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abdomen
the anterior region of a person’s trunk between the diaphragm and pelvis
aerophagia
swallowing air
anorexia
loss of appetite
bloating
a feeling of fullness and tightness in the abdomen
borborygmus
abdominal sound, described as stomach growling, heard without a stethoscope
caput medusae
distended veins that extend from the umbilicus
constipation
a condition characterized by uncomfortable, infrequent bowel movements
Cullen sign
ecchymosis in the subcutaneous fatty tissue below the umbilicus, indicating hemorrhagic pancreatitis
defecation
the process of eliminating waste from the body through the rectum and anus
diarrhea
frequent, loose, watery stool
dysuria
pain or discomfort with urination
ecchymosis
bruising
emesis
the forceful expulsion of the food contents out of the stomach through the mouth
fascia
thin, fibrous connective tissue
flatulence
intestinal gas passed through the rectum
fluid wave
a test to check for free fluid in the abdomen
gastric cancer
stomach cancer
Grey Turner sign
ecchymosis along the flank associated with acute necrotizing pancreatitis
hematemesis
vomiting of blood
hematochezia
bloody stool
hepatomegaly
enlarged liver
hernia
an abdominal organ, usually the intestine, pushed through the muscle of the abdominal wall
hollow viscera
organs that are hollow tubes or pouches
hyperactive bowel sounds
may indicate bowel obstruction or gastroenteritis
hyperpnea
forced breathing
hypoactive bowel sounds
may be present with constipation, after abdominal surgery, peritonitis, or paralytic ileus
inferior vena cava (IVC)
the body’s largest vein; carries blood to the heart from the bottom half of the body back to the heart; located in the posterior abdominal wall to the right of the aorta
intra-abdominal pressure (IAP)
the steady pressure within the abdominal cavity that occurs from the interaction of the abdominal wall and viscera
left lower quadrant (LLQ)
houses the lower part of the large intestine (descending colon), sigmoid colon, and the left ovary and fallopian tube in females
left upper quadrant (LUQ)
houses the stomach, the spleen, pancreas, portions of the small intestine and large intestine, and a portion of the liver
melena
dark, tarry stools, often associated with upper gastrointestinal bleeding
nausea
the sensation of discomfort and unease in the stomach that is often accompanied by the urge to vomit
naval
umbilicus
nephromegaly
enlarged kidney
peristalsis
the wavelike movement of the gastrointestinal system to move contents forward
peritoneal space
the layer of tissue that surrounds the abdomen
protuberant
convex or bulging abdomen
rebound tenderness
the clinician maintains pressure over an area of tenderness and then withdraws the hand abruptly; if the patient winces with pain upon withdrawal of the hand, the test is positive
right lower quadrant (RLQ)
houses the appendix, part of the large intestine (cecum and ascending colon), the right ovary and fallopian tube in females
right upper quadrant (RUQ)
houses the liver, gallbladder, and portions of the small intestine and large intestine
rigidity
involuntary contraction of the abdominal musculature in response to peritoneal inflammation; it is a reflex the patient cannot control
scaphoid
sunken abdomen
solid viscera
solid organ
splenomegaly
enlarged spleen
striae
white or silvery elongated marks that occur when the skin stretches, especially during pregnancy or excessive weight gain
viscera
an organ in the abdomen
visceromegaly
the abnormal enlargement of abdominal organs
voluntary guarding
voluntary contraction of the abdominal wall musculature, usually the result of fear, anxiety, or the touch of cold hands
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