What is the colon?
The colon, or large intestine, is the tube-like organ at the end of the digestive tract. It is lined with muscles that move waste from the small intestine to the rectum, where stool is eliminated. The colon also absorbs fluids and nutrients from digested food. Getting enough fiber, water, and exercise is essential to maintaining a healthy colon and promoting regularity.
Unhealthy Colon Growths
When cells in the colon’s tissue develop irregularly, growths can form on the colon wall. These growths, called polyps or, if they are malignant, colon cancer, should be detected as soon as possible, since they can cause blockage or break off and spread to other parts of the intestines. Individuals experiencing symptoms of an abnormal growth, including rectal bleeding, bloody stool, constipation or diarrhea, or pain or bowel obstruction, should seek treatment as soon as possible.
Del Mar Surgical treats both colon polyps and cancerous growths, providing advanced laparoscopic colon surgery when necessary. Patients in San Diego, including La Jolla, North County, and surrounding areas, can contact our practice for further information on these conditions.
A colon polyp is a small clump of cells that forms on the colon. Polyps can be anywhere from pea-size to golf ball-size. While this cell growth is abnormal, polyps are not usually cancerous. However, since a polyp can become cancerous if it is not removed, timely treatment is essential.
Diverticulosis is a condition in which small pouches (diverticula) form on the colon wall. Diverticula are caused by pressure that builds when the colon muscles have to squeeze too hard to expel waste. Symptoms may include bloating, mild cramping, constipation, diarrhea, urgency, or, in rare cases, rectal bleeding.
Diverticulitis results when pouches formed in diverticulosis become infected or inflamed. This infection can cause the diverticula to swell or burst and may produce symptoms such as pain, fever, chills, and, in severe cases, infection of the abdominal cavity (peritonitis). Diverticulitis is more painful and serious than diverticulosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Treatment for Colon Polyps
The best treatment for colon polyps is usually to remove the growth. This can be done with a colonoscopy, or, in cases involving larger or unreachable polyps, with abdominal surgery. To learn more about treatment options for colon polyps or colon cancer surgery, contact our office in La Jolla.
Treatment for Diverticulosis
Depending on the severity of the condition, a change in diet (increased fiber and water) and exercise habits may be all that is needed to manage the problem. Stool softening or antispasmodic medications may also alleviate symptoms.
Treatment for Diverticulitis
Treatment for diverticulosis depends on the severity of the condition. Treatment for mild diverticulitis often begins with a brief liquid diet and oral antibiotics followed by a high-fiber diet. Medications may be prescribed to relieve pressure and pain. More severe cases may require hospitalization, intravenous antibiotics, and, in some cases, surgery to remove part of the colon. Our surgeons have recently published some of the largest experience in Southern California for the laparoscopic removal of the sigmoid colon in patients who suffer from diverticulitis.
Contact Olde Del Mar Surgical
If you need treatment for colon polyps, diverticulosis, diverticulitis, or colon cancer, please contact our skilled, compassionate team of colon cancer surgery experts in La Jolla to schedule a consultation.
Citation: Web. 29 Dec. 2010. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/media/59955/A-comparison-of-the-portions-of-the-colon-examined-through>.