Glossary Of Incontinence Terms

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Acute incontinence
The sudden onset of episodes of involuntary loss of urine, usually associated with an acute illness or physical inability to reach a toilet.
Adhesion
Web-like growths of scar tissue that can bind any of the pelvic organs to one another; may be caused by surgery, injury or endometriosis; causes pelvic pain.
Anaesthetic
A drug used to prevent pain during surgery or other procedures. A general anaesthetic makes the person unconscious, while a local anaesthetic numbs the area where the surgery is to be performed.
Anal fissure
Crack in the skin in or adjacent to the anal canal.
Anal sphincter
External and internal anal muscles that opens and closes to prevent stool from leaving your rectum.
Antibiotics
Drugs used to kill bacterial or fungal infections.
Antispasmodics
Drugs that inhibit smooth muscle contraction in the gastrointestinal tract.
Anus
The external opening of the rectum where solid waste is eliminated from the body.
Barium enema
A procedure that includes delivering liquid barium (a metallic, chemical, chalky liquid) to the rectum and colon so the area can be seen on an X-ray.
Benign
An abnormal growth that is not cancer, will not spread to other areas of the body and will not become life-threatening.
Biofeedback
A method of treatment that uses monitors to feed back to patients physiological information of which they are normally unaware. By watching the monitor, patients can learn by trial and error to adjust their thinking and other mental processes in order to be aware and control "involuntary" bodily processes.
Biopsy
Process of removing tissue from the body for closer examination.
Bladder
Hollow organ in the lower abdomen that stores urine. The kidneys filter waste from the blood and produce urine, which enters the bladder through two tubes called ureters. Urine leaves the bladder through another tube called urethra.
Bladder Capacity
Amount of fluid bladder can hold.
Bladder Compliance
Ability of bladder to expand to accommodate urine.
Bowel
The small and large intestines.
Colectomy
Surgical removal of part or all of the colon.
Colon
The large intestine.
Colonoscopy
An examination of the colon in which a thin, flexible, lighted viewing tube (colonoscope) is inserted into the rectum. A colonoscopy allows a doctor to see the inside of the colon.
Colostomy
A surgically created opening of the colon to the abdominal wall, allowing the diversion of fecal waste.
Constipation
Reduced stool frequency, or hard stools, difficulty passing stools, or painful bowel movements.
Crohn's disease
A chronic inflammatory condition of the digestive tract. It is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) where inflammation occurs anywhere from the mouth to rectum but most commonly in the small and/or large intestines. Common symptoms of Crohn's disease include diarrhea and abdominal pain/cramping.
Cystocele
Bladder herniating through a defect in the front Vaginal Wall.
Cystometrogram (CMG)
Measurement of pressure in bladder in relations to volume of fluid.
Cystometry
The study of bladder filling and storage.
Diarrhea
Passing frequent and loose stools that can be watery. Acute diarrhea goes away in a few weeks, and becomes chronic when it lasts longer than 4 weeks.
Duodenum
The first part of the small intestine.
Dysmenorrhea
Cramps or painful menstruation
Dyspareunia
Painful sex due to medical or psychological causes.
Dysplasia
Changes in the cells of the colon which can be a precursor to colorectal cancer.
Dysuria
Painful or difficult urination.
Endoscope
A thin, flexible tube with a light and a lens on the end used to look into the duodenum, small intestine, colon, or rectum.
Endoscopy
A procedure that uses an endoscope to diagnose or treat a condition. Depending on the area being examined, the procedure may be called a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.
Enuresis
Involuntary urination while sleeping (bedwetting).
Episiotomy
A surgical cut made just before delivery in the muscular area between the vagina and the anus (perineum) to enlarge vaginal opening.
Fallopian tubes
Tubes through which the egg passes from the ovary to the uterus
Flare-up
When the rectum and/or colon become inflamed. During a flare-up, people experience symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain or cramping, and an urgent need to have a bowel movement. Flare-ups can vary in duration and intensity.
Gastroenterologist
A doctor who specializes in the non-surgical management of digestive diseases or disorders.
Gastroenterology
The field of medicine concerned with the function and disorders of the digestive system.
Gastroscopy
Examination of the inside of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum using an endoscope.
Hematuria
The presence of blood or blood cells in the urine.
Hemorrhoids
Enlarged veins inside and/or outside the rectum and/or anus that may be painful and/or bleed.
Hysterectomy
The removal of the uterus.
Hysteroscopic resection
The removal of fibroids from the inner wall of the uterus with a fiberoptic device called a hysteroscope.
Inflammation
Redness, heat, or pain that indicates an injury to tissue.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
A chronic inflammatory condition of the digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are the most common forms of IBD.
