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GLOSSARY

 

Empower yourself with the right words.

Here are some important words to know when talking with your healthcare team and working towards your treatment goals.

Jump to a selection:

A B C D E F G I J L O P R S U

 

A

Abscess
Infected fluid collection in a tissue cavity.

Absorption
The process of absorbing nourishment in the small intestine.

Aminosalicylates (5-ASAs)
Given either orally or rectally, these drugs work to decrease inflammation in the lining of the intestines and are usually used to treat mild to moderate Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis symptoms.

Anemia
A condition of having less than the normal number of red blood cells or less than normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood.

Antibiotics
Medication that may be used when infections occur or to treat complications of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Types include metronidazole, ciprofloxacin, and others.

 

B

Biologic therapies (biologics)
Given intravenously or injected, this class of drugs suppresses the immune system to reduce inflammation by targeting a specific pathway and is usually given to people who have not responded to conventional therapy.

Biomarker
Biological molecules found in blood, body fluids, or tissues that are a sign of a normal or abnormal process, or of a condition or disease. A biomarker may be used to see how well the body responds to a treatment for a disease or condition.

Bowel
Another name for the intestine. The small and large bowels are the small and large intestines, respectively.

 

C

Chronic
Continuing or occurring again and again for a long time.

Colon
Large bowel or large intestine.

Colonoscopy
A type of diagnostic imaging test that uses a thin, flexible tube with a lighted camera inside the tip (called an endoscope) that allows your doctor to view your entire colon and helps your doctor determine whether you have Crohn’s or UC.

Constipation
Infrequent bowel movements or difficulty passing stools.

Contact Information
Providing your residential address allows us to send you your Restroom Request Card and educational materials.

Corticosteroids (steroids)
Given orally, as an injection, rectally, or intravenously, these medications help reduce inflammation by suppressing the immune system and are usually given to help with moderate to severe Crohn’s and UC symptoms. Steroids are not intended for long-term use.

Crohn’s colitis
A type of Crohn’s disease that affects only the colon. Symptoms include diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and disease around the anus (abscess, fistulas, ulcers).

 

D

Diarrhea
Passage of excessively frequent or excessively liquid stools.

 

E

Electronic medical record (EMR)
An EMR is a digital version of a paper chart that contains all of a patient's medical history from one provider's office.

Endoscopy
Visual inspection of the internal organs using a tubular camera scope.

Extraintestinal
Situated or occurring outside the intestines.

 

F

Fistula
Unnatural channel that forms between portions of intestine, or between the intestine and another nearby structure such as the bladder, vagina, or skin.

Flare (or flare-up)
The sudden intensification of disease symptoms or the return of symptoms suddenly.

Fulminant
Symptoms of disease coming on suddenly with great severity.

 

G

Gastroduodenal Crohn's disease
A type of Crohn’s disease that affects the stomach and the beginning of the small intestine (the duodenum). Symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, and vomiting.

Gastroenterologist
A physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the digestive system. These disorders may affect the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, liver, gallbladder, or pancreas.

Gastrointestinal (GI, or digestive) tract
Collectively referring to the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, and anus.

 

I

Ileitis
A type of Crohn’s disease that affects only the ileum. Symptoms include weight loss, diarrhea, and cramping or pain in the middle or right lower abdomen.

Ileocolitis
A type of Crohn’s disease that affects the end of the small intestine (the ileum) and the large intestine (the colon). Symptoms include weight loss, diarrhea, and cramping or pain in the middle or right lower abdomen.

Ileostomy
Surgical opening in the abdominal wall allowing for the external passage of stool from the ileum.

Ileum
Lowest portion of the small intestine that connects to the large intestine.

Immune modifiers (immunomodulators)
Given orally or injected, these medications suppress the body's immune response so that it cannot cause ongoing inflammation.

Immune system
The body’s natural defense system that fights against foreign substances.

Inflammation
Immune response to tissue injury that causes redness, swelling, and pain.

Intestine
Long, tube-like organ in the abdomen that completes the process of digestion. It consists of the small and large intestines. Also called the bowel.

 

J

Jejunoileitis
A type of Crohn’s disease characterized by patchy areas of inflammation in the upper half of the small intestine (the jejunum). Symptoms include mild to severe abdominal pain and cramps following meals, as well as diarrhea.

 

L

Large intestine
The lower part of the GI tract; the large intestine is wider and shorter than the small intestine and is typically divided into cecum, colon, and rectum. Much of the function of the large intestine is to reabsorb water and to form feces.

Left-sided colitis
A type of ulcerative colitis that primarily affects the rectum and left side of the colon. Symptoms may include bloody diarrhea, pain in the left side of the abdomen, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

 

O

Osteopenia
Reduction in bone volume to below normal levels.

Osteoporosis
A condition that is characterized by the decrease in bone mass with decreased bone density causing brittle bones, usually occurs in older women.

Ostomy
A surgical opening made in the abdominal wall to allow the passage of intestinal contents from the bowel. Each procedure is named for the body location of the ostomy, such as colostomy or ileostomy.

Ostomy bag
An external bag that stores stool passed through the abdominal wall, commonly via an ileostomy after a proctocolectomy.

 

P

Pan-ulcerative colitis
A type of ulcerative colitis that affects the entire large intestine. Symptoms may include bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

Perforation
A hole formed by erosion in an organ or passageway of the body.

Proctocolectomy
Surgical procedure involving removal of the rectum and/or colon. The procedure can include all or part of the colon.

Proctosigmoiditis
A type of ulcerative colitis that primarily affects the rectum and sigmoid colon. Symptoms may include bloody diarrhea, pain in the lower left side of the abdomen, and a constant feeling of needing to pass stools (tenesmus).

Progressive (medical)
Increasing in extent or severity.

 

R

Rectum
Lowest portion of the large intestine that connects to the anus.

Remission
Period in which there are few or no IBD symptoms.

Resection
Surgical removal of a diseased portion of the intestine.

 

S

Stoma
Artificial opening on the skin that allows for draining and stool collection into an ostomy bag.

Stricture
An unusual narrowing of the intestine caused by inflammation or scar tissue.

Strictureplasty
Surgical procedure to widen the intestine as a result of a stricture.

Suppository
Medication (pill or capsule) that is delivered by insertion through the anus.

 

U

Ulcerative proctitis
A type of ulcerative colitis that primarily affects the rectum. Symptoms may include rectal bleeding and pain and feeling of urgency.

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