Glossary of Terms



The formation of new fibrous tissue as a result of inflammation or injury, which creates an abnormal union of surfaces or organs which are normally separate.
Anastamosis: The surgical union of two hollow tubular parts (e.g. the ureter and the ileum) to form a passage.
Anus: The final 4 cm (1.5 inches) of the large bowel, below the rectum, forming the excretory opening or anal canal.
Appliance: Pouch and accessories worn by a person with an ostomy over the stoma to collect bodily waste.
Bladder: The organ which acts as a collector for urine.
Bowel: The intestine(s); the part of the digestive tract between the stomach and the anus, composed of two parts: the colon, or large bowel, and the ileum, or small bowel.
Cecostomy Tube: Patients with fecal incontinence or chronic constipation can use a cecostomy tube to administer an enema to evacuate (flush) the large intestines through the anus. The tube is a catheter (usually a Chiat Cecostomy tube) placed through the abdomen into the cecum, the first part of the large bowel (in the lower right abdomen). The tube needs to be changed every 6-12 months.
Colitis: See ulcerative colitis.
Colon: Large bowel (large intestine). Its major functions are absorption of fluid, and storage of fecal material (stool) prior to evacuation (bowel movement).
Colostomy: A surgical opening from the large bowel (colon) to the abdomen, forming a stoma for the discharge of stool (fecal material).
Continent ileostomy: Surgical technique of constructing an intra-abdominal pouch from part of the ileum. May be referred to as a Kock pouch or an ileo-anal reservoir. External appliances are not required.
Continent urostomy: Surgical technique of an intra-abdominal pouch from a section of bowel for retention of urine, after dysfunction or removal of bladder. May be referred to as Kock urostomy or Indiana pouch. External appliances are not required.
Crohn’s disease: A chronic, progressive inflammatory bowel disease with an unknown cause that can affect any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fever.
Dehydration: Loss of fluids (water) or moisture. May be result of diarrhea, heat exposure, intestinal blockage or certain medications.
Diverticulitis: Inflammation of small sacs which have protruded from wall of bowel. May result in perforation or obstruction of the bowel.
Electrolytes: Compounds (sodium, potassium, magnesium) which maintain the body’s chemical balance. Ostomates must ensure they have adequate intake of these minerals through fluids and food.
ET Nurse: A nurse who has taken specific instruction for the care of persons with ostomies, wounds, or who are incontinent. An ET may assist with pre-and post-operative counseling and instruction.
Familial polyposi Also known as FAP: Familial Adenatomous Polyposis. An inherited disease, characterized by a proliferation of polyps in the colon and rectum. If untreated, polyps will become malignant. Symptoms may include rectal bleeding, mild to moderate diarrhea, and weight loss.
Feces: Bowel waste; also excrement or stool.
Fistula: An abnormal connection from one organ to another or from the bowel to the abdomen. A fistula may develop spontaneously, but usually requires surgery to remove.
Gastroenteritis: Inflammation of stomach and bowel. Symptoms may include cramping, diarrhea, and fever.
Hernia: Abnormal bulging or extrusion of an organ through tissue or muscle which contains it; e.g. peristomal hernia, in which bowel bulges through the band of abdominal muscle around the stoma.
IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease; term used to describe a group of bowel diseases which cause an inflammation in the bowel, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Ileitis: Inflammation of the small bowel (ileum).
Indiana Pouch: See Continent urostomy
Ileoanal reservoir: See Continent ileostomy
Ileostomy: A surgical opening from the small bowel (ileum) to the surface of the abdomen, forming a stoma for the discharge of stool (fecal material).
Ileum: The small bowel; joins the colon (large bowel). Major functions are digestion and absorption of nutrients, and absorption of electrolytes.
Indiana pouch: See Continent urostomy.
Irrigation: Procedure which flushes bowel via insertion of water through stoma into colon. Only suitable for persons with sigmoid or descending colostomy; should only be undertaken after consultation with physician or ET.
Kidneys: Organs which filter impurities and waste from the blood, and excrete them via the ureters to the bladder as urine.
Kock pouch: See Continent ileostomy
Malignant: Cancerous (in reference to tumours).
Mucosa: A moist mucous secreting lining of body cavities open to the exterior e.g. the bowel, mouth, nose, vagina.
Mucus: Slippery secretion that lines mucous membranes (mucosa). In bowel, enables contents to ‘slide’.
Ostomate: Person who has had surgery resulting in the creation of a stoma.
Ostomy: Surgical procedure creating an opening from the bowel or ureters to the abdomen, resulting in a stoma, for the purpose of eliminating waste (stool/urine).
Perineum: The area of the body surrounding the genitals (sex organs) and the anus. Also referred to as the perineal area.
Peristomal: Around the stoma e.g. the peristomal skin is the skin around and closest to the stoma.
Polyps: Soft growths on the skin or mucous membranes. May be benign (harmless) or malignant (cancerous).
Rectum: Lower section of the large bowel (colon) about 15 cm (6 inches) long, terminating in the anus. Acts as storage area for fecal waste.
Stoma: Opening. When used in reference to ostomy care, it is a segment of bowel or (less often) ureter brought to the surface of the abdomen. It is formed of mucosal tissue, and is red and moist in appearance. Ideally it will protrude about 1.5-2.5 cm.
Stenosis: Narrowing or constriction of a passageway.
Trauma: Injury caused by accident, violence e.g. car crash, stabbing. May be a cause of ostomy surgery.
Ulcerative colitis: An inflammatory bowel disease of unknown cause which affects the mucosal tissue of the colon and rectum. Symptoms include diarrhea, bleeding, abdominal discomfort, and weight loss.
Ureters: Tube-like structures which carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
Urethra: Tube-like structure which carries urine from the bladder to the urethral opening, situated at the tip of the penis (male) or in the vagina (female).
Urine: Liquid secreted by the kidneys which contains bodily wastes and excess fluids. It is stored in the bladder and discharged through the urethra.
Urostomy: A surgically constructed method of bypassing a dysfunctional or removed bladder in order to discharge urine. Most commonly a conduit is surgically created from a section of ileum, and the ureters are connected to it. The open end of the conduit (ileal conduit) is brought to the surface of the abdomen to create a stoma.