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Medical
Glossary


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

G.
Galactocele

a milk-filled tumour in a blocked breast milk duct

Galactorrhoea

breast milk production by a woman who is not pregnant and has not just given birth

Galactosaemia

a genetic disorder in which galactose cannot be converted into glucose

Galactose

a sugar that is formed from the breakdown of lactose

Gallbladder

a small, pear-shaped sac positioned under the liver, which concentrates and stores bile

Gallstone

a round, hard mass of cholesterol, bile, or calcium salts that is found in the gallbladder or a bile duct

Gallstone ileus

an abnormal condition in which a gallstone passes from the gallbladder into the intestines through an abnormal passage and blocks the intestine

Gamete intrafallopian transfer

a method of treating infertility in which eggs are taken from a woman's ovaries and fertilised with sperm and then the fertilised egg is injected into one of her fallopian tubes

Gamma globulin

a substance prepared from blood that carries antibodies to most common infections; also used in immunisations

Ganglion

a fluid-filled cyst attached to a tendon sheath or joint

Gangrene

death of a tissue because of a lack of blood supply

Gastrectomy

surgical removal of all or part of the stomach

Gastric acid

the digestive acid in the stomach

Gastric juice

digestive fluids produced by the lining of the stomach that break down proteins and destroy harmful organisms

Gastric lavage

washing out of the stomach with water, often to treat poisoning; commonly called "stomach pumping"

Gastric ulcer

a peptic ulcer

Gastrin

a hormone that stimulates the release of gastric acid in the stomach

Gastrinoma

a tumour that produces gastrin, making the stomach and duodenum more acidic

Gastritis

inflammation of the mucous membrane lining of the stomach; can have a number of causes, including viruses, bacteria, and use of alcohol and other drugs

Gastro-enteritis

inflammation of the stomach and intestines

Gastrointestinal series

a set of X-rays, taken at different intervals after a barium sulphate solution is swallowed, to examine the gastrointestinal tract

Gastrointestinal tract

the part of the digestive system that includes the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, and intestines

Gastroscopy

examination of the oesophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum) using an endoscope inserted through the mouth

Gastrostomy

the surgical creation of an opening in the abdominal wall into the stomach for drainage or a feeding tube

Gaucher's disease

a genetic disorder in which lipids cannot be properly broken down and build up in certain cells; causes enlargement of the spleen and liver, bone damage, and anaemia

Gavage

an artificial feeding technique in which liquids are passed into the stomach by way of a tube inserted through the nose

Gene

the basic unit of DNA, which is responsible for passing genetic information; each gene contains the instructions for the production of a certain protein

Gene therapy

an experimental procedure in which disease-causing genes are replaced by normal, healthy genes

General anaesthesia

a method of preventing pain in which the patient is induced to lose consciousness

Generic drug

a drug marketed under its chemical name, instead of a brand name

Genetic analysis

examination of DNA in a laboratory to diagnose genetic disorders

Genetic counselling

information and advice given to persons considering pregnancy about the risk that a child will have an inheritable birth defect or genetic disorder

Genetic disorder

a disorder caused partly or completely by a defect in genes, which carry hereditary information

Genetic engineering

the alteration of genetic information to change an organism; mainly used to produce vaccines and drugs such as insulin

Genital herpes

an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus, which causes a painful rash of fluid-filled blisters on the genitals; transmitted through sexual contact

Genital tract

the organs that make up the reproductive system

Genital wart

a growth on the skin in or around the vagina, penis, or anus, transmitted by sexual contact; can cause cancer of the cervix

Genome

the complete set of an organism's genes

Geographic tongue

a condition in which the tongue is patchy where surface cells break down

Germ cell

a sperm or egg cell, or the immature form of either

German measles

the common name for Rubella

Gestation

the period of time between fertilisation of an egg by a sperm and birth of a baby

GI series

see Gastrointestinal series

Giardiasis

infection with a single-celled parasite, causing abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, and nausea

GIFT

see Gamete intrafallopian transfer

Gingivectomy

surgical removal of a diseased part of the gums

Gingivitis

inflammation of the gums, typically caused by a build-up of plaque due to poor hygiene

Gland

a group of cells or an organ that produces substances (such as hormones and enzyme) that are used by the body

Glaucoma

a disease in which eye damage is caused by an increase in the pressure of the fluid within the eye

Gliadin

Gliadin is a specific protein attached to gluten that is responsible for the inflammatory reaction in the gut seen in Coeliac disease.

Glioblastoma multiforme

a fast-growing, cancerous brain tumour

Glioma

a brain tumour arising from cells that support nerve cells

Glomerulonephritis

inflammation of the filtering structures in the kidneys, hindering removal of waste products from the blood

Glomerulosclerosis

scarring of the filtering structures in the kidneys due to damage

Glossectomy

surgical removal of all or part of the tongue

Glucagon

a hormone produced by the pancreas that converts stored carbohydrates (glycogen) into glucose, the body's energy source

Glucose

a sugar that is the main source of energy for the body

Glucose tolerance test

a test that evaluates the body's response to glucose after a period of fasting; used to check for diabetes mellitus

Gluten

Gluten is a large protein found in wheat flour (as well as barley and rye) and is implicated in the inflammatory response in the gut seen in Coeliac disease. Gluten gives bread dough its elasticity.

Glycogen

the main form that glucose, the body's energy source, takes when it is stored

Glycosuria

glucose in the urine

Goitre

A goitre is caused by the enlargement of the thyroid gland, which produces a swelling on the neck. It occurs when the thyroid is struggling to produce enough thyroid hormone for the body's needs, either because of insufficient dietary iodine or because the thyroid gland is under attack from the body's immune system. In these circumstances the pituitary gland stimulates the thyroid to produce more thyroxine, causing it to enlarge. Graves' disease can also cause a goitre, although in this instance too much thyroid hormone is being produced.

Gonadotropic hormones

hormones that stimulate activity in the ovaries and testicles

Gonorrhoea

a common sexually transmitted disease, characterised by painful urination or a discharge from the penis or vagina

Gout

a disorder marked by high levels of uric acid in the blood; usually experienced as arthritis in one joint

Graft

healthy tissue that is used to replace diseased or defective tissue

Grand mal

a type of seizure occurring with epilepsy, producing loss of consciousness and involuntary jerking movements

Granuloma

a mass of tissue that forms at a site of inflammation, injury, or infection as a part of the healing process

Graves' disease

Graves' disease is an autoimmune disease that causes the thyroid to produce excess levels of thyroid hormones. It can cause goitre and bulging eyeballs which are commonly associated with an overactive thyroid. It is named after Robert Graves who described it in 1835.

Guillain-Barré syndrome

a peripheral nervous system disease in which nerve inflammation causes weakness, loss of movement, and loss of sensation in the arms and legs

Guthrie test

a blood test performed on babies to test for phenylketonuria

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