MedlinePlus – Digestive System

MedlinePlus - Digestive System is worth visiting for its comprehensive coverage of most gastrointestinal and liver diseases. The section includes a medical encyclopedia and links to many outside resources for those seeking reliable information and a broad, general look at digestive health and gastrointestinal diseases. This MedlinePlus section is recommended for information provided by some of the most authoritative and reputable sources in the medical field.

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Review Date: 4/15/2019


Ease of Use

The section has intuitive navigation by A-Z topic list or organ, although there are more topics available when browsing by body system than by topic. Each listed topic leads to a page with a brief summary of the disease and numerous links to additional information. There are also right-hand lists that allow access to the medical encyclopedia and other topics related to the condition. Because the unique nature of MedlinePlus, with its many links to outside resources, users must constantly jump from this site to others and then back again; the resulting navigation can be tedious.

Visual Design

The home page has all of the section information and has only a list of topics & systems along with a simple illustration of the gastrointestinal system.


Users will have access to comprehensive and reliable information about gastrointestinal and liver diseases. Inconsistent referencing make the reliability of each MedlinePlus page for a disease or condition variable. Topics found in the medical encyclopedia are well referenced, while this is inconsistent for disease summaries and information from linked sites. However, most links go to respected federal or specialty organization sites.


MedlinePlus clearly identifies the organizations responsible for the content, which include the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, American College of Gastroenterology, and American Academy of Family Physicians. Users will find that the medical encyclopedia topics have the highest reliability by listing reviewers and date of last review. Although MedlinePlus does a great job updating it's pages regularly, the currency of linked sites varies, and individual authors/editors of each topic page are not identified & only occasionally on the linked sites.


  1. Extensive Medical Encyclopedia with information about and related to gastrointestinal disease
  2. Many links to reliable and up-to-date information about a comprehensive spectrum of gastrointestinal & liver diseases
  3. Highly credible website with backing from the U.S. government and supplemented with materials generated by authoritative organizations


  1. User-friendliness of materials vary depending on the external website referenced
  2. Users will have to spend significant time navigating and reading in order to get helpful information


Sponsors / Affiliations: The U.S. National Library of Medicine, The National Institutes of Health

Accreditations: None

Additional Features: Patient handouts, videos, images, specialist finder, relevant journal articles, links to research, health check tools, clinical trials

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