Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis: Glossary

Here are definitions of medical terms related to ulcerative colitis.

Barium enema: A procedure in which the special dye called barium is inserted into the colon through a tube inserted into the rectum, and a series of X-rays is taken.

Colectomy: Colectomy is the removal of the colon.

Colonoscopy: Colonoscopy is an examination of the entire colon, using an electronic imaging scope inserted gently into the anus and moved up through the colon, with the image projected on a screen.

Enema: A procedure in which a solution is introduced into the rectum for cleansing or therapeutic purposes.

Flare-up: A flare-up is an increase in clinical disease symptoms.

Ileo-anal pull through: A technique used during colectomy surgery to allow the patient to continue eliminating solid waste through the anus. The terminal ileum (end of the small intestine) is pulled down and attached to the inner lining of the rectum, which has been left intact after removal of the rest of the colon.

Immunoregulators: A class of drugs that reduces the body’s natural immune system response. Also called immunosuppressives.

Inflammation: An immune system reaction to what is perceived as a foreign organism attacking the body; this reaction causes tissue to become swollen, red, hot, and painful.

Inflammatory bowel disease: The classification of disease that includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Left-sided colitis: Colitis that affects the entire left side of the colon: the rectum, sigmoid colon, and descending colon.

Mortality rate: Death rate

Osteoporosis: A loss of bone density. It may result from long-term use of steroid drugs and even after short-term steroid use.

Ostomy: A surgically constructed opening from the terminal ileum to the outside of the abdominal wall that allows an individual to eliminate solid waste after a colectomy. A standard ostomy involves collection of waste in an external bag. A continent ostomy involves a pouch surgically constructed below the skin in which waste collects, then is emptied through a valve.

Pancolitis: Ulcerative colitis that involves the entire colon.

Polyps: Small growths that protrude from the surface of a mucosal membrane.

Proctosigmoiditis: Ulcerative colitis that involves the rectum and sigmoid colon.

Remission: The period of time when disease symptoms are absent.

Sigmoidoscopy: Sigmoidoscopy is the insertion of fiber-optic scope gently into the anus for the visualization of the rectum and sigmoid colon.

Steroids: A classification of drugs used in treating ulcerative colitis and other chronic inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.

Total parenteral nutrition (TPN): Intravenous feeding involving nutritionally balanced solutions that include proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, delivered into a major vein–usually under the collarbone. TPN can be administered in a hospital setting or through home infusion.

Ulcerative proctitis: Ulcerative colitis that involves only the rectum.

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