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Polyps Explained: Symptoms, Types, Causes, and Treatment

Polyps Explained: Symptoms, Types, Causes, and Treatment

A polyp is a tissue growth that protrudes from a bodily surface, usually a mucous membrane.

It is an abnormal tissue growth that resembles little, flat bumps, or mushroom-like stalks.
The majority of polyps are tiny, measuring less than half an inch in diameter.

Polyps are treated differently depending on their size, location, and whether they’re benign or cancerous.

They can develop in the following areas inside the body:

  • Colon (colorectal)
  • Stomach (gastric)
  • Cervix (cervical)
  • Uterus (endometrial)
  • Bladder
  • Ear canal (aural)
  • Nose (nasal)
  • Vocal cord (throat)
     

Types of Polyps 

 

There are two common types of polyps shapes: pedunculated (suspended from a stalk) and sessile (flat and emerges from the surrounding tissue). 

Polyps are not all the same.

The five most prevalent forms of colon and rectal polyps are as follows:

 

Adenomatous (tubular adenoma) 

Adenomatous is the most common type of colon polyps. They are typically tiny, measuring less than 1/2 inch in diameter. They grow in a tube shape, as the name tubular adenoma suggests.

When this sort of polyp is discovered, it is examined for signs of cancer. Although only a tiny fraction of adenomatous polyps progress to malignancy, practically all malignant polyps begin as adenomatous polyps.

Fortunately, the transformation of these polyps into colon cancer takes a long time so they can be detected and removed before that happens with frequent screening.

 

Inflammatory 

Non-neoplastic intraluminal projections of mucosa made up of stromal and epithelial components as well as inflammatory cells are known as inflammatory polyps. 

People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are more likely to develop these.

These polyps are also known as pseudopolyps because they are not actual polyps but rather form as a result of chronic colon inflammation.

 

Serrated

Serrated polyps might develop malignant depending on their size and location in the colon. Precancerous polyps are larger serrated polyps that are often flat (sessile), difficult to identify, and found in the upper colon.

Under the microscope, the polyps are distinguished by their saw-toothed appearance. Only by removing polyps and analyzing them under a microscope can the types of polyps be identified.

 

Hyperplastic

Hyperplastic polyp, or small, serrated polyp in the lower intestine that forms at the colon’s end, is rarely cancerous. It is the growth of additional cells that stretches from your body’s tissues. 

Your stomach may also develop hyperplastic polyps. In fact, stomach polyps of this sort are the most prevalent.

Small stomach polyps are usually unnoticeable and do not produce any symptoms but as you become older, your chances of developing stomach polyps increase.

 

Villous Adenoma (Tubulovillous Adenoma)

Tubular adenomas are common in small adenomas, but villous adenomas are more common in larger ones.

Villous or tubulovillous adenomas have a high chance of developing into cancer. They are frequently sessile, making removal more difficult.

Smaller villous adenoma polyps can be eliminated with a colonoscopy, while larger polyps may need surgery to be completely removed.

The vast majority of polyps do not progress to malignancy. Certain forms of polyps have a higher risk of developing cancer.

The removal of polyps during a colonoscopy lowers the chance of colon cancer developing in the future.

polyps explained symptoms treatment - Polyps Explained: Symptoms, Types, Causes, and Treatment

 

What are the Causes and Risks of Polyps

 

There is no obvious cause as to why polyps exist and there are times that doctors can’t determine their cause.

But they often develop from the abnormal growth of cells. The causes can also depend on their location.

Some others are as follows:

  • Cysts
  • Tumors
  • Excess estrogen
  • Inflammation
  • Mutation in the genes of colon cells
  • Severe stomach inflammation

Anyone can get polys but according to the American Cancer Society, people who have the following factors are at a higher risk:

  • Age 50 and older
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Tobacco and alcohol use
  • History of polyps or colon cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (i.e., ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
  • Type 2 diabetes

Polyps and colon cancer are also linked to some hereditary disorders, such as:

  • Gardner’s syndrome affects a small number of people. It usually causes benign or noncancerous growths to become cancerous.
  • Lynch syndrome, commonly known as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), is the most frequent cause of hereditary colorectal (colon and rectum) cancer.
  • MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP) is a rare disorder in which a person’s colon and rectum are covered in adenomatous polyps (abnormal tissue growths).
  • Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS) increases the chance of hamartomatous polyps in the digestive tract, as well as cancers of the breast, colon, and rectum, pancreas, stomach, testicles, ovaries, lung, and cervix.

polyps symptoms - Polyps Explained: Symptoms, Types, Causes, and Treatment

What are the Symptoms of Polyps?

