Colon Diseases: Overview
Colon is the major part of the lower gastrointestinal tract system. It’s responsible for eliminating and removing toxic substances from the body. Anatomically, we divide colon into different parts; the cecum, ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon, sigmoid colon, and rectum. There are multiple diseases that can affect the colon in its different parts. In this article, we are going to discuss the most common colon diseases:
Anal stenosis is a medical term used to describe any narrowing in the anus, which leads to difficulty in stool passage through it. There are two types of anal stenosis; the congenital type and the acquired type. Many options for treatment are available. The first option is usually the conservative option followed by other aggressive options; including surgery.
Basically, the word “inertia” means inactive or no activity. Colonic inertia is the term used to describe that condition of weak or no colonic muscle contractions which lead to chronic constipation, over distention of the colon, and finally intestinal obstruction. Medically, colonic inertia is a diagnosis of exclusion; this means that the patient must have chronic functional constipation without any evidence of stenosis of obstruction leading to marked distention in the colon. Colonic inertia is usually treated with surgery.
Colorectal cancer is very common cancer worldwide. In United States, it’s the second most common type of cancer. Colorectal cancer is one term which describes cancer in both colon and rectum. Usually this type of cancer is treated surgically.
Many screening tests are adopted nowadays to reduce the incidence of it. Colonoscopy is one of the screening tests for colon cancer, there is another one known as fecal occult blood; which is less invasive. In this screening test, we take a stool sample then we analyze it for the presence of invisible blood, if it’s positive, it’s suggestive for impeding colon cancer. You have to consult your doctor to help you to choose the best screening test for you.
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases:
Inflammatory bowel disease is a general medical term which describes chronic inflammation in the digestive tract. Inflammatory bowel disease is basically one of the two diseases Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Inflammatory bowel disease can be very painful and it can cause life-threatening complications. Next, we will discuss the both conditions in more details.
Crohn’s Disease/Ulcerative Colitis:
Crohn’s disease: It’s a disease characterized by chronic inflammation that can occur in any part of the digestive system; starting from the mouth to the anus. Crohn’s disease is usually treated with some medications but if complications occur, surgery may be an option to remove the most affected part of the colon or to close a fistula.
Ulcerative colitis: It’s an inflammatory disease that affects the large intestine and rectum only. Ulcerative colitis usually cause bloody diarrhea. Medical treatment is the first option while surgery is preserved for more resistant forms. There is strong association between ulcerative colitis and colon cancer, that’s why we prefer to do surgery as it may be curative and in the same time in reduces the risk of future colon cancer.
Familial Adenomatous Polyposis(FAP):
Familial adenomatous polyposis is very common inherited disease worldwide. Its mode of inheritance is autosomal dominant which means if you have only one gene, this is sufficient to have the features of the disease.
Patients with Familial adenomatous polyposis syndrome will have multiple colon polyps by their teens. If these polyps left untreated, they may become cancerous around 30s. APC is the name of the gene related to this syndrome. If the patient is APC gene positive, he must consult his doctor as soon as possible to discuss the available options to protect him from colon cancer.
Polyp is a term used to describe any projection from the surface of the colon. Polyps in colon are usually benign but if left untreated for a long period of time, it can become cancerous. Usually colorectal polyps are asymptomatic but they can cause rectal bleeding from time to time. When the doctor diagnose you with some colorectal polyps, it’s better to remove them surgically thus preventing the occurrence of cancer later.
Almost all colon cancers arise from small abnormal growth at the surface of colon known as polyps. If we can diagnose the presence of those polyps early, we can remove them surgically thus preventing the arising of cancer. This is the idea behind the colon cancer screening via colonoscopy.
Rectal descent, also known as rectal prolapse or rectal procidentia, is a medical term which describes the falling down of any part of the rectal wall. This condition is usually associated with pelvic floor dysfunction. Rectal descent usually occurs due to vigorous straining to defecate due to chronic constipation, or due to heavy lifting. Rectal descent is graded according to the level of the lowest part of the rectum that had been prolapsed. This condition is very common among women especially those with multiple previous pregnancies. Treatment options include medical treatment with a small ring to elevate the prolapsed rectum or surgical treatment which aims at enhancing the normal ligaments that support the position of rectum.
Colon is a very vital part of the digestive system. Many conditions may affect different parts of the colon.
- Anal stenosis is the narrowing in the anus, which leads to difficulty in stool passage.
- Colonic inertia is the weakness of the colonic muscle contractions which lead to chronic constipation.
- Colorectal cancer is one term which describes cancer in both colon and rectum; many screening tests are aiming at reducing its incidence.
- Inflammatory bowel disease is a general medical term which describes chronic inflammation in the digestive tract, this includes two diseases: Crohn’s disease which is a disease characterized by chronic inflammation that can occur in any part of the digestive system and Ulcerative colitis: It’s an inflammatory disease that affects the large intestine and rectum only.
- Familial adenomatous polyposis is an autosomal dominate disorder that characterized by early onset of hundreds colorectal polyps. Polyp is a term used to describe any projection from the surface of the colon.
- Rectal descent is the falling down of any part of the rectal wall