The GI tract is one continuous pipe that begins in the mouth and continues all the way to the anus, says Roger Hsiung, MD, a colorectal surgeon at Southern Hills Hospital. In this video, he describes the basic anatomical parts of the GI tract.
Abhijit Kulkarni, MD
- Internal Medicine
Location and Office HoursAllegheny Center for Digestive Health
1307 Federal St Ste 301
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
- Allegheny General Hospital
- Allegheny General Hospital Suburban Campus
- Kindred Hospital Pittsburgh
- Monongahela Valley Hospital
- Western Pennsylvania Hospital
- What is the GI tract?
Why does reading help me have a bowel movement?
Patricia Raymond, MD, Gastroenterology, answeredRestroom reading reaps results. People commonly read in their powder rooms to assist in "doing the business." A third of all women read on the toilet, with most doing so to relax or to be distracted. African-American females read more (54%), Caucasians less (32%). Additional studies show that relaxation on the commode, as might be brought about by reading, helps to relax the voluntary anal sphincter. Animal studies, on the Mongolian gerbil, reveal "novel" settings will increase the rodent pellet output -- but they don’t mean that kind of novel. So, bookstore bowels?
I discovered a case report of a similarly afflicted fellow, although not in a peer-reviewed medical journal. Allow me to quote from the case:
"Although defecation process is known to be controlled voluntarily by means of anal sphincters, the intentional relaxation of these sphincters per se did not produce any visible effect in the individual under study. Only when the subject was simultaneously presented with sufficient amount of printed text of any kind, written in Russian or English, the defecation process started. The extinguishing of the trigger stimulus from the subject's visual field resulted in almost immediate suppression of the defecation. We found no effect of text relevance, quality or informational content on its stimulation efficiency."
Perhaps book browsing causes your “Biblio BMs.” The fix? Try ordering your books online from either library or bookstore to choose your defecatory setting.
What foods and drinks can trigger digestive problems?
Ashley Koff, RD, Nutrition & Dietetics, answeredRespect what your gut has to say. Even the most finely tuned machine has its quirks -- if certain foods trigger gastrointestinal (GI) problems for you, avoid them. Common heartburn culprits: acidic, spicy, and fatty foods; caffeinated and carbonated drinks; chocolate; and onions. Make it a goal to replace known gastric irritants with gastric healers, so you're not just getting rid of irritants. Notorious gas producers include beans, onions, and cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, and radishes. (These veggies are loaded with vital nutrients, so don't shun them altogether, but enjoy them in small doses.) The same goes for packaged low-carb treats and other foods containing artificial sweeteners -- especially the sweetener sorbitol.
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