 

The majority of colon polyps do not cause any symptoms. You won’t know you have one unless you take a test to find out. If you do have signs, they may include the following:

  • Rectal bleeding – blood in your feces, in the toilet bowl, or on the toilet paper as you wipe could be symptoms of internal bleeding in your colon.
  • Stool color change – blood can appear in your stool as red streaks or as a black color.
  • Bowel habits change – constipation or diarrhea that lasts more than a week could be a sign of a bigger polyp or cancer in the colon.
  • Pain – a big colon polyp can cause crampy stomach pain by partially obstructing your bowel.
  • Anemia (lack of iron) – polyp-related bleeding might happen gradually over time, with no obvious blood in your stool, also causing fatigue and shortness of breath.

 

Other symptoms in the following locations of polyps are as follows:

  • Colon – blood in the stool, stomach ache, constipation, and diarrhea
  • Stomach – nausea, discomfort, soreness, vomiting, and bleeding
  • Cervix – usually no symptoms, however, they can include heavy bleeding during
    menstruation or sex, as well as an unusual discharge
  • Uterus – infertility, irregular monthly flow, and vaginal bleeding
  • Bladder – urinary blood, painful urination, and frequent urination
  • Ear canal – loss of hearing and dripping of blood
  • Nose – headache, nose pain, and loss of smell that are comparable to those of a normal cold
  • Vocal cord – a harsh, breathy voice that develops over a period of days to weeks

 polyps treatment and diagnosis - Polyps Explained: Symptoms, Types, Causes, and Treatment

 

Diagnosis

 

Various approaches are utilized to get a sample depending on where the polyp or polyps are located. These are some of them:

  • Pap smear for cervix
  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy or endoscopy for small bowel and stomach
  • Colonoscopy for big bowel
  • Biopsy of places that are easy to reach so that a sample may be collected and studied under a microscope

 

Other screening tests you can take are the following:

  • CT colonography (also known as virtual colonoscopy) – employs specialized x-ray equipment to look for cancer and polyps in the large intestine.

    A tiny tube is introduced a short distance into the rectum during the exam to allow for gas expansion while CT images of the colon and rectum are captured. 

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy – endoscopic treatment that allows your doctor to inspect your rectum and lower colon.

    A sigmoidoscope is a specialized endoscope that your doctor uses to visualize the area. It is a thin, flexible illuminated tube with a camera at the tip. 

  • Stool-based tests – look for aberrant DNA from cancer or polyp cells, as well as occult (hidden) blood.

    DNA mutations (changes) in particular genes are common in colorectal cancer and polyp cells.

 

polyps explained diagnosis treatment - Polyps Explained: Symptoms, Types, Causes, and Treatment

 

A pathologist (a doctor who specializes in evaluating tissue samples) will analyze your polyp tissue under a microscope to see if it’s malignant and any polyps discovered during your colonoscopy will almost certainly be removed by your gastroenterologist.

Prevention is better than cure so always have regular screenings and try to adopt a new lifestyle and healthy habits. 

If you’re in a high-risk situation, think about your options and consult an expert now.

 

Learn More from the Experts

 

GiDoc Johannesburg is here to provide you with expert medical advice in the field of gastroenterology.

Book an appointment online or give us a call at 011 482-3010 to find out more. 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

Colorectal Cancer: What You Need to Know

Colorectal Cancer: What You Need to Know

 

Colon cancer is a type of cancer that affects the colon. Rectal cancer is a type of cancer that affects the rectum. Hence, colorectal.  

One of the most common cancers in the United States, colorectal cancer is a tumor that occurs in the lining of the large intestine (colon) or rectum.  

As people get older, their risk of colorectal cancer rises. Young adults and teenagers can develop colorectal cancer; however, the majority of colorectal cancers occur in those over the age of 50 (age of 68 in men while 72 in women, on average). 

Let us dig deeper as to what colorectal cancer is and what else you need to know about it like the symptoms, types, and risks. 

 

What is Colorectal Cancer

 

Colorectal cancer is a type of malignant tumor that affects the colon and rectum. It is also known as colorectal carcinoma, bowel cancer, colon cancer, or rectal cancer. 

Colorectal cancer has four main stages with each stage marked by specific symptoms.

 Stage 1 typically shows no symptoms and can be found during routine screening.

 Stage 2 includes blood-filled stools that are black, tarry, dark-red, and gray and colonoscopy show mild inflammation or growths on the wall or ulceration near your anus.

 The third stage consists of bloody bowel movements with painful obstructions caused by severe bleeding.  

The fourth and final stage is the most dangerous, as it is often fatal. In this stage, cancer spreads to other parts of the body, causing severe pain and obstructions, which may be life-threatening.  

