The word “Colorectal” is a portmanteau adjective, quite literally parts of two words brought together to make another word. The term widely encompasses all medical issues relating to the colon and the rectum and was first used in medical journals in 1889.
There is evidence showing knowledge of colorectal disease as far back as the ancient Egyptians with documents relating to treatment for colorectal health issues throughout the Roman and ancient Greek empires.
There are notes on a colon resection as far back as 1842 by Dr. Reynard. However, although pilloried at first, Sir William Arbuthnot Lane is considered to be the father of colorectal resection surgery. Today, the surgical process has developed and evolved from being a highly invasive open surgical process to a minimally invasive laparoscopic technique.
The Colon and Rectum
The colon, also referred to as the large intestine and around 6 feet in length, is a part of the body’s digestive system. The organ is tube-like and connects to the small intestine at its upper end, and to the anus at its lower end. The rectum, as the lower part of the colon, occupies about 5-6 inches of the colon’s length, where it meets the anus.
The function of the colon is to remove electrolytes, water, and nutrients from the partially digested food as it moves through the digestive system. The solid waste that remains, the stool, passes through to the rectum where it is stored prior to leaving the body via the anus.
Colorectal Health Issues
Maladies relating to the colon and rectum are many and varied, ranging from constipation and diarrhea to cancer. Constipation and diarrhea are common, and at some point, will affect everyone. In the vast majority of cases these are not serious and are waved off as being nothing more than an uncomfortable inconvenience. However, these afflictions can be an indication of other more serious health issues.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Second to constipation and diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, ranks as one of the most common and more serious colorectal health disorders. IBS sufferers experience abdominal pain and discomfort and often experience constipation and diarrhea. Although the exact cause of IBS is not known, there are 3 factors that, individually or combined, may be the cause.
One cause is thought to be dysmotility. This is where the gastrointestinal muscles negatively react to the food passing through the intestines. Another reason may be visceral hypersensitivity. Nerves in the gastrointestinal tract can become ultra-sensitive, leading to irritation. Another possible cause is neurological gut dysfunction, whereby the nerves in the brain misunderstand information sent to them from the gut.
Colon polyps can be harmless, although in some cases can become cancerous. These are unnecessary pieces of tissue that grow on the lining of the colon and can vary greatly in size and shape. Should a polyp grow in excess of ¼ of an inch there is an increased probability of it becoming cancerous.
Colitis, or ulcerative colitis, is when the colon becomes inflamed. This can be due to a bacterial or parasitic infection, which can be cured by medication. Likewise, pseudomembranous colitis can be easily eradicated by prescribed antibiotics.
However, colitis can become chronic where it is a manifestation of another colorectal health issue. Colitis commonly occurs in patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and those with Crohn’s disease.
From 1932, and its namesake, gastroenterologist Burrill B. Crohn, the disease is normally associated with the intestinal tract, but can affect any part of the digestive system, including the mouth, and the exact cause of the disease remains unknown.
However, it is thought to be an autoimmune reaction, which may be genetic as there is a tendency for it to run in families. Crohn’s disease is when the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells in the body’s digestive tract, for unknown reasons, causing inflammation. Although unlikely to be fatal in itself, Crohn’s disease can lead to other fatal conditions including sever infections and cancer.
Colorectal cancer can develop from colon polyps or other colorectal health issues, such as Crohn’s disease, and is when the cells in the colon and rectum begin to grow out of control. Other causes include a poor diet, one that is low in fiber, smoking, alcohol abuse, a lack of exercise, obesity, and other substance abuse. Any, or all of these factors can be contributory to developing colorectal cancer.
Colorectal Diseases Treatment Center
Samitivej Hospital is one of the world’s leading treatment centers for colorectal health issues. Based in Bangkok, the center is a state-of-the-art facility staffed by highly trained specialist doctors who are leaders in the field. They are backed up by a team of professional care givers who are dedicated to delivering the ultimate in-patient experience.
Patients arriving at the Colorectal Disease Center are welcomed into a friendly, stress-free environment, specifically designed to have a calming and positive effect on the patient. The staff at the center know full well that a calm, stress-free patient has a positive effect on treatment and recovery and should never be underestimated.
As with any health issue, fast and precise diagnosis of colorectal disease is essential. The center utilizes the most up to date technology and techniques in screening for the early detection of cancer diagnosis via colonoscopy.
For rectal issues, anorectal manometry, electromyogram, pudendal nerve terminal motor latency is used for precise diagnosis. Endoanal and endorectal ultrasonography are also used to support diagnostic appraisals.
Each patient is an individual, so following diagnosis and assessment, individual treatment plans will be designed specifically to suit each patient. Treatment plans may be non-surgical, such as treatment for hemorrhoids.
Other colorectal diseases will require surgical procedures, for example a partial colectomy. Not so long ago this surgical procedure would have been highly invasive, now thanks to technological advances in medical procedures, this procedure is now minimally invasive. The skilled surgeons at the Colorectal Disease Center employ laparoscopic surgical techniques with enviable success.
For anyone with colorectal health issues, be they minor or major ones, obtaining the very best in diagnosis and treatment is essential. At the Colorectal Disease Center every individual is assured of world class care administered by world class specialists in the field.