Proctologists are doctors who specialize in colon and rectal issues. They focus on conditions that affect the lower digestive tract.
Conditions Treated by a Proctologist
Common conditions treated by a proctologist include:
- Cancer. A growth of abnormal cells may affect the health of your colon, rectum, or anus. Damage leads to trouble digesting food and having a bowel movement. Without treatment, cancer in your lower digestive tract may spread to other areas of your body.
- Constipation. You may have constipation every so often, but persistent constipation may point to a medical problem. Your proctologist can help ease the symptoms. You may need tests to look for underlying causes.
- Crohn’s disease. An inflammatory disorder, Crohn’s disease leads to swelling and irritation in your bowels that affect your body’s ability to digest food, absorb nutrients, and remove waste.
- Hemorrhoids. When blood vessels in your anus swell, they may block the opening that allows passage of bowel movements. This can cause pain and lead to other conditions like constipation or infection.
- Incontinence. If you can’t control gas or bowel movements, your proctologist may diagnose incontinence. This can also be a symptom of a serious health condition.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This long-term condition affects 15% of people. The symptoms may come and go.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Colorectal Conditions
If your condition gets worse, your proctologist may try a procedure to learn more about your condition and repair damage. Common colorectal procedures include:
- Colonoscopy. Your doctor uses a small light and camera to inspect your lower digestive tract. They look for damage and signs that your bodily functions are affected by your health condition.
- Bowel obstruction repair. If you have a blockage that doesn’t resolve on its own, you may need surgery. In some cases, a blockage causes damage to your intestines that needs repairs during the removal.
- Hemorrhoid removal. Some hemorrhoids go away with time, but others stick around and affect your quality of life. Large, painful hemorrhoids are easy to remove to prevent further damage.