 

 colorectal cancer types - Colorectal Cancer: What You Need to Know

 

 

Colorectal Cancer Types

  

Colorectal Adenocarcinoma
Adenocarcinomas of the colon and rectum account for 95% of all cases of colorectal cancer. Rectal and colon adenocarcinomas form in the cells lining the large intestine in the gastrointestinal tract and spread to other layers.

Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors
Carcinoid tumors are slow-growing cells that can appear in the lungs or gastrointestinal tract. They are responsible for 1% of all colorectal cancers and half of all small intestinal malignancies. 

Primary Colorectal Lymphomas
Primary colorectal lymphomas account for roughly 0.2 to 0.6 percent of all colorectal malignancies. Men are more likely than women to get this kind of colorectal cancer. 

Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors
Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are a rare type of colorectal cancer that develops in a type of cell found in the GI tract’s lining. GISTs develop in the stomach in more than half of cases. The second most common location is the small intestine and next is the rectum. 

Leiomyosarcomas
Leiomyosarcomas means “cancer of the smooth muscle,” affecting the three layers of the muscle in the colon and rectum that function together to guide waste through the digestive tract. 

Melanomas
Melanomas are skin cancers that can appear anywhere, including the colon and rectum. Malignant melanoma was thought to be the most common tumor metastasizing to the colon, despite having rare cases. 

 colorectal cancer symptoms - Colorectal Cancer: What You Need to Know

 

Symptoms

 

Symptoms of colorectal cancer do not initially appear so you may have one, but you are just completely unaware of it.

That is why it is critical to have frequent cancer screenings.

Take note of the following symptoms especially in the early stages: 

  • An alteration in bowel movement
  • Changes in stool color, and shape
  • Blood in your stool that makes it look dark brown
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that your bowels aren’t completely emptying completely
  • Pain or cramps in the abdomen and bloating
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Anemia
  • Excessive gas
  • Losing weight for no apparent reason

If colorectal cancer spreads to other parts of your body, you may have the following symptoms:

  • Jaundice (a condition in which the skin, whites of the eyes, and mucous membranes turn yellow)
  • Edema (swelling of the hands or feet)
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Severe headaches
  • Eyesight problems
  • Fractures of the bones 

 colorectal cancer diagnosis - Colorectal Cancer: What You Need to Know

 

Diagnosis

 

The American Cancer Society recommends that everyone undergo routine screening every year starting at age fifty or sixteen years old with a simple exam called the fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or sigmoidoscopy which involves looking into your rectum and colon.

 Your doctor may conduct the following tests to diagnose colorectal cancer: 

 Colonoscopy – a procedure that examines the colon and the rectum to detect changes or abnormalities. A long, flexible tube (colonoscope) is placed into the rectum during a colonoscopy. The doctor can see the inside of the colon thanks to a tiny video camera at the tube’s tip. 

 Virtual Colonoscopy (also called CT colonography) – employs specialized x-ray equipment to look for cancer and polyps in the large intestine. A tiny tube is placed into the rectum during the exam to allow for gas expansion while CT images of the colon and rectum are captured. 

 Gastrointestinal Exam (GI x-ray) – used for inspection, auscultation (listening to the internal sounds of the body, usually using a stethoscope), and gentle palpation of the abdomen will be performed to detect visual abnormalities, bowel sounds, and softness/tenderness. 

 Other exams would be abdominal and pelvic CT, positron emission tomography (PET), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the body, and endorectal ultrasound.

 colorectal cancer treatment - Colorectal Cancer: What You Need to Know

  

Treatment

 

 Depending on the stage (size and spread) of cancer, surgery may be required to remove the tumor, which may involve removing part or all of the colon. 

When deciding on the optimal treatment choice, the doctor will also examine the patient’s age, overall health status, and other features. 

Listed are some of the ways to treat colorectal cancer: 

Ablation – small tumors (less than 4 cm in diameter) are destroyed using ablation techniques rather than surgery. It can also be used to treat tumors that have spread to other parts of the body. 

 

Embolizationcan be used to treat tumors that are greater than 5cm (about 2 inches) in diameter and are often too large for ablation. It can be used in conjunction with ablation. 

 

Chemotherapy – cancer treatment that employs the use of strong chemicals to eradicate malignant cells. It is a systemic treatment, which means the meds work throughout the body to stop malignant cells from spreading. 

Targeted Therapy – bio-engineered medications that target specific proteins found on cancer cells are used. These medications can be used on their own or in conjunction with other treatments. 

Immunotherapy – the use of drugs to assist a person’s immune system in recognizing and destroying cancer cells. Some people with advanced colorectal cancer may benefit from immunotherapy.

Radiation Therapy – a cancer-killing treatment that uses high-energy rays (such as x-rays) or particles. It is frequently used to treat rectal cancer rather than colon cancer.
Chemotherapy combined with radiation therapy can improve the outcome of some colon and rectal cancers. These two treatments are called chemoradiation. 

