What is Dilation?

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What is Dilation?
Dilation is the enlargement or widening of objects. In medicine, dilation is the enlargement of a hollow opening or structure, such as the esophagus or the cervix. The direct opposite of dilation is contraction, which means an object collapsing upon itself, making it smaller. The word dilation is derived from the Latin word ‘dilatare’ which literally means ‘to spread wide’. While dilation can refer to many objects which bulk up in size, dilation is more commonly known for its use in the medical field.

Dilation usually refers to the eyes, when the pupils open up (called pupillary dilation) to allow in more light in a low-light environment. Pupillary dilation can also be a reaction caused by sexual attraction. Dilation can also pertain to cervical dilation, which happens during pregnancy (either naturally or induced). The opening or dilation of the uterus can indicate how far into labor a woman is. The dilation of the blood vessels, on the other hand, is called vasodilation. When this happens, blood flow is increased because of the wider space in the veins to accommodate it, which in turn lowers blood pressure.

 

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