Among the many gastroenterological conditions that could affect you, anal diseases and disorders are likely to be some of the most discomfiting experiences you can have. Regardless of whether you’re suffering from tear or fissure in the lower anal canal or even anal cancer, however, these are conditions that can be treated by an experienced gastroenterologist.
This blog post looks at some of the most common rectal conditions you can experience.
This type of cancer affects the tissues of the anus, primarily affecting the squamous cells that line the surface of the anal canal. That being said, anal cancer also includes debilitating carcinomas and melanomas.
Symptoms include discomfort or pain in the rectum, a lack of control over bowel movements, ulcers around the anus, itching sensation around the anus, blood or mucus in stools, and a lump near the edge of the anus.
According to the information on anal diseases released by the Cancer Council of Australia, 87 people died from anal cancer in 2016.
Anal fissures refer to the splits or tears in the lining of the lower anal canal. While fissures can occur for a number of reasons including STIs, inflammatory bowel disease, and chronic or acute diarrhoea, it most often takes place if you strain too hard during bowel movements.
Classified as either acute or chronic anal fissures, gastroenterologists may employe a variety of treatment methods to treat this condition.
Commonly referred to as piles, haemorrhoids are one of the more common anal diseases you can experience. This condition is characterised by swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum, which are classified as either internal haemorrhoids or external haemorrhoids.
While your symptoms may depend on whether you’re experiencing internal or external haemorrhoids, the most common signs of piles include pain or discomfort, swelling around the anus, rectal bleeding, itching or irritation in the area surrounding the anus, and even a haemorrhoid pushing through the anal opening.
Treatment for this type of anal disease includes stool softeners alongside dietary and lifestyle changes. Sometimes, doctors may recommend the removal of haemorrhoids through surgery.
Characterised by the formation of an abnormal and infected passage between the skin and the anus following the drainage of an abscess, anal fistulas are common following this process, regardless if it’s accidental or done by a doctor.
Usually caused by an infection or Crohn’s disease, symptoms of fistulas include pain, swelling, and the discharge of blood and pus. This type of anal disease is usually treated through surgery.
Anal abscesses refer to the collection of pus-filled growths near the anus. Usually the result of an infection, these often develop in the form of boils near the anus or in deeper tissue inside the anus.
These are treated either through drainage or surgical incision. While this is generally not a complicated procedure, the drainage of anal abscesses can lead to anal fistulas.
Symptoms include pain and swelling, a throbbing sensation in the anus, the discharge of pus, irritation of the skin around the anus, and constipation. Deeper abscesses may also cause chills, malaise, and fever.
Another one of the main kinds of anal diseases is a rectal prolapse. This is what happens when the rectum turns inside-out and comes out through the anus. Women are more likely to experience this condition compared to men.
If you experience rectal prolapse, you may feel pain and discomfort originating from your lower abdomen, blood and mucus from the anus, constipation, protrusion of the rectum through the anus, leakage of faeces, and the inability to control bowel movements.
This is usually rectified through surgery, diet and lifestyle changes, and other medical procedures.
Whether you’re experiencing any one of the anal diseases listed above or anything else, receiving treatment for these conditions are key to living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
By consulting gastroenterologists with experience and knowledge in this area, reduce your pain and discomfort as far as possible. For more information on the treatment of anal diseases, speak to Dr Suhirdan Vivekanandarajah, a leading interventional gastroenterologist and hepatologist in Sydney.
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