The Most Commonly Encountered Conditions

Include irritable bowel syndrome (abdominal discomfort, bloating, alternating constipation and diarrhoea), anal conditions such as rectal bleeding (blood arising from the back passage), and painful conditions of the anus including haemorrhoids (piles), fissures, fistulae and pruritus ani (significant itching of the anus). The methods of investigation used are relatively non-invasive techniques such as endoscopy – a telescope test of the stomach, useful for indigestion, heartburn and abdominal pain, and colonoscopy – a telescope test of the back passage particularly useful for rectal bleeding, diarrhoea and constipation. Colonoscopy can rapidly identify a cause and potentially treat it. Rectal bleeding, for example, may be attributable to haemorrhoids, meaning that a painless injection or the application of a band can reduce the frequency of bleeding episodes. Colonoscopy is also a means of identifying early colonic disease, which is particularly relevant in the context of a family history of colonic problems, in particular colon cancer


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