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Peristalsis


Alternative names

Intestinal motility

Definition

Peristalsis is a series of coordinated, rhythmic muscle contractions. It is an automatic and vital process that moves food through the digestive tract, urine from the kidneys through the ureters into the bladder, and bile from the gallbladder into the duodenum .

Peristalsis is a normal function of the body to move fluid from one place to another. It can sometimes be felt in the abdomen as gas moves along. Peristaltic waves look like the muscle contractions of a snake's underbelly that enable it to move along a surface.

Update Date: 4/17/2003

Andrew J. Muir, M.D. M.H.S., Division of Gastroenterology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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