External Beam Therapy (EBT) – a type of radiation therapy that involves directing many high-energy x-ray beams directly at a patient’s tumor over a period of one to six weeks.

These x-rays direct radiation to the patient’s tumor, destroying cancer cells while limiting the effects on healthy tissues nearby. 

The goal of all these treatments will be to get rid of cancer, prevent it from spreading, and alleviate any unpleasant symptoms.  

But who treats colorectal cancer? 

Different sorts of doctors may be on your treatment team depending on your treatment options.

These medical professionals could be a gastroenterologist, colorectal surgeon, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, or surgical oncologist.

 colorectal cancer risk factor - Colorectal Cancer: What You Need to Know

  

Risk Factors

 

Understanding the risk factors for colorectal cancer is important for prevention, since implementing preventative actions can minimize the risk of developing the disease. 

The following are some of the factors that may increase the risk of colorectal cancer:  

  • Age
  • History of health history or cancer
  • Certain health conditions or genetic syndromes
  • Race and ethnicity 

However, you can control some life factors such as weight, diet, activity level, smoking, and drinking. 

 

Conclusion

 

Colorectal cancer is a prevalent kind of cancer and a primary cause of mortality.

Early treatment can help eradicate malignant cells and improve the chances of a successful outcome. 

Symptoms, on the other hand, may not occur until later stages. Anyone who is at risk for colorectal cancer should talk to their doctor about being screened. 

Regular screening increases the likelihood of an early diagnosis.  

 

 

 Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of WHAT IS A 2 - Colorectal Cancer: What You Need to Know

 

 

Learn More from the Experts
 

 

GiDoc Johannesburg is here to provide you with expert medical advice in the field of gastroenterology.

 Book an appointment online or give us a call at 011 482-3010 to find out more. 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

What is Recurrent Abdominal Pain (RAP) and How Can It Be Treated

What is Recurrent Abdominal Pain (RAP) and How Can It Be Treated

Recurrent abdominal pain is a common condition necessitating a medical consultation, especially amongst children and women, where multiple causes and/or symptoms may be present.

Oftentimes these symptoms have more to do with lifestyle choices such as diet, gut health and psychological well-being but may also be an early symptom of more severe conditions.

Common causes of recurrent abdominal pain:

  • Indigestion
  • Constipation
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Period pains
  • Cancer
  • Liver and/or gallbladder problems
  • Some sort of parasitic/pathogenic infection
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • An abdominal muscle injury

Recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) has been used to describe functional abdominal pain within those suffering from it with many patients, the majority being women and children, having no real identifiable organic causes.

This may lead to the development of chronic abdominal pain (CAP) as a lack of diagnosis and treatment may exacerbate the emerging condition.

 chronic abdominal pain - What is Recurrent Abdominal Pain (RAP) and How Can It Be Treated

  

How is Recurrent Abdominal Pain Classified?

The guidelines mostly used to describe and possibly diagnose recurrent abdominal pain in the past related to the use of Apley’s Criteria, which was developed in 1975.

 Although mostly having to do with the incidents of RAP in children, similar behaviours and symptoms may be present in adults.

 Due to a majority of the occurrences of these issues arising from possible childhood trauma, in adults the origin may be more difficult to narrow down.

 The criteria for recurrent abdominal pain is that there should have been 3 or more episodes of abdominal pain over 3 months at the least, and be severe enough to such an extent as to interfere with daily functioning like school or work commitments, social engagements as well as personal/self care and development.

 Abdominal pain is still one of the more common reasons for hospitalization around the world and, if any, the organic causes of abdominal pain should be rigorously tested and excluded.

 Unfortunately, recurrent abdominal pain may manifest as functional gastrointestinal disorders leading to cases of chronic abdominal pain (CAP) unless a diagnosis is made and intervention takes place.

Another classification system was developed in 1999 by the Pediatric Gastroenterology Multinational Rome Working Division where more specific diagnostic categories than recurrent abdominal pain were developed and allowed for a more specific symptom-based criteria for diagnosis.

 These criteria are described as indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, functional abdominal pain, abdominal migraines , and aerophagia.

It is through the development of these criteria that it became apparent that much of the recurrent abdominal pain and chronic abdominal pain present, especially within children, is a result of psychological distress.

 

Common methods that may help in the treatment of recurring abdominal pain:

 Drinking of more water

  • Healthy eating routines
  • Higher fiber diets
  • Exercise
  • Taking a warm bath or using a hot water bottle
  • Tailored diets that cut out specific food groups
  • Psychological therapy

  recurrent abdominal pain and mental health - What is Recurrent Abdominal Pain (RAP) and How Can It Be Treated

Recurrent Abdominal Pain and Mental Well-Being

A massive study was conducted by a group of researchers using The Raine Study, a randomised controlled trial designed to test the effects of ultrasound over the course, and after the fact, of pregnancy.

