Glossary.

Use the letters to find specific terms and their descriptions.

Abdomen Abdomen - the part of your body between your chest and your pelvis - also known as the stomach and tummy  
Anaemia  Too few red cells in the blood these carry oxygen from your lungs to the muscles and organs in your body - only iron deficiency anaemia is associated with serious bowel conditions - see' More on Bowel Diseases and Tests' for more information.
Anal canal The anal canal is lowest part of the rectum or back passage. It is surrounded by a cuff of muscle to keep it closed to stop involuntary escape of flatus or wind and stool until it is appropriate to pass them! 
Antispasmodic Tablets Tablets that help the bowel muscle to relax and can ease abdominal pain or discomfort. You can buy them at your pharmacist.
Anus  The external opening of the anal canal or back passage.
Bloating Bloating - a condition in which the abdomen feels full and tight and can look blown up or distended. 
Blood Test This involves the taking of a sample of blood by inserting a small needle into a vein. The sample is sent off to the hospital laboratory for analysis for various things including the numbers and character of your red cells to see if you have iron deficiency anaemia 
Bowel Sedatives These are tablets to reduce the frequency of your bowel actions and make the motions more formed. The main ones are codeine phosphate, immodium and lomotil. Click on 'Treatment of Bowel Symptoms' for more information.
Bowel Spasm The bowel has an encircling muscle layer, which can go into spasm and cause pain like leg cramps. The pain can range from mild discomfort to being severe. The bowel muscle normally contracts to push the stool around the bowel and most of the time we are completely unaware of it.
Careful cleaning Soreness and itching around the bottom can be due to increased sensitivity of the skin to motions and it is then necessary to be really careful to make sure the skin is gently and completely cleaned. See 'Treatment of Bowel Symptoms' for a full description.
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