Incontinence Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Incontinence article.

Abdomen: The belly, that part of the body that contains all of the structures between the...

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Abdominal: Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contains all of ...

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Abdominal muscles: A large group of muscles in the front of the abdomen that assists in th...

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Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.

Abscess: A local accumulation of pus anywhere in the body. The following are some example...

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Aging: The process of becoming older, a process that is genetically determined and environ...

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Allergic reaction: The hypersensitive response of the immune system of an allergic indiv...

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Alzheimer's disease: A progressive degenerative disease of the brain that leads to dementi...

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Anesthesia: Loss of feeling or awareness, as when an anesthetic is administered before sur...

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Anterior: The front, as opposed to the posterior. The anterior surface of the heart is tow...

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Anticholinergic: Opposing the actions of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Anticholinerg...

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Antidepressant: Anything, and especially a drug, used to prevent or treat depression.

Antidepressants: Anything, and especially a drug, used to prevent or treat depression.

Antispasmodic: A medication that relieves, prevents, or lowers the incidence of muscle spa...

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Arms: An appendage in anatomy and in clinical trials. See: Arm.

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Arthritis: Inflammation of a joint. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, w...

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Bacteria: Single-celled microorganisms that can exist either as independent (free-living) ...

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Bacterial: Of or pertaining to bacteria, as in a bacterial lung infection.

Bedwetting: Involuntary urination in bed. Bedwetting is called "enuresis," from the Gree...

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Belly: That part of the body that contains all of the structures between the chest and t...

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Belly button: The navel or umbilicus; the former site of attachment of the umbilical cord....

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Benign: Not malignant. A benign tumor is one that does not invade surrounding tissue or sp...

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Benign prostatic hyperplasia: A common, noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. Th...

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Biofeedback: A method of treatment that uses a monitor to measure patients' physiologic in...

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Bladder: A hollow organ in the lower abdomen that stores urine. The kidneys filter waste f...

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Bladder cancer: A common form of cancer that begins in the lining of the bladder. The most...

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Bladder infection: Infection of the urinary bladder. Some people are at more risk for blad...

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Blood in the urine: Blood that appears in the urine. Also known as hematuria. Gross hematu...

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Bowel: The small and large intestine.

BPH: Benign prostatic hyperplasia, benign prostatic hypertrophy.

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Brain: The portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skull. It func...

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Caffeine: A stimulant compound found naturally in coffee, tea, cocoa (chocolate), and kola...

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Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, ...

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Carcinoma: Cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover body organs. Ex...

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Carcinoma in situ: Cancer that has stayed in the place where it began and has not spread t...

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Catheter: A thin, flexible tube.

Cellulitis: A spreading bacterial infection underneath the skin surface characterized by r...

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Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months ...

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Cognitive: Having to do with thought, judgment, or knowledge.

Colitis: Inflammation of the large intestine (the colon). There are many forms of coliti...

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Collagen: The principal protein of the skin, tendons, cartilage, bone, and connective tiss...

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Compress: Cloth or another material applied under pressure to an area of the skin and held...

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Compression: 1. The act of pressing together. As in a compression fracture, nerve c...

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Cone: A type of specialized light-sensitive cell (photoreceptor) in the retina of the eye ...

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Congenital: A condition that is present at birth, whether or not it is inherited.

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Constipation: Infrequent and frequently incomplete bowel movements. Constipation is the op...

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Contraction: The tightening and shortening of a muscle.

Contrast: Short for "contrast media." Contrast media are X-ray dyes used to provide contra...

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Contrast media: X-ray dye. Commonly spoken of as "contrast."

Cough: A rapid expulsion of air from the lungs, typically in order to clear the lung airwa...

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Cure: 1. To heal, to make well, to restore to good health. 2. A time withou...

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Cystocele: Bulging of the bladder into the vagina.

Cystoscope: An optical instrument (a scope) that is inserted through the urethra into the...

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Cystoscopy: A procedure in which a lighted optical instrument called a cystoscope is inser...

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Cytology: The medical and scientific study of cells. Cytology refers to a branch of pathol...

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Dementia: Significant loss of intellectual abilities, such as memory capacity, that is sev...

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Depression: An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way...

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Diabetes: Refers to diabetes mellitus or, less often, to diabetes insipidus. Diabetes mell...

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Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

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Disc: Shortened terminology for an intervertebral disc, a disk-shaped piece of specialized...

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Drain: A device for removing fluid from a cavity or wound. A drain is typically a tube or ...

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Dysfunction: Difficult function or abnormal function.

Elavil: See: Amitriptyline.

Endoscope: A lighted optical instrument that is used to get a deep look inside the body. A...

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Enuresis: Involuntary urination, which may be caused by a variety of factors. These incl...

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Erosion: An erosion is an eating away of a surface. ("Erodere" in Latin means to eat out.)...