 Almost 3000 women and their children were followed from birth until the age of 17, where physical and detailed, self-administered questionnaire-based assessments regarding health and lifestyle were used to determine the effect of abdominal pain.

 It was found that during these studies, abdominal pain was common in children and adolescents, particularly females.

The study revealed that one third of seventeen year-olds experience some form of abdominal pain, and that those adolescents with frequent abdominal pain were more than twice as likely to have a history of depression.

 Within the same vein, children with recurrent abdominal pain had a higher chance of frequent abdominal pain, depression or anxiety during their teenage years compared to those without recurrent abdominal pain growing up.

 The study highlighted that an increase in incidences of bullying within school correlated with the increase of recurrent abdominal pain.

Considering the large emotional and psychological effects that bullying has on childhood aspects of mental health such as anxiety and depression, it becomes clearer to see that the correlation between psychological distress and recurrent abdominal pain is also there.

  abdominal stress - What is Recurrent Abdominal Pain (RAP) and How Can It Be Treated

The Effects of Psychological Stress on RAP

Whether bullying serves as a trigger for the psychological distress or aids in driving that destructive psychological state, the victims of these experiences have been shown to exhibit symptoms that are physically not there.

 These may include adverse health conditions and disorders such as recurrent abdominal pain. These conditions and disorders may then develop into chronic health issues in the future requiring further, sometimes more drastic, medical intervention as an adult.

 The correlation between children with frequent abdominal pain and the psychological condition of their parents was investigated by the Medical Research Council.

Children that had recurrent/persistent abdominal pain were found again to be almost twice as likely to suffer from some form of mental distress.

 Once these psychological disorders were accounted for and controlled, the physical symptoms associated with RAP decreased by half.

 treatment for abdominal pain - What is Recurrent Abdominal Pain (RAP) and How Can It Be Treated

Possible Treatment Methods for Stress-Related RAP

In an article published in 2006, researchers attempted to form a standardized assessment for recurrent abdominal pain.

Several mental as well as physical evaluations were investigated such as examining the effects of cognitive-behavioural therapies, fiber treatments and behavioural conditioning procedures.

 Of all these methods, cognitive-behavioural approaches appeared as a probably effective treatment for undiagnosed recurrent abdominal pain.

 Fiber interventions were found to aid in recurrent abdominal pains associated with constipation while behavioural conditioning procedures were found to not meet the required criteria for effective treatment options.

  

A Possible Treatment for Recurrent Abdominal Pain

The group undergoing these cognitive-behavioural interventions showed no evidence for any negative effects of treatment.

 A large majority of the children (87,5%), when studied in a school setting, were shown to be pain-free after three months of follow-up interventions compared to those at the start (37,5%).

 A second study comparing the effects of both cognitive-behavioural family intervention and standard paediatric care saw that both treatment procedures were effective at reducing the levels of pain intensity as well as the behaviour related to pain management.  

The parents involved reported higher levels of satisfaction in children receiving the cognitive-behavioural family intervention treatment than those receiving standard care.

Those receiving the cognitive-behavioural treatments had a higher chance of the complete elimination of pain as well as a lower chance of relapsing after 6 and 12 months.

RAP is Complicated so Pay Attention to the Signs

Based on a modern understanding of recurrent abdominal pain, it is clear to see that the possible causes are vast.

Linked with the incidence of poor mental health, this only serves to complicate diagnosis and treatment. 

Research points towards a plethora of social and psychological roots in the occurrence of recurrent abdominal pain and that an optimized assessment of all potential psychological and physiological contributors be accounted for when recurrent abdominal pain is described. 

There are some signs that do not point towards recurring abdominal pain as the cause of some discomfort. These extreme indications need to be addressed as soon as possible. 

Signs that you should see a medical professional:

  • Continual/uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Chronic constipation
  • Fever caused from abdominal pains
  • Pain when urinating
  • Blood in the stool or in vomit
  • A history of anaemia
  • An inability to pass gas
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Dizziness/light-headedness
  • When a lump is present in the abdominal area
  • Unintentional weight loss

  

Conclusion: Consult with Medical Professionals

Irritable bowel syndrome is another cause of recurrent abdominal pains and its treatment options vary in comparison to the interventions required for other causes of recurrent abdominal pain such as indigestion, constipation, stomach ulcers and other potential chronic abdominal problems. 

