A Complete Guide To Colon Disorders

Colon disorders are far more common than you might think.  Your large bowel is made of the colon which is an amazing five feet long along with the rectum that is approximately eight inches long.  The colon's primary function is to simply process the pints of stool liquid that it receives everyday into a solid stool that is ready for evacuation.  There are a few different types of colon disorders, some that are serious and require surgery, others that can be treated with a simple diet change.

Polyps

Polyps are one of the more common types of colon disorders.  These are small growths that form along the colon lining.  Polyps usually offer the appearance of tiny nubbins that look like bumps on a squash however, some have a stalk that makes them look like a mushroom.  It is now confirmed colon cancers are developed from benign polyps so if they can be diagnosed early, they can be removed, thus eliminating the chance for cancer.  The procedure used to remove polyps is called a colonoscopy which involves passing a flexible, extremely long scope through the anus and into the colon.  When the polyps are seen through the scope, they are snared using a wire loop and then removed to be analyzed.  Some polyps are either too flat or too large for the scope to remove so surgery is then necessary.

Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is one of the more serious types of colon disorders.  Colon cancer symptoms are generally minimal but might include abdominal pain, rectal bleeding or a change in bowel habits such as constipation, diarrhea or an alteration in stool thickness.  It is highly recommended that individuals over 50 years old be checked every year for blood in their stool.  For those that are African-American or have a history of colon cancer in their family, they should start being tested at 45 years old.  It is important to find polyps before they develop into cancer.

Diverticulosis

One of the more common colon disorders for individuals over 50 is diverticulosis.  It involves pouches forming along the colon wall.  It is generally caused because of a diet that is low in vegetable and fruit fibers.  Most cases offer no symptoms but some will have rectal bleeding or abdominal pain.  Testing includes a sigmoidoscopy, barium enema X-ray or a colonoscopy.  Treatment generally includes consuming plenty of liquids and switching to a high-fiber diet.  This will reduce intestinal pressure which helps prevent diverticulitis from developing which is an inflammation of the diverticula.

Diverticulitis

This is a common disease affecting the bowel, the primary portion of the large intestine.  If a diverticulum inside of the colon is inflamed, it results in diverticulitis.  If an inflamed diverticula happens to burst open, bacteria may also infect the outside part of the colon.  If this infection happens to spread to the abdominal cavity lining it can cause peritonitis, which is a potentially fatal illness.  This may also cause the bowel to narrow and result in an obstruction.  Additionally, the part of the colon that is affected could adhere to other organs that are in the pelvic area.  Diverticulitis usually targets elderly and middle-aged people.  Symptoms include tenderness and localized abdominal pain, constipation or loose stools and a fever.  Blood tests often show an increase in white blood cells.  An acute case is treated with diet modification, antibiotics and avoiding foods such as nuts, seeds and popcorn.  The individual may also have to limit their fiber during the initial treatment phase.  Once the infection is controlled, the patient is placed on a diet that is high in fiver.  Acute attacks require surgical treatment.


 

 

 

 


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