomachache Discomfort in the upper abdomen. (See also indigestion.)
Stomach cancer, a malignant tumour that arises from the lining of the stomach. The exact cause is unknown, but HELICOBACTER PYLORI infection is thought to be linked to increased incidence. Other likely factors include smoking and alcohol intake; diet may also play a part, in particular eating large amounts of salted or pickled foods. Pernicious anaemia, a partial gastrectomy, and belonging to blood group A also seem to increase the risk.
Stomach cancer rarely affects people under 40 and is more common in men. Symptoms may include weight loss, loss of appetite, and difficulty swallowing. There may also be other symptoms indistinguishable from those of peptic ulcer.
Diagnosis is usually made by gastro copy or by a barium X-ray examination. The only effective treatment is total gastrectomy. In advanced cases in which the tumour has spread, anticancer drugs may prolong life.
One function of the stomach is to grind food into smaller particles and mix it with digestive juices so the food can be absorbed when it reaches the small intestine. The stomach normally empties its contents into the intestine at a controlled rate. The stomach has three types of contractions: (1) There are rhythmic, 3 per minute, synchronized contractions in the lower part of the stomach, which create waves of food particles and juice which splash against a closed sphincter muscle (the pyloric sphincter) to grind the food into small particles. (2) The upper part of the stomach shows slow relaxations lasting a minute or more that follow each swallow and that allow the food to enter the stomach; at other times the upper part of the stomach shows slow contractions which help to empty the stomach. (3) Between meals, after all the digestible food has left the stomach, there are occasional bursts of very strong, synchronized contractions that are accompanied by opening of the pyloric sphincter muscle. These are sometimes called "housekeeper waves" because their function is to sweep any indigestible particles out of the stomach. Another name for them is the migrating motor complex.
Examples of stomach (gastric) motility disorders include delayed gastric emplying (gastroparesis), rapid gastric emptying (dumping syndrome), and functional dyspepsia.