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Peristalsis

Definition

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.

Alternative Names

Intestinal motility

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. 


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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