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Estrogen: A female steroid hormone that is produced by the ovaries and, in lesser amounts,...

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Estrogens: Female hormones produced by the ovaries. Estrogen deficiency can lead to osteop...

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Feces: The excrement discharged from the 'intestines.

Feedback: Many biologic processes are controlled by feedback, just as the temperature in a...

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Fistula: An abnormal passageway in the body. The fistula may go from the body surface int...

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Foley catheter: See: Catheter, Foley.

Genital: Pertaining to the external and/or internal organs of reproduction.

Genital herpes: An infection by human herpes virus that is transmitted through intimate co...

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Gland: A group of cells that secrete a substance for use in the body. For example, the thy...

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Glaucoma: A common eye condition in which the fluid pressure inside the eyes rises becaus...

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Headache: A pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the he...

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Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. ...

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Hematuria: Blood in the urine. Hematuria may or may not be accompanied by pain, but it is...

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Herpes: A family of viruses. Herpes also refers to infection with one of the human herpesv...

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Hyperplasia: An increase in the number of normal cells in a tissue or an organ. Hyperplasi...

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Hypertension: High blood pressure, defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceedi...

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Iatrogenic: Due to the activity of a physician or therapy. For example, an iatrogenic illn...

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Idiopathic: Of unknown cause. Any disease that is of uncertain or unknown origin may be te...

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In situ: In the normal location. An in situ tumor is one that is confined to its site of o...

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Incision: A cut through skin or other tissue performed by a health care professional.

Incontinence: The inability to control excretions, to hold urine in the bladder, or to kee...

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Incontinent: Unable to control excretions, to hold urine in the bladder, or to keep feces ...

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Indicate: In medicine, to make a treatment or procedure advisable because of a particular ...

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Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, an...

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Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a ...

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Injury: Harm or hurt. To harm, hurt, or wound. The word injure may be in physical or emot...

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Intrinsic: 1. An essential or inherent part of a something such as a structure.
...

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Involuntary: Done other than in accordance with the conscious will of the individual. The ...

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Kegel exercises: Exercises designed to increase muscle strength and elasticity in the fema...

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Kidney: One of a pair of organs located in the right and left side of the abdomen. The kid...

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Labia: Lips, the fleshy folds that surround the opening of the mouth (oral labia) or the v...

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Laparoscopic: 1. Pertaining to the procedure of laparoscopy.
2. Pert...

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Lean body mass: The mass of the body minus the fat (storage lipid). There are a number of ...

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Lumbar: Referring to the five lumbar vertebrae, the disks below them, and the correspondin...

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Medical history: 1. In clinical medicine, the patient's past and present which may ...

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Menopause: The time in a woman's life when menstrual periods permanently stop; it is also...

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Microscope: An optical instrument that augments the power of the eye to see small objects....

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Micturition: Urination; the act of urinating.

Multiple sclerosis: A disease that is characterized by loss of myelin (demyelinization). A...

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Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. T...

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Myasthenia gravis: An autoimmune neuromuscular disorder that is characterized by fatigue a...

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Neck: The part of the body joining the head to the shoulders. Also, any narrow or constric...

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Nerve: A bundle of fibers that uses electrical and chemical signals to transmit sensory an...

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Neurological: Having to do with the nerves or the nervous system as, for example, a neurol...

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Neuropathy: Any disease or malfunction of the nerves.

Neurosyphilis: Neurological complications in the third (tertiary) and final phase of syp...

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Nocturia: Excessive urinating at night. Nocturia can be normal and more common with aging....

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Nocturnal enuresis: Bedwetting at night. From the Greek "enourin" meaning "to urinate i...

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Nurse: 1) A person trained, licensed, or skilled in nursing. 2) To feed an infant at the ...

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Nursing: 1) Profession concerned with the provision of services essential to the maintena...

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Nursing home: A residential facility for people with chronic illness or disability, partic...

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Obesity: The state of being well above one's normal weight.

Objective: In a microscope, the objective (also called the objective lens) is the lens nea...

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Obstruction: Blockage of a passageway. See, for example: Airway obstruction; Intestinal o...

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Organ: A relatively independent part of the body that carries out one or more special func...

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Outlet: The exit or opening. The means by which something escapes.

Outpatient: A patient who is not hospitalized, but instead comes to a physician?s office, ...

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Overactive bladder: A sudden involuntary contraction of the muscular wall of the bladder c...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Parkinson's disease: A slowly progressive neurologic disease that is characterized by a fi...

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Pelvic: Having to do with the pelvis, the lower part of the abdomen, located between the h...

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Pelvis: The lower part of the abdomen, located between the hip bones. Structures in the fe...

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Penile: Of or pertaining to the penis.

Penis: The external male sex organ. The penis contains two chambers, the corpora cavernosa...

