IBD Glossary

Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic

IBD Glossary

The Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic at American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, has been designed specifically to help patients manage ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

Abscess: A defensive reaction of the body to an infectious process or other foreign material which results in a collection of pus that has accumulated in a cavity. Most abscesses can be treated with drainage and antibiotics.

Arthritis: Inflammation of one or more joints on the body, which results in pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited movement. Arthritis is a common manifestation of IBD.

Colectomy: A surgical procedure to remove all or a part of the colon. This procedure may be necessary in patients with severe IBD.

Corticosteroid: A class of steroid hormones that are produced in the adrenal glands. They are involved in a wide range of physiologic systems including regulation of inflammation. Patients with IBD are often treated with corticosteroids to decrease inflammation.

Crohn’s Disease: One of the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). This disease may affect any area of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus, but most often affects the small intestine and large intestine.

Erythema Nodosu: (EN): An inflammatory disorder that is characterized by tender, red nodules under the skin. They are most commonly found on the shins. EN is a common manifestation of IBD.

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD): An examination of the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine that uses a fiber optic camera. Patients do not experience any pain or memory of the procedure because they are given sedatives before the procedure starts.

Extraintestinal Manifestation: Sign or symptom of IBD which occurs outside of the GI tract. Organ systems outside the GI tract which are commonly affected in patients with IBD include the skeletal system (bones and joints), skin, eyes, and hepatobiliary system. Extraintestinal manifestations can occur prior to, along with, or following active bowel disease.

Fistula: A narrow passage or duct formed by disease-related injury between two organs or loops of bowel that normally do not connect.

Flare: A sudden appearance or the worsening of the symptoms of IBD.

Gastroenterologist: A doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.

Inflammation: A biological response to harmful stimuli, such as damaged cells, irritants or pathogens. It is usually characterized by redness, swelling, tenderness and pain of an infected area.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): A chronic disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. Major types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which are characterized by inflammation of the intestine.

Ileal Pouch Anal Anastomosis (IPAA): A complex surgical procedure developed to avoid a permanent stoma (opening for collecting waste) in cases where the entire colon and rectum needs to be removed. This procedure is most often done in patients with chronic ulcerative colitis who require removal of their colon.

Large Intestine/Colon: The broad, shorter part of the intestines which from the end of the small intestine (ileum) to the anus. The large intestine is comprised of the colon and rectum. Its main function is to absorb water from stool and eliminate the residues of digestion.

Perforation: A complete penetration of the wall of the stomach, small intestine or large bowel which results in intestinal contents flowing into the abdominal cavity. Most perforations require surgery for treatment.

Pyoderma Gangrenosum: A condition which causes skin to become necrotic, resulting in deep ulcers that usually occur on the legs. These ulcers can lead to very painful chronic wounds. Pyoderma gangrenosum is another extriantestinal manifestation of IBD.

Small Intestine: The narrow, longer part of the intestines extending from the stomach to the colon/large intestine. It is comprised of three parts: the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. It serves to digest and absorb nutrients in the body.

Stricture: An abnormal narrowing in the intestine often caused by inflammation. Common symptoms of strictures include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.

Ulcerative Colitis (UC): One of the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This disease is limited to the colon.

Uveitis: Inflammation of the middle layer of the eye or the “uvea”. Uveitis is another extriantestinal manifestation of IBD.