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Glossary | Overview

A - C

Abdomen-area of the body between the chest and the hips in the front part of the body that contains the digestive organs.

Anal dilations-procedure to stretch the anus.

Anal sphincters-muscles that surround the anus, which are able to close the anal opening.

Anastomosis-the joining (sewing) together of two parts of the bowel.

Anesthesiologist-doctor who administrates medication to make you sleep during the operation.

Anus- the opening at the end of the rectum, which is where stool is emptied from the body.

Appliance- also called the ostomy pouch or "bag" which collects the body waste such as stool or gas. It is either a 1 or 2-piece collection pouch with a clip at the bottom.

Blockage- obstruction.

Bowel- the part of the digestive tract that begins at the outlet of the stomach and extends to the anus.

Catheter- a small flexible tube used to inject fluid into or withdraw fluid from the body.

Colectomy- removal of part or all of the entire large bowel or intestine (also called the large intestine or colon).

Colitis- inflammation of the colon (large bowel).

Colon- the lower end of the digestive system, also called the large bowel or large intestine. It is approximately 4 to 5 feet long.

Colostomy- a surgically created opening from the colon to the skin of abdominal surface.

Continence- the ability to keep urine or stool inside the body.

Crohn Disease-a chronic, inflammatory process that may affect any part of the digestive tract but most frequently occurs in the small bowel, colon, or rectum and/or anus. It often produces diarrhea, fever, weight loss and pain.

D - E

Dehydration- condition resulting from excessive loss of body fluid.

Distention- to become "bloated" or swollen. The abdomen may become distended if the intestine is not functioning normally or if there is an obstruction of the intestine.

Epidural- a small catheter placed during surgery to help deliver pain medication.

Enema- introduction of solutions into the rectum and colon in order to stimulate bowel activity and to cause emptying of the lower intestine.

ET (enterostomal therapy) nurse- a registered nurse specially educated to provide physical and psychological support to patients with ostomy diversions,draining wounds or incontinence.

Electrolytes- electrically charged chemicals that are very important to the function of many processes in the body.

F - J

Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP)- an inherited disorder characterized by multiple polyps, which are most commonly located in the colon and rectum.

Foley- a particular type of catheter inserted into the bladder through the urethra to drain urine.

Frequency- the number of bowel movements in a given time period.

Gastrointestinal- referring to the digestive system.

Ileoanal anastomosis- the joining of the ileum to the anus after removal of the colon and the rectum.

Ileostomy- a surgically created opening in the ileum, which is the lower part of the small intestine (bowel).

Ileostomy takedown- surgical closure of the ileostomy stoma and reconnecting the bowel and placing it back in the abdomen.

Illeum- the last part of the small intestine consisting of about half the length of the small bowel and ending at the ileocecal valve. It is approximately 12 to 15 feet long.

Ileus- absence of normal contraction of the intestines which always occurs after an abdominal operation.

Incontinence- the inability to control the passage of urine or stool or gas.

Intestine- the digestive tract extending from below the stomach to the anus. It is divided in the small and large intestine or colon.

IV (Intravenous)- a small tube inserted in a small vein in the arm or hand to run fluids, medications and nutrients into your body.

K - O

Kegel exercises- pelvic floor exercises (tighten/relax) that strengthen your anal muscles.

Large bowel- the lower end of the digestive system also called the large intestine or colon. It extends from the ileum to the anus. The large intestine absorbs fluid from the intestinal contents. It is approximately 4 to 5 feet long.

Mucus- a slippery substance produced by the lining of the bowel to lubricate the passage of stool.

Nasogastrictube- a tube inserted through the nose and extending into the stomach. It may be used to empty the stomach of gas and liquids or to give liquids, such as the bowel prep solution.

Ostomy- a surgically created opening in the intestine (bowel) for the drainage of body waste. This opening is also called a stoma. The opening is made through the abdomen (belly).

P - S

Perianal- located around the anus.

Peristomal- located around the stoma.

Polyp-small projection inside the bowel, may be flat or bulging, usually benign but may be malignant.

Pouch- any pocket, sac or reservoir, such as an ileoanal reservoir. Also referred to as the "J-Pouch".

Pouching system-an ostomy appliance or "bag" used to hold body waste.

Pouchitis- an acute inflammation of the lining of the ileoanal reservoir (IAR).

Rectum- lower part of the large intestine which is located in the pelvis, between the sigmoid flexure and the anal canal.

Reservoir- a structure to collect fluids.

Small bowel- also called the small intestine. It begins just below the stomach with the duodenum, connecting to the jejunum and ending with the ileum. It is approximately 22 to 25 feet long. All nutrients from foods and fluids are digested and absorbed there.

Stoma- a Greek word meaning "mouth" that is the opening of the abdominal wall of the ileostomy or colostomy.

Stool- solid waste from the body that gets passed in a bowel movement. Also commonly called "poop" or "feces".

Stricture- a narrowing or constriction of the anal area where surgery has occurred.

T - Z

Ulcerative Colitis- an inflammatory disease of the colon and rectum in which ulcers form in the intestinal lining. Bleeding, cramping, pain and diarrhea are the primary symptoms of the disease. For more information, click here.

Urgency- an impulse to go to the bathroom and empty stool from the anal opening without much warning.