Colon Diseases & Conditions
The colon, also known as the large intestine, is in the lower part of the digestive tract. The intestines consist of the small and large sections and rectum. It is the last part of the journey for digestion and where the major portion of nutrients are absorbed into the body. From there, waste moves into the rectum and is released.
At times, diseases and conditions can occur in this vital organ, including colon cancer and benign growths, infection or trauma, bowel obstruction, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis and ulcerative colitis. Some of these conditions can be treated with medications and dietary modifications, but in some cases, surgery to remove part of the colon is medically necessary.
Common symptoms suggestive of lower digestive conditions:
- Blood Loss Observed through Bowel Movements
- Pain and Discomfort with Elimination
- Abdominal or Rectal Pain/Bloating
- Weight Loss or Fatigue
- Change in Appetite
WakeMed offers minimally invasive testing and laparoscopic surgeries that can help diagnose, repair and treat common colon disorders, including:
- Colon Cancer or Growths
- Bowel Obstructions
- Crohn’s Disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
The gold standard in viewing, diagnosing and treating the colon is lower endoscopy or colonoscopy. This test is used when symptoms related to the lower digestive tract are not successfully treated with medications or dietary modifications. The test, which is performed as an outpatient, clearly shows the entire length of the colon and intestines, giving doctors invaluable information to diagnose and treat your condition.
A screening colonoscopy is recommended for asymptomatic adults over age 50. If you have a family history of colon cancer and other risks, your physician may recommend having this lifesaving exam at an earlier age and more frequently if polyps or pre-cancers are found.
Patients are lightly sedated prior to the procedure. In WakeMed’s endoscopy suite, the doctor will insert a thin, flexible endoscope that will travel throughout the colon and intestines, showing inside the lower digestive tract. Gas is pumped into the colon to allow for a better view. If a polyp is found, the gastroenterologist can remove it for evaluation. If bleeding is found, the doctor can seal these areas.
Usually, your doctor will talk with you after the procedure to give you a preliminary report. You will spend about another hour or two recovering and then be discharged. You will not be allowed to drive yourself home or be alone for the next 24 hours. If biopsies are taken, it may be another week before you get full results of the study.
Learn what to expect from Lower Endoscopy/Colonoscopy