Ostomy Glossary: Colostomy, Ileostomy, Urostomy Information (A)

History Ostomy Bags

Ostomy Glossary

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Abdominoperineal Resection (APR)

Also known as Abdomino-Perineal Excision of the rectum (APER), AP excision or APE, is a surgery that removes the whole rectum and anal canal. The procedure is performed to treat rectal cancer using an abdominal and perineal entry to reach the rectum and anus. It could be carried on with a laparaoscopic Key Hole technique. The excised organs are pulled through the anus which is then sealed through open technique. It leads to the creation of a permanent colostomy to manage secretions into an ostomy bag.

Anal fissure

A laceration or ulcer along the anal canal lining between the rectum and the anus. Anal fissure could cause pain, bleeding and itching. They result from constipation and diarrhea and might be exacerbated by tension. Constipation creates the eventual excretion of large rather solid stool fragments, while diarrhea forces repeated cleaning and rubbing. Both instances lead to ruptures of the anal canal. An anal fissure could turn chronic as bowel movements do not allow for healing. It is important to diagnose an anal fissure and exclude other ailments such as Crohn’s disease or tumors. A fiber diet to achieve regular bowel movements, and cleaning softly with baby wipes could make the fissure manageable and avoid a potential ambulatory surgical procedure.

Anal fistula

Also called Fistula-in-ano, an anal fistula is a small abnormal channel that develops between the end of the bowel and the skin surrounding the anus. The anus has numerous small glands that may get infected causing an abscess. Most fistulas are the result of abscess. Others could originate from Crohn’s disease, sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s), trauma, cancer, or diverticulitis. A fistula may form one or more channels. In either case fistulas look like holes on the skin surrounding the anus. Fistulas are managed surgically, although warm water treatments and soft cleaning with moist wipes after each bathroom session may check their growth and considerably delay surgery.

Anti-Reflux Valve

A valve on an urostomy bag that prevents urine backflow from re-entering the ureters and kidneys. For more information, view Urostomy Anti-Reflux Valve under Urostomy Bags.


Is a surgical connection between intestines or tubular body structures. In some situations during a proctocolectomy or an Ileocecectomy, anastomosing the two remaining ends of intestine is not possible. The only outcome then becomes an ostomy and the patient must utilize an ostomy bag for fecal discharges.


Is the end of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI’s last segment includes the sigmoid colon, the rectum, the anal canal, and the anus which surfaces to the outside. The purpose of the anus is fecal evacuation or defecation. For this there are the internal and external anal sphincters. During defecation the internal sphincter acts involuntarily and lets the anal canal fill up with stool. Once the anal canal accumulates enough stool, an urge comes and thorough voluntary control over the external sphincter one decides when to defecate. When performing proctocolectomy surgeons try to preserve the anus and both sphincters. If achievable, there might not be a need for an ostomy and the permanent use of an ileostomy or colostomy bag. This may be the case if an Ileal Pouch-Anal Anastomosis (IPAA) can be undertaken.

Ascending Colon

Connects to the end of the small intestine and goes up the lower abdomen’s right side.

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