Glossary of Terms

Anal Abscess – A painful, infected cavity filled with pus located near the anus or rectum. If the abscess is large, a person may develop fever, chills or a general ill feeling.

Anal Fissure – A small tear or cut in the skin lining the anus which can cause pain and/or bleeding.

Anal Fistula – A small tunnel which starts inside the anus and usually exits at one or more places on the skin of the buttocks outside the anus, almost always resulting from a previous abscess.

Anal Warts – Also known as condyloma, these are HPV related growths found on the skin around the anus, or in the anal canal..

Colon/Rectal Cancer – Malignant tumors in the colon or rectum. It is the third most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. Prevention and early detection are the KEYS in reducing the risk of cancer-related death.

Constipation – May refer to hard, dry bowel movements, difficulty eliminating bowel movements and/or infrequent bowel movements, sometimes preceded by cramping or bloating.

Fecal Incontinence – The inability to control your bowel movements, causing stool to leak unexpectedly from your rectum; can range from an occasional leakage of stool while passing gas to a complete loss of bowel control.

Hemorrhoids – Normal vascular structures that can become enlarged and symptomatic either on the external anal skin, or internally in the upper anal canal. An enlargement or swelling of blood vessels in the anal region can cause protrusion of tissue, bleeding, or discomfort.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease – The name given to several related disorders of the intestine. The three main forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease, proctitis, and ulcerative colitis.

Levator Syndrome – A painful condition caused by spasm of a large group of muscles in the pelvis called the Levator ani muscles. Usually causes a dull aching pain that is worse after prolonged sitting and is often worse at times of increased life stress.

Pilonidal Disease – A disease in which a pilonidal cyst located in the crease between the buttocks, tends to become infected leading to a pilonidal abscess causing pain, swelling and often drainage.

Polyps – A potentially precancerous growth that forms on the lining of the colon or rectum. Approximately 20% of all people will develop polyps; they almost never cause symptoms while small; and many will become cancerous if not removed.

Pruritus Ani – A chronic rash causing itching or burning around the anal area; an irresistible urge to scratch sometimes results, usually becoming most noticeable at night or after bowel movements.

Rectal Prolapse – A condition caused by the weakening of the ligaments and muscles that hold the rectum in place. In the earliest phase, the rectal prolapse may be internal, but as the condition progresses, the rectum can be seen or felt outside of the body, called a complete rectal prolapse; It can occur in both sexes, but is significantly more common in women than in men

Rectocele – A rectocele occurs when the rectovaginal septum (a wall of fibrous tissue separating the rectum from the vagina) becomes weakened, allowing the front wall of the rectum to bulge into the vagina.