Crohn’s & Colitis Glossary

Anatomy Body

Small intestine

An organ in the GI tract that connects the stomach to the large intestine, where most of the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients and minerals takes place.

Blue dollar sign

Step Therapy

A protocol used by health insurance plans that requires patients to try and fail on one or more lower cost medications before they will provide coverage for the medication originally prescribed by the patient’s provider.



A surgically created opening in the body where a part of the bowel (small or large intestine) pokes out of your abdominal wall and provides an opening for waste to pass through into an external ostomy pouch.

Complication / Symptom


An area of narrowing in the intestines.



Medication that is mixed with a waxy substance and shaped like a torpedo that is inserted through the anus and into the rectum. Once inside the body, it melts to release the medicine.

Complication / Symptom


A change in how you feel or your physical appearance that is a sign of illness or health concern.


Targeted Synthetic Small Molecules

Oral medications that help reduce inflammation by specifically targeting parts of the immune system.


Thiopurine methyltransferase (TPMT)

A blood test for the activity of an enzyme that helps in breaking down certain medications – azathioprine and 6MP – and to establish safety and proper dosing of these medications.

Complication / Symptom

Toxic megacolon

A severe complication associated with ulcerative colitis that leads to rapid enlargement of the colon and requires immediate treatment and surgery. Symptoms include pain, distension or swelling of the abdomen, fever, rapid heart rate, constipation, and dehydration.


Translational research

A research approach that aims to move scientific discoveries into practice, to improve human health through the development of drugs, therapies, techniques, and medical devices.