Because of this wide scope of potential causes and symptoms, and all of these conditions requiring their own treatment options, the importance of consulting with a doctor and potentially a gastroenterologist professional is a crucial first step towards finding the root cause and the subsequent treatment for recurrent abdominal pain.  

    DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

    The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

    Diverticulitis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

    Diverticulitis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

    Diverticulitis is a digestive condition that can affect the large intestine. It manifests in the form of small bulging inflamed or infected pouches that can form in your intestines, particularly the lower part.

    The pouches themselves don’t pose any general harmful effects, if there is no infection, with the condition called diverticulosis.

    The presence of infection or inflammation in these pouches rebrands the condition to diverticulitis, the focus of our article today.

    Diverticula, as the pouches are known, are quite common after the age of forty and don’t often cause any serious problems.

    When severe, the diverticula will be seriously infected or even cause a perforation of the bowel. These are extreme cases but are still important to be aware of.

    In the hopes of allaying any fears or concerns you may have about this digestive condition, we are going to use this article to delve into the symptoms of diverticulitis, explore possible causes and explain several available treatments.

    Before we do that, let’s quickly rule out any ambiguity when referring to diverticulitis as it is not to be confused with diverticulosis.

    The distinction is quite simple though:

    The presence of diverticula is known as diverticulosis. When one or more of the diverticula become infected or inflamed, the condition is then known as diverticulitis.

    diverticulitis symptoms treatment 1 - Diverticulitis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

    Symptoms of Diverticulitis

    The pouches, or diverticula, can be fairly innocuous. It is highly likely for someone to have them, but not be aware of this fact due to their relatively pain-free existence.

    Rather expectedly, they result in very few symptoms.

    This being said, you might notice the following if you have diverticula:

    1. Consistent pain that can persist for several days. The lower left side of the abdomen is usually where the pain occurs, however, the right side of the abdomen can be more painful sometimes.
    2. So persistent pain in the lower abdomen warrants a trip to the doctor to rule out possible causes.
    3. Constipation or diarrhoea accompanied by bloody stool may be a sign of infected diverticula although it may also be indicative of a more serious problem like a form of irritable bowel disease.
    4. Several symptoms are associated with inflamed or infected diverticula (diverticulitis) such as presenting with a high temperature, having constant and severe
    5. stomach pain.In general, however, symptoms associated with the mere presence of diverticula are insignificant, if even present at all.
    6. If, at any time, symptoms turn up that have you feeling worried, avoid self-diagnosing and consult your doctor to figure out what the root of the problem may be.


      symptoms of diverticulitis causes 1 - Diverticulitis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

    Causes of Diverticulitis

     

    The direct cause of diverticulitis is not entirely known but there are several possible causes and risk factors that increase the chances of developing the disorder.

    The diverticula formation is a result of naturally weak places in the colon giving way under pressure. It’s this “caving in to pressure” that results in small pouches, or diverticula, protruding from the colon wall.

    Some doctors think that muscles spasms or strain caused during a difficult bowel movement may result in a build of pressure on the colon which pushes against the lining.

    Others have thought in the past that not eating enough fibre may be a cause but this is still speculative as a clear link has not been shown, as found in more recent studies.

    So while the diverticula can be fairly harmless in terms of symptoms produced, there are risk factors that can increase the chances of them developing and then becoming inflamed or infected.

    The risk factors for developing diverticulitis increase with age with “over 40” being the most common age of onset.

    Typical risk factors are similar to what predisposes one to an increased risk of developing other intestinal diseases and problems.

    • Obesity.  Being overweight poses an overall risk to your health system in general. It also increases the chances of your diverticula becoming inflamed and causing harmful symptoms.
    • Smoking is harmful to your body in almost every single way. The health of your diverticula is also not immune to the damaging effects of tobacco smoke.
    • Diet.  Due to diverticulitis being a disorder of the intestine, what you ingest can play a large role in its health. A diet rich in fat and red meat and low in fibre can put unnecessary stress on the intestinal system. A lack of fibre leads to increased bowel wall strain to move the stool through the colon. This increased pressure is what can result in the formation of pouches on weak points in the colon wall
    • Certain medication such as steroids, opioids, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can also increase your chances of developing diverticulitis. In cases such as this, where medication may increase the occurrence of a particular disorder, it is always best to consult with one’s doctor to find out the risk in one’s particular case.
    • A lack of regular exercise can increase the resistance to developing diverticulitis due to the overall health benefits that routine exercise imparts on one’s health system.

    causes of diverticulitis causes 1 - Diverticulitis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

    Treatment Options for Diverticulitis

    Diverticula, once formed in the colon, are there to stay unless they are surgically removed. 

    There is a range of degrees of severity with most people exhibiting uncomplicated diverticulitis. In these cases where symptoms are only mild, the condition can be treated at home. 

