Common Diseases of the Colon
Colon cancer is a prevalent but often preventable and a highly treatable condition if found in its early stages. Colon cancer occurs most likely after the age of 50. As a result, it is recommended that patients get prescribed regular screenings in the form of a colonoscopy starting at age 50. High risk individuals may be advised to start their screenings at an earlier age. Many times, those regular screenings will discover polyps in the colon that could eventually lead to cancer. Treating polyps is key to prevention. If cancer has already formed in the colon, it must be evaluated by a qualified oncologist and treated with some combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Learn more about Colon Cancer >>
Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix, a small appendage of the colon. When the appendix becomes infected, usually due to blockage, it can begin to inflame. If left untreated, it can rupture. Patients feel pain (usually severe) in the umbilical area that may travel to the lower right quadrant of the abdomen. An infected appendix is most often treated with surgery before it ruptures in order to avoid peritonitis or the inflammation of the abdominal cavity, which can be fatal if not treated immediately. It can affect people of any ages, but it is more common in the very young or the very elderly.
Over time, commonly due to pressure in the colon possibly caused by a low fiber diet, small sacs can form in the colon. These sacs, known as diverticuli, are not usually considered problematic unless they cause pain and tenderness from infection. This infection can lead to bowel obstruction, which is an emergency situation that requires a colectomy, or removal of some or all of the large intestine. Learn More About Diverticulitis >>
Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) involving the formation of ulcers along the lining of the colon or large intestine. These ulcers cause significant swelling and pain, however due to the generalized symptoms associated with the disease, it is challenging to diagnose. Learn More About Ulcerative Colitis >>
Crohn’s disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) affecting a significant number of Americans every year. It involves chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, unlike ulcerative colitis, which only affects the colon and rectum, Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the G.I. tract. Most cases of Crohn’s disease target the final portion of the small intestine – the ileum – but can occur anywhere from the mouth to the anus. Learn More About Crohn’s Disease >>