Are you experiencing pain that you believe is related to your colon? Colon pain, or any other abdominal pain that’s unexplained, should be investigated as it may be an indicator of a serious digestive disorder.
Colon pain can occur for many reasons but you should definitely seek medical attention to determine the cause as well as the potential treatment. The pain could be a symptom of a problem that could worsen if the warning signs are ignored, or it could be alerting you to a serious condition already present in your body. It’s a proven fact diseases are more likely to be treatable when they are detected early. Many people experiencing pain just expect it to go away eventually; but this could be a tragic mistake.
Your colon is an essential part of your digestive system that can affect your health positively or negatively depending upon how you care for this organ. Maintaining a lifestyle and diet conducive to good colon health is important but some factors, such as heredity, are not within your control. Having regular screenings when a high risk of colon cancer exists in your family can help detect problems early and may result in more effective treatment.
For example, a colonoscopy revealing polyps can lead to them being removed before they become cancerous. Dealing with problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome proactively can also result in an improved quality of life with fewer health problems. If you have a serious condition, early detection may help alleviate that condition or at least make colon pain more manageable for you.
Some colon related illnesses can be asymptomatic so you may not feel any pain at all. Any unexplained changes in your bowel habits or a sudden, unexpected weight loss should also be investigated. Several areas of the abdomen might be feeling pain concurrently but this may be unrelated to your colon. Pain in the upper left quadrant of the abdomen isn’t as common as pain on the right side or in the lower part and is usually suggestive of a colon, pancreatic, or spleen related issue.
A number of colon diseases exist. Here’s a brief overview of some of the more common ones:
Diverticulitis and Diverticulosis
Diverticulosis happens when pouches form in your colon. This can happen for a number of reasons such as pressure in the area from the natural aging process. It’s not as common for an individual under the age of forty to develop Diverticulosis as the higher demographic. Furthermore, Diverticulosis doesn’t always present pain but can lead to Diverticulitis—a condition occurring when those small pouches begin to rupture. Rupturing can occur from eating foods that are difficult to digest such as hard seeds like poppy, sesame, or even popcorn and this can lead to acute colon pain.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Constipation
While IBS and constipation are not considered life threatening, they can definitely diminish your quality of life. When your colon isn’t functioning at optimal levels, it can lead to either constipation or persistent diarrhea in the form of IBS. Both of these conditions can be painful. IBS can be a recurring problem but like constipation, it can often be alleviated with positive changes in diet and exercise.
Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. This is also one of the most treatable forms of cancer if detected early enough. A colonoscopy can reveal polyps, which may start out as benign growths but can develop into cancer over time. Removal of these polyps and careful screening thereafter can help prevent colon cancer.
If you have a family history of cancer, your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy for you a bit sooner than expected. If polyps are found, a biopsy is taken to determine whether they are benign or cancerous. The presence of polyps could necessitate regular colonoscopy procedures. When you need a colonoscopy, you’ll be given instructions for fasting and cleansing via laxatives prior to the procedure. But bear in mind—you don’t necessarily have to experience colon pain to be a candidate for colon cancer.
Crohn’s Disease & Colitis
Ulcerative Colitis is inflammation of your colon and can be quite painful when ulcers form on your colon and they begin to bleed and ooze. Your colon can become inflamed and result in abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
Crohn’s disease, on the other hand, is inflammation of the entire digestive tract—everything from your mouth to the other end. Crohn’s disease is a complex disorder with several unique types. If you suspect your colon pain could be related to any of these disorders, it’s important to seek immediate treatment from a qualified physician specializing in these conditions.
Pay Attention to Colon Pain
Colon pain could be a symptom of a serious disorder so it’s important to determine the cause. To keep your colon running efficiently, a healthful diet is very important. Eating high fiber foods can keep things moving along smoothly. If you suffer from recurrent constipation, you should look at increasing both your fiber and water intake for improved regularity. Habitual, easy bowel movements are a sign your colon is functioning normally. Talking to your doctor about any pain or unusual symptoms you are experiencing as well as making them aware of any family history of cancer can establish at what stage in your life you should receive colonoscopies. Your colon is an integral component for keeping you healthy; and any colon pain should be taken seriously.