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Peristalsis

Intestinal motility

 

Peristalsis is a series of muscle contractions. These contractions occur in your digestive tract. Peristalsis is also seen in some organs that connect the kidneys to the bladder.

Peristalsis is an automatic and important process. It moves:

  • Food through the digestive system.
  • Urine from the kidneys into the bladder
  • Bile from the gallbladder into the duodenum

Peristalsis is a normal function of the body. It can sometimes be felt in your belly (abdomen) as gas moves along.

 

References

Fogel EL, Sherman S. Diseases of the gall bladder and bile ducts. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 155.

Hall JE. General principles of gastrointestinal function - motility, nervous control, and blood circulation. In: Hall JE, ed. Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 63.

Pandolfino JE, Kahrilas PJ. Esophageal neuromuscular function and motility disorders. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 43.

Weiss RM, Martin DT. Physiology and pharmacology of the renal pelvis and ureter. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Partin AW, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 43. 

 
  • Digestive system

    Digestive system - illustration

    The esophagus, stomach, large and small intestine, aided by the liver, gallbladder and pancreas convert the nutritive components of food into energy and break down the non-nutritive components into waste to be excreted.

    Digestive system

    illustration

  • Ileus - X-ray of distended bowel and stomach

    Ileus - X-ray of distended bowel and stomach - illustration

    This abdominal X-ray shows a stomach filled with fluid and a swollen (distended) small bowel, caused by a blockage (pseudo-obstruction) in the intestines. A solution containing a dye (barium) that is visible on X-rays was swallowed by the patient (upper GI series).

    Ileus - X-ray of distended bowel and stomach

    illustration

  • Ileus - X-ray of bowel distension

    Ileus - X-ray of bowel distension - illustration

    This abdominal x-ray shows thickening of the bowel wall and swelling (distention) caused by a blockage (psudo-obstruction) in the intestines. A solution containing a dye (barium), which is visible on X-ray, was swallowed by the patient (the procedure is known as an upper GI series).

    Ileus - X-ray of bowel distension

    illustration

  • Peristalsis

    Peristalsis - illustration

    A series of normal coordinated, rhythmic muscle contractions, that occurs automatically to move food through the digestive tract is called peristalsis.

    Peristalsis

    illustration

    • Digestive system

      Digestive system - illustration

      The esophagus, stomach, large and small intestine, aided by the liver, gallbladder and pancreas convert the nutritive components of food into energy and break down the non-nutritive components into waste to be excreted.

      Digestive system

      illustration

    • Ileus - X-ray of distended bowel and stomach

      Ileus - X-ray of distended bowel and stomach - illustration

      This abdominal X-ray shows a stomach filled with fluid and a swollen (distended) small bowel, caused by a blockage (pseudo-obstruction) in the intestines. A solution containing a dye (barium) that is visible on X-rays was swallowed by the patient (upper GI series).

      Ileus - X-ray of distended bowel and stomach

      illustration

    • Ileus - X-ray of bowel distension

      Ileus - X-ray of bowel distension - illustration

      This abdominal x-ray shows thickening of the bowel wall and swelling (distention) caused by a blockage (psudo-obstruction) in the intestines. A solution containing a dye (barium), which is visible on X-ray, was swallowed by the patient (the procedure is known as an upper GI series).

      Ileus - X-ray of bowel distension

      illustration

    • Peristalsis

      Peristalsis - illustration

      A series of normal coordinated, rhythmic muscle contractions, that occurs automatically to move food through the digestive tract is called peristalsis.

      Peristalsis

      illustration


     

    Review Date: 8/22/2016

    Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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