    One’s doctor will prescribe a number of things such as antibiotics, if deemed necessary, to treat any infection. 

    One may also be put on a liquid diet to reduce any strain on the bowel thereby allowing it time to heal. Solid food is normally phased back into one’s diet as the bowel heals. 

    treatment options for diverticulitis 1 - Diverticulitis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

    By just using rest, stool softeners, a liquid diet, and antibiotics (to treat infection), most people find full symptomatic relief. 

    If one’s diverticulitis becomes more serious through a perforation, for example, or more severe infection, hospitalization may be required. 

    The premise for this is to allow for intravenous antibiotics to be received. Food is also given intravenously to give the colon the necessary time needed to heal. 

    In some cases, one’s doctor may deem it necessary to drain infected abscesses by performing a temporary colostomy.

    A colostomy creates an opening so that the intestine can empty into a bag that is attached to the front of the abdomen. This can later be reversed after the intestinal tract has been given enough time to rest and recover. 

    This is quite extreme and should certainly not be expected without a doubt if you are hospitalized for diverticulitis. 

    In summary, the probability of making a full recovery is very high if medical attention is promptly received. 

    In terms of offsetting diverticulitis symptoms and allowing for a recovery to occur, it’s important to drink plenty of water to prevent constipation and reduce high-fat foods as this slows down bowel movement. 

    When in remission, remember to stick to a high-fibre diet to assist your intestinal tract to perform at an optimal capacity and speed.

     

    Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of WHAT IS A 1 1 - Diverticulitis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment 

    Summary

    Diverticulitis is a digestive tract condition that many people simply cannot prevent although there are certain lifestyle measures that can be taken to lower the risks of developing it.

    That said, there are suitable, non-invasive treatments for mild conditions.

    Even if the condition does develop to become more severe, there are proven methods of dealing with it in a manner that can have you getting back to your normal life in no time.

    For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of GI tract conditions in Johannesburg, contact Dr Schneider at (011) 482-3010 or visit www.gidocjhb.co.za to book your consultation today.

     

     

    DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

    The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

    How to Determine When Your Stomach Pains Mean You Need a Gastroenterologist?

    How to Determine When Your Stomach Pains Mean You Need a Gastroenterologist?

    If you’re experiencing stomach pain but are unsure whether it is serious enough to see a specialist, read here to learn how to differentiate between ordinary pain and stomach illnesses. It may be time to book an appointment with your specialist.

     

    Most of us have experienced an upset stomach from an acute illness, this is most often something that one can self-medicate at home, or even with a visit to your GP if you feel your symptoms need medical assistance.

     

    But what should you do if you have stomach pain that occurs frequently or lasts for long periods?

     

    If the usual remedies don’t work and the discomfort persists long term, you might find you have an underlying condition that affects your gastrointestinal system. If you do decide to visit your GP as well, they will recommend seeing a gastroenterologist for specialist care.

     

    There could be many reasons you should consult a gastroenterologist, also known as a digestion doctor, if you are experiencing discomfort and unusual symptoms.

     

    It is a common misconception that a gastroenterologist is just a stomach doctor and deals exclusively with that area of the body, but in fact, these specialists help treat conditions for many different areas of your body.

     

    A gastroenterologist can assist with symptoms ranging from the esophagus all the way down to the rectum.

     

    This post will explore the various reasons one might need to make an appointment and get an expert opinion to get you feeling right as rain again.

     

     

    What Is a Gastroenterologist?

     

     

    Most of us don’t have an in-depth understanding of the specialization of a digestion doctor until we are in huge amounts of pain that does not subside the way that some acute illnesses usually would.

    This is when we’re forced to seek specialized help from specialists such as a gastroenterologist. 

    stomach pains - How to Determine When Your Stomach Pains Mean You Need a Gastroenterologist?

    Where Can Stomach Pains Come From?

     

     

    When we consider the gastrointestinal system, most people would naturally assume that this is limited to the stomach and intestines.

    In reality, gastroenterology involves looking at the normal function and diseases of the entire gastrointestinal tract – including your esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, and liver.

    Issues with any of these parts of the body could cause what appears to be stomach pain and may warrant a visit to a gastroenterologist to confirm a diagnosis and receive treatment.

     

     

    Conditions Managed by Gastroenterologists

     

     

    Some of the most common ailments that one would visit a gastroenterologists for include the following:

        • Cancer (Gastrointestinal, Liver, Pancreatic, Colorectal)
        • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
        • Celiac Disease
        • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
        • Gallbladder Disease
        • GERD (Heartburn, Acid Reflux)
        • Hemorrhoids (Swollen Veins in the Lowest Part of the Rectum and Anus)
        • Polyps (Abnormal Tissue Growths)
        • Ulcers (Painful Sores in the Stomach Lining)
        • Pancreatitis

    Some of the above conditions can become much worse and potentially cause severe long-term complications if one does not get the required medical attention as soon as possible.

