Incontinence FAQs Glossary of Terms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is...

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Botox: A highly purified preparation of botulinum toxin A, a toxin produced by the bacteri...

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Botulinum toxin: A toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum that is th...

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Bowel: The small and large intestine.

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

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

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Catheter: A thin, flexible tube.

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

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Complication: In medicine, an unanticipated problem that arises following, and is a result...

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

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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.

Contraction: The tightening and shortening of a muscle.

Cystocele: Bulging of the bladder into the vagina.

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

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

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Dysuria: Pain during urination, or difficulty urinating. Dysuria is usually caused by infl...

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ECG: Electrocardiogram.

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

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Epidemic: The occurrence of more cases of a disease than would be expected in a community...

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

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

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Fracture: A break in bone or cartilage. Although usually a result of trauma, a fracture ca...

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

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

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High blood pressure: A repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg. Chro...

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Hysterectomy: An operation to remove the uterus. Hysterectomies are most commonly performe...

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Implant: 1. To embed; to set in firmly. In embryology, the fertilized egg implants ...

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Incidence: The frequency with which something, such as a disease or trait, appears in a pa...

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

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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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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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Labor: Childbirth, the process of delivering a baby and the placenta, membranes, and umbil...

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Medical school: A school with a curriculum leading to a medical degree. The mission of eve...

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

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

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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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Pelvic exam: An examination of the organs of the female reproductive system.

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

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

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Probe: (1) In surgery, a probe is a slender flexible rod with a blunt end used to e...

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

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Radiation: 1. Rays of energy. Gamma rays and X-rays are two of the types of energy ...

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Radiation therapy: The use of high-energy rays to damage cancer cells, stopping them from ...

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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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Refractory: Not yielding, or not yielding readily, to treatment.

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

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Resistance: Opposition to something, or the ability to withstand something. For example, s...

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Rule out: Term used in medicine, meaning to eliminate or exclude something from considera...

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

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

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Spasm: A brief, automatic jerking movement. A muscle spasm can be quite painful, with the ...

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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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Spinal cord injury: Trauma or damage to the spinal cord, the major column of nerve tissue ...

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

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

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Sweating: The act of secreting fluid from the skin by the sweat (sudoriferous) glands. The...

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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.

Topical: Pertaining to a particular surface area. For example, a topical agent is applied ...

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Toxin: A poison produced by certain animals, plants, or bacteria.

Tricyclic antidepressants: One of a class of medications used to treat depression. The tri...

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

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

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Urologist: A physician who specializes in diseases of the urinary organs in females and 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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Medical Dictionary