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Anglais médical – Tout savoir sur le syndrome du côlon irritable

Régulièrement, cette rubrique animée par Virginia Allum, auteur et consultante EMP (English for Medical Purposes), vous permettra, exercices à l'appui, de parfaire votre anglais médical au travers de situations de soins concrètes. Bon travail à tous ! Corrections en fin d'article...

N'hésitez pas à vous servir du dictionnaire en ligne Wordreference. Vous trouverez à la fin de cet article les corrections des exercices qui vous sont proposés téléchargeables au format pdf.

Activity 1 - The intestines

Look at the diagram and match the terms with their meanings.

Schéma du colon

Crédit photo :  Auawise at en.wikipedia

1. gland a) small projection from the walls of the small intestine
2. mesentery b) layer of tissue under the mucous membrane
3. mucosa c) outermost layer or covering
4. peritoneum d) thin layer of tissue which lines body cavities
5. lumen e) cells which secrete a chemical or a liquid
6. serosa f) fold of the peritoneum which connects the abdomen to the intestine
7. submucosa g) inner space inside a tube-shaped organ
8. villi h) lining membrane of the abdomen and pelvis

Activity 2

Beware ! Confusing words.

There are three words which look very similar but are different. Check that you know the meaning of these three words.

  • mucosa (noun) : the medical term for mucous membrane
  • mucous (adj) : mucous is an adjective which refers to the noun mucus.
  • mucus (noun) : a slippery secretion

Complete the information about the intestines. Use the words below to help you.

  • muscular
  • villi
  • serosa
  • circular muscle
  • mucosa
  • submucosa
  • mucus
  • mucosa   
Douleurs au ventre

Cours d'anglais sur le syndrome du côlon irritable

The (1) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  is the innermost layer of the intestines which contains goblet cells. Goblet cells produce mucus, a liquid which lubricates the inside of the intestines. The function of (2) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ is to prevent friction as food passes through the lumen or inside of the intestine.

The (3) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ layer absorbs nutrients and water from food which has been digested. The (4) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ or small projections in the small intestine increase the surface area of the mucosa so that more nutrients can be absorbed by the intestines.

A (5) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ layer, the muscularis mucosa, surrounds the submucosa and helps to move the intestines. The movement in the intestines is called peristalsis. Segments in the (6)  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ layer turn the food over and over to ensure that it has good contact with the intestinal walls. The (7) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ is the layer below the mucosa which contains glands such as the Brunner’s glands.

The outermost layer or coat of the intestines is called the (8) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . The serosa is smooth and slippery. This prevents the intestines from becoming inflamed as they rub against other organs during digestion.

Activity 3 - Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What do you know about IBS ? Answer True or false.

  1. It’s a type of bowel infection caused by a virus. T/F
  2. The main symptoms of IBS are bouts of diarrhoea, constipation or both at the same time. T/F
  3. Making dietary changes does not help the symptoms of IBS. T/F
  4. The cause of IBS is unknown. T/F
  5. Stress may play a part in IBS. T/F

Read the information about IBS and answer the questions that follow.

Crédit photo: Virginia Allum

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

IBS is a condition of the gastro-intestinal tract which causes unpleasant intestinal symptoms. Unlike other intestinal disorders, it is not caused by an abnormality in the structure of the intestines. No specific cause of IBS has been identified, however, a link to an overly sensitive bowel has been suggested.

The symptoms of IBS are varied. Many sufferers only have occasional flare-ups of the symptoms and are symptom-free at other times. Some IBS sufferers have constipation or diarrhoea and some experience both diarrhoea and constipation at the same time. There may also be evidence of mucus in the stools.

Stomach cramps cause intense pain which is often described as spasms or colic. The pain is often relieved by a bowel movement or by passing flatus. Excess wind builds up in the abdomen causing bloating and in the bowel causing flatulence which can be very distressing.

Activity 4

Answer the questions about IBS.

