Many people suffer from colon related health problems today. There are so many different types of colon (large intestine) problems it is hard to believe. Did you know that in 2005 in the United States of America, 72,007 men and 69,398 women were diagnosed with colorectal (colon) cancer? Shockingly, 26,781 men and 27,259 women died from colon cancer in that same year. Most people know someone close to them who has suffered from the disease or a similar illness. It has become an epidemic in our society.

It is very important to see a health care provider that can treat and diagnose these problems. But, first, how do you know if you have problems with your large intestine ? Here is a list of common disorders involving this critical internal organ.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a disorder that affects the GI tract; it is the most common colon health related problem that doctors see today. The cause is unknown and symptoms include bloating, gassiness, abdominal pain, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, constipation and blood in the stool. These symptoms tend to worsen during times of stress, bad diet and some sexual activities.

Treatment of IBS includes diet change, lifestyle change and sometimes medication. Staying away from certain foods can help avoid bloating and gassiness such as beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.

Another common treatment is the addition of fiber into the diet. It helps reduce the chances that the digestive tract will spasm as it digests food. Adding fiber to the diet also helps with regular bowel movements and reduces the chance of constipation.

Stress also causes flare ups of IBS to occur. By regularly exercising and eating a well balanced diet, you can reduce some stress and other problems associated with the illness.

Smoking can also worsen symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and some food can make IBS worse.

Constipation

It is important to understand that constipation is not a disease, it is a symptom. Constipation occurs when a stool is hardened because it doesn't contain enough water. This condition is hardened stools and can also mean difficulty passing said stool. Many people today suffer from this colon related health problem, but it can be treated.

A person with a blockage will experience less bowel movements; usually it will be from three movements a day to three movements a week. If the bowels are not moved for three straight days, there may be pain and difficulty when defecating.

There are many causes of constipation such as not eating enough fiber, some medications, being pregnant, IBS, ignoring the desire to make a bowel movement, and using laxatives too much.

There are many ways to prevent and alleviate this ailment, including eating more fiber (try flaxseeds, rice bran, oat bran, beans, peas, apples, pears, blueberries), regular exercise, drinking lots of fluids most importantly water, avoid using over the counter laxatives and going to the bathroom the same time each day.

There are also many types of colon cleansing products available that you can search for online or at your health food store. Having an enema will clear out the bowels and allow for feces to pass more easily. Enemas can be purchased over the counter and work by inserting a tube into the rectum and flowing water into the bowel. The water is then retained for a period of about ten minutes and then released.

Another colon cleansing choice is a colonic irrigation. A doctor or practitioner performs the colonic; the patient will lie on a table and have a tube inserted into the rectum allowing water to flow in and out of the bowel taking the waste out of the colon. Colonics are generally more comfortable than using an enema.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is the frequent passage of loose watery stools accompanied by bloating and gas. Diarrhea is also a symptom and not a disease although related complications can often cause severe illnesses. The most severe problem caused by diarrhea is dehydration, since stools are commonly watery; it causes the body to lose too much water. Diarrhea is often accompanied by vomiting which also causes the body to lose water.

Diarrhea can be brought on by a number of things such as, viral infections, bacterial infections, and IBS.

This annoying malady usually goes away within two to three days without medical treatment. Many people can treat it at home by drinking plenty of water and eating normally. Some medications can be used to treat diarrhea such as loperamide and some antibiotics.

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis is basically inflammation of the colon. There are many different causes of colitis including poor blood flow, infections and autoimmune reactions. Viruses and bacteria are the cause of many different types of intestinal infections. Most come from food poisoning, E coli, shigella, and salmonella can cause colitis.

Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, blood in the stool, a consistent urge to have a bowel movement, often constant pain, fever and chills.

Treatment for colitis includes antibiotics, intravenous fluids, and a combination of medications that are given to the patient and then monitored for a period of time.

Crohn's disease

Crohn's disease affects around 500,000 people in the United States today. Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease or IBD; it causes inflammation and swelling in the digestive tract. It usually affects the small intestine and parts of the colon and is often mistaken for other colon disorders such as ulcerative colitis, IBD, and diverticulitis.

Symptoms of Crohn's illness include persistent diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps and fatigue. There is no cure, but there are many treatments available to help manage the disease and keep symptoms from returning for a long period of time. Treatments include aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, immune modifiers, biologic therapies, and antibiotics.

Some people suffering from the disorder may even have to have surgery at some point in their lives. Surgery can clear the intestinal blockage, treat symptoms medication couldn't, and repair the damage to the intestines.

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal (Colon) cancer occurs when tumors form on the large intestine and or the rectum. Sometimes benign tumors called polyps form inside the intestine, while malignant tumors in the large intestine are called cancers. Benign polyps can be removed during a colonoscopy and they are not life threatening. If polyps are not removed, malignant cancers can form over time.

Colorectal cancer can be inherited or caused by a high fat diet, the presence of polyps in the intestine and chronic ulcerative colitis. As you may already know, it is fatal in some cases, but sometimes can be treated.

Surgery is the most common treatment for this intestinal cancer. During the operation, the tumor is removed. The patient is then watched and tested to make sure that the cancer hasn't spread to any other organs, but if it has, more surgery may be required and, or, chemotherapy will be administered.

Colon cancer is the most fatal of all colon health related problems. That is why it is so important to take care of yourself by eating a well balanced diet, exercising regularly, and reporting any abnormality to your doctor.

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