Colon conditions include anything affecting the colon – large intestine, and it’s functions.
The colon is the last stage of the digestive tract where water is extracted from the feces. Certain colon conditions include colitis, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer and colorectal polyps.
This disease is a long-lasting inflammation of the digestive tract. These conditions can be very painful and debilitating, and as they appear slowly over time, they can become life-threatening. It is usually found in the innermost lining of the colon and rectum. There is no known cure for ulcerative colitis, but therapies include anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics. If surgery is performed, then the entire colon is removed and replaced with a small sack, which is directed toward the anus.
Ongoing constipation in the bowels involves infrequent bowel movements and difficulty passing stool for several weeks or more. This can mean that you have fewer than three bowel movements a week. Constipation occurs when stool moves too slowly through the digestive tract, causing it to become dry and hard. Causes for this can include: being dehydrated, being a woman, not getting enough exercise and not getting enough fiber. To treat this, the natural remedies include getting more fiber and more exercise. A doctor may also recommend laxatives. Other medications include Amitiza or Linzess, which push water into your intestine, and the movement of the stool speeds up.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a common disorder in the colon (large intestine), which causes abdominal pain, cramping, constipation, bloating and gas. Fortunately, unlike other colon conditions, IBS does not include inflammation of the colon lining, and can most often be managed through a better diet and lifestyle. People with IBS tend to have a lower serotonin level which helps with digestive function, and they also lack the right balance of good bacteria in the intestine. There are a few common triggers for IBS that include certain foods, stress, or hormonal changes. Triggering foods may include dairy, chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, sugar-free gum, and certain fruits and vegetables. To treat IBS, the doctor will usually recommend fiber supplements, anti-diarrheal medications, and avoiding high gas foods that include raw vegetables, fruits, salads, and carbonated beverages. Two prescription drugs specifically for IBS are Lotronex and Amitiza.
Colon cancer most often refers to rectal cancer, being the last several inches of the colon. This cancer often begins in the forms of small polyps (benign clumps of cells). And over time, they can turn into cancer.
Symptoms of colon cancer may include:
- Blood in stool
- Ongoing abdominal discomfort
Depending on the stage of cancer, your doctor may recommend radiation, chemotherapy or surgery. A colonoscopy may be performed to remove a large polyp if it is caught early enough.
A polyp in the colon is a small clump of cells that form in the lining of the colon, these polyps most often not malignant. Often they may be found in adults over the age of 50, in overweight people who have a high fat / low fiber diet, or in smokers. Because these polyps may not cause any symptoms, it’s important to get a screening of your colon if you fall into one of these categories. If you do exhibit some symptoms, they may include rectal bleeding, blood in stool, pain during a bowel movement, constipation, or diarrhea. In the case that poly is found, they are most often removed surgically through a colonoscopy. If the polyps are too large, they may be removed laparoscopically through several small incisions through the abdomen wall.
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