The colorectal tract consists of the colon and the rectum. The colon is essentially the large intestine, and it’s connected to the rectum, which is at the far end of the digestive tract. Like most other parts of the body, the colon and the rectum are prone to several diseases. Over the past few decades, research has helped us uncover the symptoms of these diseases, and medical practices have evolved significantly, allowing doctors to perform colorectal surgery to correct these problems.
Let’s get to know more about three common colorectal diseases, their symptoms, and the surgeries used to treat these conditions.
Diverticulitis is a colorectal disease in which small, bulging pockets develop along the walls lining the colon. These pockets are known as diverticula, and they’re generally benign. In some cases, however, these diverticula can become inflamed or infected, leading to problems that need to be treated.
Diverticulitis most often occurs when some of the weaker portions of your intestine give into pressure. Although there aren’t any specific causes for the disease, some of the many risk factors include:
Fortunately, in most cases, diverticulitis is painless and doesn’t cause any symptoms. However, in case any of the diverticula tear and succumb to infections or inflammation, the following symptoms may develop.
Currently, surgery is the only method that can remove diverticula. There are two kinds of surgery for treating diverticulitis.
In this first procedure, the infected colon is removed. This procedure is known as a colectomy. Your surgeon then sews the two remaining healthy portions together.
In the second procedure, the infected portion is removed, and the bowel is connected through an opening in your abdomen, called a stoma. Upon assessing the progress of your recovery over the next few months, your surgeon shall decide if the colostomy is temporary or permanent.
As is evident from the name, anal fissures are small tears in the lining of the anus. Although they’re generally common in infants, it’s possible for people of all ages to suffer from anal fissures. The intensity of the condition also varies from one person to another and isn’t very life-threatening in a vast majority of the cases.
Some of the most common causes for anal fissures include:
Sometimes, anal fissures can also develop due to diseases like:
Also Read: Causes of Anal Fissure
Anal fissures always display symptoms that are very obvious. As a result, it’s easier to diagnose this issue early on. Some such symptoms include:
If you’re suffering from an acute case of anal fissures, it’s possible to use non-surgical methods like topical anaesthetic creams and Botox injections to treat the issue. However, in cases chronic anal fissure surgery may require, where your symptoms may be severe, colorectal surgery is necessary.
The procedure is known as lateral internal sphincterotomy. To perform the surgery, your doctor cuts a small portion of the anal sphincter muscle. As a result, pain and spasms are greatly reduced, allowing your fissures to heal faster.
Colon cancer is arguably the most life-threatening condition that can occur in the colorectal tract. Depending on the level of growth and spread of the cancer, it can be classified as stage I, II, III, or IV. The disease often begins as benign polyps in the intestine. Over time, some of these may turn into cancer. Regular screening can help identify and remove polyps before they become cancer.
Colon cancer can stem from many causes, some of which include lifestyle choices. Knowing the pattern that can increase the risk of this kind of cancer can help you structure a lifestyle that can greatly reduce your chance of developing the disease. Some such lifestyle-related causes of colon cancer include:
Some of the other causes of colon cancer include:
The symptoms of colon cancer may often resemble the symptoms that precede other benign conditions. As a result, it may be difficult to identify the symptoms as cancer. Nevertheless, it’s best to get yourself tested when you notice two or more of the following symptoms.
Surgery for colon cancer depends on the stage of the disease. In early-stage colon cancer, your doctor may remove the polyps around the localized cancer. This is known as a polypectomy. Alternatively, endoscopic mucosal resection may be performed, wherein larger polyps are removed along with a small portion of the inner lining of the colon. Laparoscopic technique is another colorectal surgery for early-stage colon cancer.
For advanced colon cancer, a partial colectomy may be performed, where the surgeon removes the cancerous part of the colon.
The best way to keep colorectal diseases at bay is to follow a healthy diet and maintain an active lifestyle. Couple these with regular abdominal screening, and you’re well on the path to deal with these conditions as best as you possibly can.