Colorectal conditions can be minor – abdominal pain or constipation – or severe – Crohn's disease or colorectal cancer. Any condition that affects your colon or rectum is a colorectal condition. Our gastroenterology specialists are experienced in treating every colorectal condition.
Some colorectal conditions include:
- Abdominal pain – Can be caused by something as simple as gas or can be a sign of a serious condition.
- Celiac disease (celiac sprue) – Caused by an immune system reaction to gluten, resulting in inflammation of the small intestine.
- Colorectal cancer – Cancer that occurs in your large intestine or rectum (connects your colon to your anus) is referred to as colorectal cancer. Often starts as noncancerous polyps that, over time, turn cancerous. Screening to detect polyps (and cancer) and remove them is important for cancer prevention. Learn more about Aurora's colorectal cancer program.
- Constipation – A common condition when stools become hard, dry and difficult to pass.
- Crohn's disease – An incurable inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) [Link to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)] that causes the lining of your digestive tract to become inflamed, resulting in diarrhea and stomach pain.
- Diarrhea – A common condition when stool becomes more frequent than normal and loose and liquid-like.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – Conditions that cause the digestive tract to become inflamed, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – Condition that affects your colon and can cause pain, constipation and/or diarrhea.
- Ulcerative colitis – An incurable inflammatory bowel disease that causes the innermost lining of your colon and rectum to become inflamed, resulting in severe diarrhea and stomach pain.
Your colon and rectum are parts of your digestive system, which turns the food you eat into energy and prepares the rest as waste to exit from your body.
Your colon (large intestine) is about six feet long. It is a muscular tube that connects your small intestine to your rectum. When your body has digested food, the waste that is left over goes through your colon, where it then moves to your rectum, which connects your colon to your anus. The colon's main function is to process waste in preparation for bowel movements. Waste moves from your colon to the rectum, where it stays until you have a bowel movement.
You might feel embarrassed to talk to your doctor about colorectal problems. Don't be. Your doctor is just as used to talking to patients about colon and rectal problems as about esophagus and stomach problems. The most important thing is to tell your doctor when you notice anything about your health that doesn't seem right. If you have a problem, the sooner it is diagnosed, the sooner you can have treatment to help you feel better.