Colorectal Conditions and Diseases
of the colon, rectum, and anus
Diseases of the colon and rectum are common, and can range in severity from mild to debilitating and life threatening. Treatment methods for colon and rectal diseases vary depending on the type and severity of the condition as well, making it even more important to obtain treatment through experienced colon and rectal surgeons.
Early screening and treatment of colon and rectal diseases leads to more successful treatment measures, so it is important to contact your colon and rectal specialist any time that you experience abnormal symptoms. Below is a list of some of the most common conditions that affect the colon and rectum region.
Anal Abscess & Fistula
An anal abscess occurs when a cavity near the anus or rectum becomes infected and fills with pus. An anal fistula may develop as a result of the anal abscess. An anal fistula develops when glands inside of the anus become clogged. The fistula is a small tunnel that forms beneath the skin and connects an infected anal gland with the skin outside of the anus on the buttocks.
Anal Cancer – Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Anal cancer is a fairly uncommon form of cancer in which cancerous cells form in the tissue of the anus. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common form of anal cancer, and develops in the outer most layer of tissue in the anal canal.
Anal Warts (Condyloma)
Anal warts are small growths that develop in the area surrounding the anus and directly inside the anal wall. Anal warts initially appear as small spots but can grow to the size of a pea. Many patients do not experience symptoms from anal warts, but symptoms can include itching and bleeding, in addition to the presence of mucus and a physical mass in the anal region.
Colon and Rectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer is a common form of cancer affecting about 140,000 people every year. It is often curable if detected in its early stages making screening and early detection a vital part of reducing your risk for this disease. Colon cancer most often affects people over the age of 40. Two of the leading signs of colon and rectal cancer are bleeding and changes to bowel habits. These could also be signs of other colorectal conditions however, so it is important to consult your physician for testing if these symptoms occur.
Constipation is when an individual has irregular bowel movements where the stool is generally hard and dry and possibly painful to pass. Constipation occurs on its own in some cases, but it may also indicate a more serious underlying disease of the colon and rectum.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a term used to describe a collection of conditions that affect the colon. The two most common forms of inflammatory bowel disease are Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Both of these conditions can be severe and may cause chronic abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, and weight loss in addition to other symptoms.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome also known as IBS, is a muscle functioning disorder that commonly causes constipation, diarrhea, bloating and abdominal cramps. IBS is a common condition that is not life-threatening and is most often associated with stress.
Levator syndrome develops due to muscle spasms that occur near the anus, causing severe sporadic pain in the rectum. Many people experience the pain while sitting down, though they also occur sporadically while either standing or lying down. The spasms generally last less than twenty minutes and the exact cause is often unknown although stress and posture may be factors.
Pilonidal disease is a condition that is characterized by a chronic infection of the skin that is just above the buttock crease. This develops as a reaction to hairs that are present in that area. This disease develops more often in men than in women, and occurs most frequently in obese individuals. Pilonidal disease may cause a growth in the form of a dimple or a large and painful mass, and will often cause fluid to drain that may be bloody.
Polyps – Colon Polyps
A colon polyp is a small growth of tissue that develops inside of the colon, or large intestine. Often, colon polyps are not dangerous and if found can be removed without severe difficulty, but overtime polyps can become cancerous. Colon polyps can be removed during a colonoscopy exam.
Pruritus Ani is a condition that causes severe itching around the anal area, resulting in a compelling urge to scratch the anal region. This condition may be caused by a number of factors, including dietary habits and excessive moisture in the anal area. Pruritus Ani also develops as a result of other conditions, including hemorrhoids and anal fissures.
A rectal prolapse develops when the rectum loses its internal support and protrudes outside of the anus. This is often caused by a weakened anal sphincter, and causes stool and mucus to leak out of the anus. This condition occurs much more frequently among women than among men.
Rectocele occurs in women, and is a condition in which the fascia or the thin wall made up of tissue that separates the rectum from the vagina, becomes weak. Once this occurs, the wall of the rectum may bulge into the vagina. This condition most frequently occurs among women who have given birth, which puts abnormal pressure on the vaginal wall.