The large bowel consists of the colon (5 feet long) and the rectum (8 inches long). The rectum is just upstream from the anus, and the large bowel is connected to the small bowel. The bowel is made up from the colon and the rectum, which helps process and discard food we eat. The colon’s main function is to process liquid stool it receives into a manageable amount of solid stool for elimination. Normally, a person can pass up to 200 grams of solid stool daily. Diet and activity level is related to the difficulty or ease of movement of a patient’s bowels. However, there is a lot of variation in the amount of stool a healthy person passes.

What are signs of colorectal disease?

Colorectal diseases are conditions impacting the colon or rectum and their functionality, including colon cancer, polyps, colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Conditions can range from mild irritations to serious illnesses. There are many common problems affecting the digestive tract. These conditions include irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, hemorrhoids, colitis, polyps and colon cancer.

What are symptoms of colorectal problems?

Common signs and symptoms of colorectal conditions include blood in the stool, the stool look black, rectal bleeding appearing on toilet paper, abdominal pain, and constipation or diarrhea that last more than a week.

Should I get a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy procedure requires a long, flexible tube with a tiny video camera at the end that is inserted through the rectum. The doctor can see the entire colon, and can remove most polyps to test for cancer.

What are colon polyps?

A colon polyp is an extra piece of tissue that grows from the lining of the large intestine. It can be small or large. Most are harmless, but a few become cancerous once a polyp grows bigger than an inch it is more likely to become cancerous. Colorectal cancer can develop from colon polyps that have become cancerous.

Crohn’s disease symptoms

Ulcerative colitis occurs when the colon becomes inflamed requiring medications and treatment. Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune disease of the digestive tract that causes inflammation in part of the digestive system. Irritable bowel syndrome is a common digestive ailment characterized by bloating, cramps, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Common treatment approaches for colorectal conditions may include medication, surgery to remove polyps or cancerous cells, and diet or lifestyle changes.

Colorectal disease prevention

Some prevention tips that can greatly lower the risk of developing polyps and other colorectal conditions including eating more calcium, folate, fruits, and vegetables. You should eat less fat, exercise more often, lose extra weight, stop drinking alcohol and smoking.

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