  • 1. IBS is a type of _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

    a.   digestive disorder

    b.  eating disorder

    c.  bowel cancer

  • 2. IBS differs from other similar conditions as _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

    a. it is caused by overeating

    b.  the anatomy of the bowel is normal in IBS

    c. it has unpleasant intestinal symptoms

  • 3. Sufferers of IBS tend to experience _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

    a. bloating and flatulence when they eat the wrong food

    b. productive coughs when they have a flare-up of the condition

    c. bouts of diarrhoea or constipation at times.

  • 4. Stomach pains which are like spasms feel like _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

    a. a griping pain

    b. an aching pain

    c. throbbing headache

  • 5. Gas produced during digestion and passed from the body is known as _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

    a.  methane

    b. diarrhoea

    c. flatus

Activity 5

Match the terms 1 – 8 with their meanings. a - h

1. flatus a) sudden worsening of an illness
2. bloating b) episode of (an illness)
3. cramps c) sudden, gripping pain
4. spasm d) bloating and abdominal pain which is most commonly seen in babies
5. flatulence e) distension of the abdomen
6. flare-up f) painful muscle contractions
7. bout (of) g) gas in the intestines
8. colic h) excess gas which is passed from the body through the anus

Activity 6

Complete the sentences. Use the words below to help you.

  • lifestyle
  • bouts
  • rule out
  • cramps
  • intestinal
  • loose
  1. Patients with IBS have episodes or _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ of abdominal spasms which are very painful.
  2. Unpleasant symptoms like _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ bowel movements are common in Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  3. Painful stomach _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ caused by IBS are sometimes relieved by having a bowel movement.
  4. Hypersensitivity of the intestines makes it difficult to move food through the _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ tract.
  5. Tests which are used to diagnose IBS are used to _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ other illnesses such as coeliac disease or Crohn’s disease.
  6. Flare ups of IBS are best managed by making diet and _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ changes e.g. low fibre diet and stress management.

Activity 7 - Research into IBS

Before you start, match the terms with their correct meanings.

1. celiac disease a) food which does not have the protein which is found in wheat
2. fibromyalgia b) the measurement of how similar tissues are with each other
3. haematology c) the amount of satisfaction a person has with their life
4. serology d) condition with damage to the intestinal wall so that food is not absorbed properly
5. histocompatibility e) genetic trait which is found in a particular disease
6. genetic marker f) the study of the serum of the blood
7. quality of life g) a condition with muscle pain, joint stiffness, and tiredness
8. gluten-free h) the study of the blood and blood producing organs

Activity 8

Read the text about a research study into intestinal disorders. Then answer the questions that follow the text.

Many Cases of IBS and Fibromyalgia Actually Celiac Disease in Disguise - Celiac.com 12/30/2013 - Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) often occur together, and research indicates that many people with IBS plus FMS (IBS/FMS) might actually suffer from undiagnosed celiac disease.

To better understand the potential connection between the two, a team of researchers recently conducted an active case finding for celiac disease in two IBS cohorts, one constituted by IBS/FMS subjects and the other by people with isolated IBS.

The research team included L. Rodrigo, I. Blanco, J. Bobes, F.J. de Serres. They are affiliated with the department of Gastroenterology at the Central University Hospital of Asturias (HUCA), Celestino Villamil in Oviedo in the Principality of Asturias, Spain.

For their study, the team included 104 patients (89.4% females), fulfilling the 1990-ACR criteria for FMS and the Roma III criteria for IBS classification, along with 125 unrelated, age and sex matched IBS non-FMS patients.

All patients underwent the following studies: hematological, coagulation and biochemistry test, serological and genetic markers for celiac disease (i.e., tissue-transglutaminase-2, tTG-2, and major histocompatibility complex HLA-DQ2/DQ8); multiple gastric and duodenal biopsies; FMS tender points (TPs); fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (FIQ), health assessment questionnaire (HAQ), short form health survey (SF-36), and visual analogue scales (VAS) for tiredness and gastrointestinal complaints.
Overall results showed that IBS/FMS patients scored much worse values in quality of life and VAS scales than those with isolated IBS

These seven patients showed substantial improvement in digestion and symptoms once they adopted gluten-free diets.