Internal sphincter
The involuntary smooth muscle sphincter.
Intestines
Also known as the bowels, or the long, tube-like organ in the human body that completes digestion or the breaking down of food. They consist of the small intestine and the large intestine.
Intrinsic sphincter deficiency (ISD)
Type of stress incontinence attributable to sphincter muscle incompetence. It is also known as poor or nonfuctioning urethral closure mechanism, or Type III stress incontinence.
Irritable bowel syndrome
A bowel disorder which can cause abdominal cramps, diarrhea or constipation, and urgency. Irritable bowel syndrome does not cause physical changes in the gut. IBS is not an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Kegel exercises
Exercises designed to increase muscle strength and elasticity in the pelvis. Kegel exercises may be recommended for treatment of an incompetent cervix, vaginal looseness after pregnancy and delivery, or urinary incontinence.
Laparoscopy
A procedure that uses a fibreoptic device called a laparoscope to examine the inside of the pelvic cavity. The laparoscope is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen.
Laparotomy
Traditional abdominal surgery
Large intestine
The long, tube-like organ that is connected to the small intestine at one end and the anus at the other. The large intestine has four parts: cecum, colon, rectum, and anal canal.
Laxative
A compound that increases fecal water content.
Lower endoscopy
An examination of the rectum and/or lower portion of the colon using a lighted, flexible tube (colonoscope) inserted into the rectum.
Malignant
A clinical term that is used to describe a clinical course that progresses rapidly. In the case of tumours, malignant means cancerous.
Manometry
A test that measures pressure or contractions.
Menopause
The time in a woman's life when menstrual periods permanently stop.
Nocturia
The need to get up during the night in order to urinate.
Nodule
A small aggregation of cells.
Ovaries
Pair of reproductive organs that produce eggs and sex hormones in females.
Pelvic congestion
Swelling of the veins in the pelvis causing pressure and pain.
Perineum
The area of the body between the anus and the vulva in females, and between the anus and the scrotum in males.
Polyp
Non-cancerous intestinal growths that usually develop slowly over time and can lead to cancer.
Post Void Residual
Amount of urine left in bladder after voiding.
Post-void dribbling
Urine remaining in urethra after voiding bladder slowly leaks out minutes after urinating.
Proctocolectomy
Surgical removal of the rectum along with all or part of the colon.
Prostate
A gland within the male reproductive system that is located just below the bladder. Chestnut shaped, the prostate surrounds the beginning of the urethra, the canal that empties the bladder.
Pubovaginal Sling
Procedure for the treatment of stress incontinence in which the urethra is suspended with a piece of tissue or synthetic material.
Rectal accommodation
Rectal stretching that allows you to hold stool for some time.
Rectocele
Rectum herniating through a defect on the Posterior Vaginal Wall.
Rectum
The lower end of the large intestine, leading to the anus. Rectum is the last part of the digestive tract where waste is eliminated.
Sigmoid colon
The S-shaped section of the colon that connects to the rectum.
Sigmoidoscopy
A procedure consisting of inserting a lighted, flexible tube (endoscope) into the rectum to view the sigmoid colon.
Small intestine
The part of the digestive tract that is located between the stomach and the large intestine.
Tenesmus
An urgent need to have a bowel movement.
Transvaginal surgery
Surgery where the incision is inside the vagina; transvaginal surgery may be used for surgery that affects the bladder such as cystocele or stress incontinence.
Tumour
A mass of cells that may be benign or cancerous
Ulcerative colitis
A chronic inflammatory condition of the digestive tract. It is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that involves inflammation of the inner lining of the colon and rectum. People with this condition alternate between flare-ups and periods of remission throughout their lives. Ulcerative colitis is similar to Crohn's disease, another form of IBD.
Ultrasound
An imaging method in which high-frequency sound waves are used to outline a part of the body. Thicker tissue appears lighter on the ultrasound screen. Ultrasound technology has been used for over 35 years and studies show it is safe.
Urethra
The tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body; in males, its also the channel through which semen is ejaculated.
Urethral syndrome
Pain and inflammation of the urethra.
Urine
Liquid waste, clear, transparent fluid. It normally has an amber color. The average amount of urine excreted in 24 hours is from 40 to 60 ounces (about 1,200 cubic centimeters).
Urodynamics
Investigation of functional disorders of the lower urinary tract(bladder, urethra...)
Uterosacral ligaments
Ligaments that attach the uterus and cervix to the base of the spine.
Uterus
The uterus or womb is the female organ that holds and sustains the fetus.
Void
To urinate, to void your bladder and empty it of urine.