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Perineal: Pertaining to the perineum.

Perineum: The area between the anus and the scrotum in the male and between the anus and t...

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Peripheral: Situated away from the center, as opposed to centrally located.

Physical therapy: A branch of rehabilitative health that uses specially designed exercises...

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Postmenopausal: After menopause, the period of time after a woman has experienced 12 conse...

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Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. Thi...

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Progressive: Increasing in scope or severity, advancing, or going forward. For example, a ...

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Prostate: A gland within the male reproductive system that is located just below the blad...

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Prostate gland: A gland in the male reproductive system that is located just below the bla...

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Radiograph: In medicine, an X-ray or a film produced through X-ray.

Radioisotope: A version of a chemical element that has an unstable nucleus and emits radia...

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Rectum: The last 6 to 8 inches of the large intestine. The rectum stores solid waste until...

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Reflex: An involuntary reaction. For example, the corneal reflex is the blink that occurs ...

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Regimen: A plan or a regulated course, such as a diet, exercise, or treatment, that is des...

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Rehabilitation: The process of helping a person who has suffered an illness or injury rest...

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Renal: Having to do with the kidney. For example, renal cancer is cancer of the kidneys.

Residual: Something left behind. With residual disease, the disease has not been eradicate...

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Sclerosis: Localized hardening of skin. Sclerosis is generally caused by underlying diseas...

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Scrotum: The pouch of skin that contains the testes, epididymides, and lower portions of t...

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Sensation: In medicine and physiology, sensation refers to the registration of an incoming...

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Sensory: Relating to sensation, to the perception of a stimulus, to the voyage made by inc...

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Sleep: The body's rest cycle.

Sneeze: 1. As a verb, to suddenly expel air through the nose and mouth by an involu...

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Spinal cord: The major column of nerve tissue that is connected to the brain and lies with...

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Stool: The solid matter that is discharged in a bowel movement.

Stress: In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional fact...

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Stricture: An abnormal narrowing of a body passage, especially a tube or a canal. The str...

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Stroke: The sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockage of blood...

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Substance: 1. Material with particular features.
2. The material that...

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Surgeon: A physician who treats disease, injury, or deformity via operative or manual meth...

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Surgery: The branch of medicine that employs operations in the treatment of disease or inj...

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Symptom: Any subjective evidence of disease. In contrast, a sign is objective. Blood comin...

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Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.

Thigh: The thick, muscular portion of the leg that extends from the hip to the knee. The t...

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Tobacco: A South American herb (Nicotiana tabacum) whose leaves contain 2 to 8 percent nic...

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Trauma: A physical or emotional injury.

Trigger: Something that either sets off a disease in people who are genetically predispose...

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Tubes: The "tubes" are medically known as the Fallopian tubes. There are two Fallopian tub...

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Tumor: An abnormal mass of tissue. Tumors are a classic sign of inflammation, and can be ...

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Ulcerative colitis: A bowel disease that is characterized by inflammation with ulcer forma...

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Ultrasound: High-frequency sound waves. Ultra-sound waves can be bounced off tissues by us...

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Ureter: One of the two tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Each ureter...

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Urethra: The tube that leads from the bladder and transports and discharges urine outside ...

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Urethral sphincter: A muscular mechanism
that controls the retention and release of u...

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Urethritis: Inflammation of the urethra, the tube that leads from the bladder to the outsi...

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Urge incontinence: A sudden involuntary contraction of the muscular wall of the bladder ca...

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Urinalysis: A test that is done in order to analyze urine. Because toxins and excess fluid...

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Urinary: Having to do with the function or anatomy of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or ur...

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Urinary incontinence: The unintentional loss of urine. Inability to hold urine in the blad...

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Urinary tract: The organs of the body that produce, store, and discharge urine. These orga...

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Urinary tract infection: An infection of the kidney, ureter, bladder, or urethra. Abbrevia...

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Urinary urgency: An immediate unstoppable urge to urinate, due to a sudden involuntary con...

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Urine: Liquid waste produced by the kidneys. Urine is a clear, transparent fluid that norm...

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Uterus: A hollow, pear-shaped organ that is located in a woman's lower abdomen, between th...

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UTI: Urinary tract infection.

Vagina: The muscular canal that extends from the cervix to the outside of the body. It is ...

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Valsalva: 1. The Valsalva maneuver in which a person tries to exhale forcibly with ...

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Valsalva maneuver: A maneuver in which one tries with force to exhale with the windpipe cl...

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Vesical: Refers to the urinary bladder. The word comes from the Latin vesica meaning a bag...

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Withdrawal symptoms: Abnormal physical or psychological features that follow the abrupt di...

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X-ray: High-energy radiation with waves shorter than those of visible light. X-ray is used...

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Medical Dictionary