A Look At The More Common Colon Problems

While when one thinks of colon problems, colon cancer may immediately come to mind, there are many other problems which are much more common, and far less serious. Most of the more common colon problems are relatively easy to treat, and only occasionally is surgery required.

The colon, also known as the large intestine is a fairly long digestive organ, consisting of several distinct segments, the combination usually reaching about 5 feet in length in an adult. The colon receives partially digested food from the small intestine, absorbs water and salts from that partially digested food, and sends the remaining waste product to the rectum and out of the body during a bowel movement.

Hemorrhoids - Even if many of the more common colon problems are not dangerous or life-threatening, they can often make life miserable for those who suffer them. A case in point are hemorrhoids. While hemorrhoids are present in the rectum and about the anus, they are generally considered to be a colon problem. Hemorrhoids are collections of swollen veins which can cause itching, bleeding, and in some instances pain. Hemorrhoids are usually treated with medications, but in some instances may need to be surgically removed or, as is usually the case, shrunken.

Constipation - Constipation is another common colon problem, and occurs when waste products are not being efficiently moved through the colon, often due to the lack of softening liquids or bacterial action. The colon and rectum essentially become plugged. Constipation is usually more uncomfortable than serious, and is normally a short term situation, but if not treated can result in complications.

Diverticulitis - Diverticulitis is another fairly common problem, although it most often affects older adults. As we age, sacs or pouches can sometimes form in the colon. These pouches, known as diverticula, can sometimes become inflamed, and even bleed, a condition known as diverticulitis. Diverticulitis can cause significant abdominal pain, constipation, and is often accompanied by nausea or vomiting. The condition is usually treated with a combination of pain medication and antibiotics, and when so treated, generally clears up quickly.

Abnormal Growths - Sometimes colon problems develop when abnormal growths appear in the colon. These are often cysts or tumors, which while usually benign, can at times be precancerous or cancerous. Abnormal growths often accompany aging, and those over 50 are often advised to undergo a colonoscopy to check for the presence of these growths. If present they are often removed and biopsies conducted to check for possible malignancies. Once a colonoscopy has been performed, follow on colonoscopies may be recommended at 5 or 10 year periods until the individual reaches an age of around 75.

Other Problems - Other common colon problems include colitis and Crohn's disease, disorders which usually result in bleeding, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Somewhat less common are congenital effects which may occur before birth if the colon or other digestive organs do not position correctly while the fetus is developing, resulting in twisting, or fistulas, which are abnormally shaped passageways in the digestive tract. These fistulas often become infected and often require corrective surgery.

Preventive Measures  - Fortunately, there are things that one can do to either prevent these more common colon problems from appearing, or at the very least significantly reduce the chances of having to deal with any of them. A good diet is paramount. By eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoiding sugar, sodas, and alcohol, and cutting back on processed foods in general, you'll be doing your colon, and the rest of your digestive organs a big favor. Some suggest cutting back on diary products as well. This may be helpful for some in avoiding colon problems, but in general is not necessary for everyone.


 

 

 

 


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