Here is a list of some of the medical “gibberish” you might encounter with IBD. This is especially for those who are newly diagnosed or people like me who want to know what the heck their doctor is saying when they use words like “CBC” and “Anemia” 😆 . Please note that these are not nearly all of the terms you may come across as an IBD patient/caregiver. Of course, you do not need to know all of these terms, and I do not mean to overwhelm you with this information! I would love to take suggestions for other words you would like me to add. Remember that the definitions listed are based on my own research and experience with each topic. Although I have done a lot of research about IBD, I am not a professional!
IBD: Stands for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, aka Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
UC: Stands for Ulcerative Colitis.
Crohn’s Disease: An inflammatory bowel condition where a person’s immune system attacks their digestive system and causes inflammation (swelling), ulcers (sort of like canker sores), and irritation in the digestive tract.
Ulcerative Colitis: An inflammatory bowel condition where a person’s immune system attacks their colon and causes inflammation (swelling), ulcers (sort of like canker sores), and irritation in the digestive tract.
Autoimmune: A group of medical conditions in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells.
Flare: A period when IBD is active, symptoms return/are worse, and the disease is not controlled.
Remission: A period when IBD is well controlled and symptoms are gone/better.
Tests and procedures:
Colonoscopy: A camera is placed up your butt (don’t worry; you’re asleep!) to study your colon and the end of your small intestine.
Endoscopy: A camera is placed down your throat (don’t worry; you’re asleep) into your esophagus to see the top parts of your digestive system.
Upper GI: A test that uses barium contrast and x-rays to look at the upper and middle parts of you digestive system.
Lower GI: A test that uses barium contrast and x-rays to look at your colon (lower digestive system).
MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging – a test that uses huge magnets to create a picture of a specific part of the body. This helps doctors determine if there are signs of disease or injury based on what the pictures show.
X-ray: An imaging test that uses small amounts of radiation to see the bones, tissues, and organs inside your body.
CT Scan: Multiple x-rays taken from different angles to give your doctor a better picture of what’s inside you.
IV: Stands for Intravenous aka in a vein. This is how some types of medicines are administered.
Infusion: The process of getting a medicine through an IV.
Injection: A shot (vaccine or medicine) given to a person with a needle.
Anatomy of the digestive system:
Digestive tract: The parts of your body that process your food.
Large intestine: The colon, cecum, and rectum.
Esophagus: Part of the digestive tract that connects throat to the stomach.
Stomach: The organ in which most of your food is digested; in between the esophagus and the small intestine.
Small intestine: The part of the digestive tract between the stomach and large intestine with various sub-parts.
Duodenum: The first part of the small intestine that connects from the stomach to the jejunum.
Jejunum: Part of the small intestine in between the duodenum and ilium.
Ilium: The third portion of the small intestine, a common area for Crohn’s disease to occur.
Cecum: A pouch connected to the joining of the small and large intestine.
Colon: The main part of the large intestine.
Rectum: The final section of the large intestine.
Blood/Lab Test Terms
Red blood cell: Tiny cells that carry oxygen all around your body.
White blood cell: Tiny cells that help fight infection throughout your body.
Platelet: Tiny cells that help your blood clot (stop bleeding).
Vein: Blood vessels that carry blood from your body back to your heart so that oxygen is pumped back into it. Also where an IV goes.
Artery: Blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of the body with oxygen in it.
Anemia: When a person’s blood doesn’t have enough red blood cells.
Hemoglobin: A protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen around your body and carries carbon dioxide back to your lungs.
CBC: A Complete Blood Count; the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in a person’s blood.
Basic Metabolic Panel: A blood test that measure’s the amount of sugar and electrolytes in your body/blood and how well your kidneys are working.
Blood Glucose (BG): The amount of sugar in a person’s blood (from the food they eat).
C-reactive protein (CRP): A protein produced by the liver that shows inflammation in the body if a person has an abnormal amount in their blood.
Areas that can be affected by IBD besides the stomach
- arthritis: inflammation of the joints (pain, redness, swelling)
- arthralgia: pain in the joins (no swelling/redness)
- Eyes: Inflammation/Inflammatory conditions (redness, swelling, vision issues)
- Growth: (delayed growth, weight loss/poor weight gain)
- Whole body: Tiredness
- + More (Varies person to person)
Medications and other IBD Treatments
Please leave suggestions for more words you would like to see on this page!