The following diagnoses are based on the colon:
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Constipation is usually thought of as a decrease in total number of stools per week. However, change in bowel movement with harder stool consistency can be defined as constipation as well. This includes the presence of pellets, straining or feelings of incomplete evacuation, infrequent bowel movements, and a sensation of "want to, but can't". As a rule, constipation should be suspected if more than three days pass between bowel movements or if there is difficulty or pain when passing a hardened stool. Constipation is usually a variation of the functioning of colonic muscles, so movement of stools is slower than usual or the muscles contract to hold back stool. It is not a disease and usually can be treated medically.
Colorectal cancer is the number 2 leading cause of cancer death in the United States, yet it is one of the most preventable types of cancer. The cancer risk is the same in men and women. Colorectal cancer arises from pre-cancerous growths called polyps in the colon. When polyps are detected, they can be removed during a colonoscopy to prevent their progression to colon cancer. Patients with a personal or family history of colon cancer or polyps are considered higher risk for developing colon cancer. Colonoscopy is the preferred colorectal cancer screening and prevention test.
Diarrhea can be defined as either an increase in the total number of stools per day or a change in the consistency to loose or watery. Diarrhea is classified as acute (less than 2 weeks) or chronic (greater than 4 weeks). Associated symptoms can include abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and urgency. Chronic diarrhea can be accompanied by weight loss, malnutrition, abdominal pain or other symptoms of the underlying illness, such as bleeding.
A diverticulum is a sac-like protrusion of the colonic wall. The presence of these sac-like protrusions in the colon is called Diverticulosis. The prevalence of Diverticulosis is age-dependent, increasing from less than 20 percent at age 40 to 60 percent by age 60. The majority of the time, patients have Diverticulosis without any symptoms. However, disease related to Diverticulosis can occur such as bleeding, infection, change in bowel patterns or pain.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins around the anus. Each of us has veins around the anus that stretch under pressure. When these veins swell and bulge, they are called hemorrhoids. One set of veins is inside the rectum (internal) and another is under the skin around the anus (external). Hemorrhoidal tissue is actually helpful in holding back stool when we are at rest and in cushioning muscles when we move our bowels. Swelling can be caused by straining to move your bowels, sitting too long on the toilet or other causes, such as pregnancy, obesity or liver disease.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder of the intestines that leads to crampy pain, gassiness, bloating and changes in bowel habits. Some people with IBS have constipation (difficult or infrequent bowel movements), others have diarrhea (frequent loose stools, often with an urgent need to move the bowels) and some people experience both. Approximately 35 million Americans are impacted by IBS.