    Below, we will look at some of the instances where your stomach pain is no longer something that can be cured by a home remedy, but rather requires an appointment with a gastroenterologist.

    stomach conditions and when to see gastroenterologist - How to Determine When Your Stomach Pains Mean You Need a Gastroenterologist?

     

    Types and Sources of Stomach Pain

     

     

    Stomach pain can be a difficult pain to diagnose oneself, because often the pain is not actually located in what the average person calls the stomach area but is in fact more pinpointed to a specific region of the abdominal cavity.

    Many vital organs make up this general area, such as the small and large intestines, appendix, kidneys, liver, and gallbladder.

    The digestive tract is also found in this general area of the body, along with all the building blocks like muscles, bones, blood vessels, and other structures.

    It is clear just from listing these various areas and components that there is a lot more going on in the abdomen than just the stomach, and this is what can make it difficult for you to differentiate between and locate the issue yourself.  

    There are, of course, acute ailments that most of us have experienced in the past and at least have an idea of the familiar sensation – something like indigestion, bloating and gas, or constipation.

    This pain is passing, doesn’t last for long periods of time, and does not occur repeatedly. These ailments typically present as generalised pain.

     

    Stomach Pain That Requires a Gastroenterologist

     

     

    Generalised pain is something you should be able to recognise as a separate sensation to abdominal pain, which is localised to a particular region.

    If you can feel, for example, that your kidneys are in pain (read here to see where they are located if you are unsure) you can then monitor it accordingly.

    If it does not pass in a short amount of time but instead persists, or even worsens, it may indicate that it’s time to see your doctor.

    Let’s have a look at some signs which may indicate it is necessary to seek specialised medical assistance.

     

    1.    Intense Pain Accompanied by Bloody Diarrhea

     

    Intense pain that comes on quickly can be a sign that you are suffering from a foodborne illness, having consumed contaminated food.

    This could be a result of food poisoning, Salmonella, or E. Coli. These are generalized pains and are likely something you will have experienced before and will subside within hours.

    If the pain is persistent and is accompanied by blood in diarrhoea, you could be experiencing something more serious, possibly ulcerative colitis or another inflammatory bowel disease.

    stomach pain and vomiting gastroenterology - How to Determine When Your Stomach Pains Mean You Need a Gastroenterologist?

    2. Sudden Pain Paired with Vomiting

     

    As with the first sign, this could be as a result of contracting a foodborne illness which would then pass within several hours or days.

    Alternatively, you could be experiencing acute gastroenteritis (‘stomach flu’). Gastroenteritis is caused by a bacteria, virus, or parasite and causes inflammation of the intestine lining.

    Viral gastroenteritis is very common today and is another instance where home care will suffice, and the pain will not last past a few days.

    As such, it’s not essential to see a gastroenterologist but if you are struggling to keep fluids down then a visit to the doctor is needed.

     

    3. Intense Stomach Pain in Lower Abdomen

     

    If your pain is located in the lower abdomen, this could be something that subsides after a bowel movement, indicating you may be suffering from IBS.

    Irritable bowel syndrome can sometimes seem like it’s acute pain and passes quickly but keep track of how often this happens.

    It is normal to have occasional constipation, however, if you are experiencing less than three bowel movements a week coupled with intense lower abdomen pain, the issue is more serious.

     

    stomach pain in lower abdomin - How to Determine When Your Stomach Pains Mean You Need a Gastroenterologist?

    4. Side or Lower Back Pain

     

    Experiencing pain in your side or lower back could indicate kidney stones if this abdominal pain is also accompanied by discomfort and pain when urinating.

    Kidney stones cause pain due to their sharp crystalline structure which irritates the urinary tract as it passes through.

    Some people will find this pain almost unbearable and is uncommon in acute illnesses, making it easier to know that this is a serious instance in which a visit to your gastroenterologist is necessary.

     

     

    In conclusion

     

     

    It is very unlikely that you have never experienced any form of stomach pain in your life, but most of these cases will have been acute illnesses and short-lived symptoms.

    These forms of stomach pain are quite mild and don’t require attention from a medical professional.

    If the pain persists for long periods, intensifies over time, or is localized rather than generalised pain then you should aim to seek assistance from your doctor as soon as possible.

     

     

    Learn More from the Experts

     

     

    GiDoc Johannesburg is here to provide you with expert medical advice in the field of gastroenterology.

    Book an appointment online or give us a call at 011 482-3010 to find out more.

     

     

     

    DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

    The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.