The findings of this screening indicate that a significant percentage of IBS/FMS patients actually have celiac disease. These patients can improve symptoms and possibly prevent long-term celiac-related complications with a strict lifelong gluten-free diet.

Answer questions from the text

  • 1. The study suggested that many patients with IBS _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

    a.  are waiting for a definite diagnosis

    b.  are  really sufferers of coeliac disease.

    c.  also have coeliac disease

  • 2.  Patients who have coeliac disease often improve their health _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

    a.  if they undergo gastrointestinal tests

    b.  by following a weight-loss diet

    c.  by avoiding food which contains gluten

  • 3.  The Spanish study compared _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

    a.  one group of people with both IBS and fibromyalgia with a group with only IBS

    b.  one group with IBS with another group with suspected coeliac disease

    c.  two groups of people with different gastrointestinal disorders

  • 4.  Patients in the study underwent _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

    a.  biopsies and vision tests

    b.   blood tests and biopsies and completed health questionnaires

    c.   blood tests and genetic profiles

  • 5.  The health of seven patients who were thought to have IBS/FMS _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

    a.  improved  when they adopted a gluten-free coeliac diet.

    b.  had fewer symptoms than patients who follow a gluten-free diet

    c.  had  a substantial number of digestive symptoms.

Talking to a patient about IBS

Before you watch the video, review these terms

  • abdominal : relating to the abdomen
  • bout : episode of a symptom or disease
  • bowel movement : passing a stool
  • colic : type of griping pain
  • doubled over : in so much pain that you bend over and hold your abdomen
  • keep up your fluids : drink enough fluids like water or juice    
  • prescribe : write a drug order for a medication
  • spasm : type of twisting pain

Watch the video below. Then complete the activities that follow.

Activity 9

Match the beginnings and the endings of the sentences.

Notice that the nurse and the patient use the Present Perfect to explain what has happened.

1. I’ve had IBS a) abdominal pain for the past week.
2. I’ve had a lot of b) some tablets for me.
3. I’ve also c) to the doctor.
4. I’ve just spoken d) for a few years.
5. She’s prescribed e) had diarrhoea and very bad wind..  

Activity 10

Grammar point : Notice the adverbs and adverb phrase to explain when.

  • sometimes : I sometimes get painful spasms.
  • usually : I usually have diarrhoea with my IBS.
  • always : I always drink a lot of fluids whenever I have diarrhoea.
  • at the moment : I have a lot of pain at the moment

Complete the dialogue using the sentences below.

  • a) Sometimes I am doubled over in pain.
  • b) I always try to drink a lot whenever I have diarrhoea.
  • c) I have a few intestinal problems at the moment.
  • d) it’s usually better after I go to the toilet.

Nurse: Can you tell me about the problems with your bowels?

Patient: Yes. I’ve had IBS for a few years. Sometimes it’s very unpleasant. (1) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Nurse: I see. Can you explain what is happening?

Patient: Well, I’ve had a lot of abdominal pain for the past week. I’ve also had diarrhoea and very bad wind. It’s so embarrassing.

Nurse:  It must be very difficult for you. What is the abdominal pain like?   

Patient:  It’s like colic. You know, it feels like a painful spasm in my intestines. (2) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Nurse: Does anything make it better?

Patient: Well, (3) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  I mean, if I have a bowel movement.

Nurse:  What about when you have diarrhoea?

Patient: That’s when I feel very ill. It doesn’t help with the abdominal pain at all.

Nurse: Do you have any medication to take when you have diarrhoea?

Patient: I’ve just spoken to the doctor and she’s prescribed some tablets for me.

Nurse: That’s good. Take the tablets whenever you have a bout of diarrhoea. You should also make sure that you keep up your fluids. Otherwise you can become quite dehydrated.

Patient:  Yes, (4)  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

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Virginia ALLUM Author and Consultant in English for Medical Purposes United Kingdom

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