The Lower Gastro-Intestinal Tract

The large bowel or intestine or lower gastro-intestinal tract consists of a hollow tube (100 cm long) through which food passes after it has been digested in the small intestine and the upper gastro-intestinal tract. It consists of the colon, rectum and anus.

The colon is primarily responsible for removing water from the undigested food and storing it until it is eliminated from the body as stool.

The rectum makes up the last part of the colon (15 cm).

The anus (anal canal) is the opening through which stool passes when being eliminated from the body.

DISEASES OF THE COLON, RECTUM AND ANUS

Diseases of the lower digestive tract may present with a variety of symptoms. If you encounter any of the following (for the first time or periodically), we advise you to consult a physician:

Diseases of the lower digestive tract may present with a variety of symptoms. If you encounter any of the following (for the first time or periodically), we advise you to consult a physician:

  • Bleeding
  • Change of bowel habit (diarrhea, constipation)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anal pain or discomfort
  • Anal swelling
  • Anal itching
  • Mucous discharge
  • Prolapse during bowel movements
  • Urgency to pass stool
  • Signs of fecal incontinence (poor bowel control)
  • Anemia


Common diseases of the colon and rectum include:
  • Colorectal polyps
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
    • Crohn’s disesase
    • Ulcerative colitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Rectal prolapse


Common diseases of the ano-rectal region include:
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Anal Piles (skin tags)
  • Anal fissure
  • Anal abscess
  • Anal fistula
  • Perianal thrombosis
  • Genital warts (condylomas)
  • Fecal incontinence


How can we diagnose diseases of the colon, rectum and anus?

Patients often delay consulting a physician about problems or symptoms in this sensitive and private body area. Some may feel embarrassed or fear the examination or a discomforting diagnosis. This can occasionally lead to patients tolerating disturbing symptoms for long periods. The tests may include a digital examination and an internal inspection of the colon and ano-rectum (proctoscopy, colonoscopy).

During a proctoscopy a short tube (proctoscope) is inserted into the rectum to see inside your anus and rectum. It can detect diseases of the rectum or anus (i.e. hemorrhoids, etc.) or look for causes of rectal bleeding.

A colonoscopy is performed for symptoms such as bleeding from the rectum, ongoing diarrhea or constipation, blood or pus in the stool (feces), or abdominal pain. A colonoscopy is recommended to screen and rule out colorectal cancer for adults over 55yrs. or over 40 yrs. with family history of bowel cancer. A colonoscopy should be repeated at least every 10 yrs. or earlier depending on the previous result. Your doctor will inform you about the recommended repeat interval.




CENTRUM COLOPROCTOLOGIE FRANKFURT
Ärztehaus Klinik Maingau
Eschenheimer Anlage 7
60316 Frankfurt am Main
Telefon (069) 498 00 43
Telefax (069) 498 00 47
Email: info@coloproct.de
BERUFSAUSÜBUNGSGEMEINSCHAFT FÜR CHIRURGIE
Prof. Dr. med. Edgar Hancke
Dr. med. Knut Völke
Dr. med. Katrin Suchan
Dr. med. Mahtab Doroudi

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