sodium picosulfate A stimulant
drug used to treat
empty the bowel prior to procedures
such as X-ray,
, and surgery
on the intestines. Side effects may
include abdominal cramps and diar-
rhoea. The drug should be avoided in
cases of intestinal obstruction.
used to treat
side effects include drowsiness, abdom-
inal discomfort, temporary hair loss,
weight gain, and rash. Prolonged treat-
ment may rarely cause liver damage.
soft-tissue injury Damage to the tis-
surround bones and joints.
soiling Inappropriate passage of
after the age at which bowel control is
achieved (usually at about 3 or 4 years).
Causes include slowness in developing
bowel control, longstanding
, and emotional stress.
Soiling due to constipation is usually
resolved with treatment. If there is no
is a form of soiling in which
children deliberately pass faeces in inap-
propriate places, such as behind furniture.
solar plexus The largest network of
autonomic nerves in the body, located
behind the stomach between the adrenal
glands. The solar plexus incorporates
branches of the
splanchnic nerves, and sends branches
into the stomach, intestines, and other
solvent abuse The practice of inhaling
the intoxicating fumes given off by cer-
tain volatile liquids. Glue sniffing is the
most common form.
Inhalation of solvent fumes produces
a feeling of intoxication similar to that
produced by alcohol. Solvent abuse can
cause headache, vomiting, confusion,
and coma. Death may occur due to a
direct toxic effect on the heart, a fall,
choking on vomit, or asphyxiation. Long-
term effects include erosion of the lining
of the nose and throat, and damage to
the kidneys, liver, and nervous system.
Acute symptoms resulting from solvent
abuse require urgent medical attention.
Counselling may be helpful in discour-
aging the behaviour.
somatic A term meaning related to the
body (soma), as opposed to the mind
(psyche), or related to body cells, as
opposed to germ cells (eggs and sperm).
It also refers to the body wall, in con-
trast to visceral (of the internal organs).
somatization disorder A condition in
which a person complains over a period
of several years of various physical prob-
lems for which no organic cause can be
found. The disorder, which is more com-
mon in women, usually begins before
age 30 and leads to numerous tests by
many doctors. Unnecessary surgery and
other treatments may result. The condi-
tion is often associated with
, or substance abuse. (See also
conversion disorder; hypochondriasis.)
somatostatin analogues Synthetic ver-
sions of the hormone somatostatin that
acts on the
the release of growth hormone. These
drugs are used to treat
symptoms associated with some other
hormone-secreting tumours (particularly
common somatostatin analogue.
somatotype A person's physical build.
somatropin A biosynthetic
given to children to treat
due to growth-hormone deficiency.
sore A term used nominally to describe
any disrupted area of the skin or mucous
membranes, or adjectivally to describe
an area that is tender or painful.
sore throat A rough or raw feeling in
the back of the throat that causes dis-
comfort, especially when swallowing.
Sore throat is a common symptom,
usually caused by
. It is often the first
symptom of the common
many childhood viral illnesses, such as
A sore throat may be relieved by gar-
gling with salt water. Sore throats due
to bacterial infection are treated with
space medicine A medical speciality
concerned with the physiological effects
of space flight. For example, weightless-
ness upsets the balance mechanisms of
the inner ear, causing