Dyspepsia (from the Greek “δυς-” (Dys-) and “πέψη” (Pepse)), known as upset stomach or indigestion, meaning hard or difficult digestion, is a medical condition characterized by chronic or recurrent pain in the upper abdomen, upper abdominal fullness and feeling full earlier than expected when eating. It can be accompanied by bloating, belching, nausea or heartburn. Dyspepsia is a common problem, and is frequently due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or gastritis, but in a small minority may be the first symptom of peptic ulcer disease (an ulcer of the stomach or duodenum) and occasionally cancer. Hence, unexplained newly-onset dyspepsia in people over 55 or the presence of other alarm symptoms may require further investigations.
Heartburn, also know as acid reflux, is a painful and burning sensation in the esophagus, just behind the breastbone usually associated with regurgitation of gastric acid (gastric reflux). The pain often rises in the chest and may radiate to the neck, throat, or angle of the jaw. Heartburn is a major symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease, otherwise known as GERD; acid reflux is also identified as one of the causes of chronic cough, and may even mimic asthma. Despite its name, heartburn actually has nothing to do with the heart; it is so called because of a burning sensation near to where the heart is located – although some heart problems may give rise to a similar burning sensation.
All diseases that pertain to the gastrointestinal tract are labelled as digestive diseases. This includes diseases of the esophagus, stomach, first, second and third part of the duodenum, jejunum, ileum, the ileo-cecal complex, large intestine (ascending, transverse and descending colon) sigmoid colon and rectum.
Flatulence is the expulsion through the rectum of a mixture of gases that are byproducts of the digestion process of mammals and other animals. The mixture of gases is known as flatus, (informally) fart, or simply gas, and is expelled from the rectum in a process colloquially referred to as “passing gas” or “farting”. Flatus is brought to the rectum by the same peristaltic process which causes feces to descend from the large intestine. The noises commonly associated with flatulence are caused by the vibration of the anal sphincter, and occasionally by the closed buttocks.
A cough, in medicine, is a sudden and often repetitively occurring defense reflex which helps to clear the large breathing passages from excess secretions, irritants, foreign particles and microbes. The cough reflex consists of three phases: an inhalation, a forced exhalation against a closed glottis, and a violent release of air from the lungs following opening of the glottis, usually accompanied by a distinctive sound. Coughing can happen voluntarily as well as involuntarily, though for the most part it is involuntarily.