What is Proctology: Everything You Need to Know

Chances are you've come across the term Proctology, and you've obviously realized that it's a health condition, but you surely don't know the nitty gritty of this disease, and that's exactly what we will break down with today's article.

What is Proctology: Everything You Need to Know

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What is Proctology: Everything You Need to Know

We're sure that you've been hearing about conditions like hemorrhoids or piles quite often in recent weeks, and believe us, you're definitely not the only one on the list. 

Proctological diseases like fissures, anal fistula, pilonidal sinus diseases – and, most importantly, hemorrhoids – have taken center stage in health discussions and have become very common worldwide. 

So, for those who don't want to be overwhelmed with medical jargon, let's simplify things. 

Hemorrhoids are a medical condition where the anal opening gets blocked because the blood vessels in your anus decide to swell up.

Similarly to hemorrhoids, many conditions affect the lower digestive tract, such as abscesses and fistulae, fissures, constipation, IBD, polyps, etc. 

Now, you might be wondering who the right medical specialist to consult. Well, that's what we are here to tell you! 

The field is called proctology, and the specialists are proctologists. But hold on, if you think you've found all the answers in this article, gear up!

By the end of this post, you'll know exactly how to:

  • What is a proctologist
  • When should you consult a proctologist?
  • What are some of the most advanced proctology procedures and services?

Enough talks, let us dive deep into:

What is a proctologist?

In simple terms, a proctologist is a surgeon who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the rectum, anus, and various gastrointestinal tract conditions.

And if you want to stay up to date, you better refer to these specialists as "colorectal surgeons" or "colon and rectal surgeons.

What types of conditions do proctologists treat?

Now that we know what a proctologist is let us glance at the common conditions that proctologists treat. 

Abscesses and fistulae 

Abscesses and fistulas broadly constitute the typical infections near the anus and rectum. 

Abscesses refer to cavities filled with pus located near the anus or rectum. On the flip side, an anal fistula is a tunnel connecting the external anal/buttock skin to the internal anal canal area. Anal fistulas commonly develop a few weeks or months following abscess formation. Therefore, it is crucial to treat them both together.

Anal skin tags 

Anal skin tags are described as benign, non-cancerous growths of small skin bumps around the anus. They result from the excessive growth of skin in the anal area, typically having a darker hue than your skin. In some instances, these tags can cause itchiness or discomfort.

Fissures

Fissures are tiny tears that occur in the delicate, moist tissue and mucosa lining of the anus. These small tears typically lead to anal bleeding and discomfort during bowel movements, often caused by the passage of abnormally large or hard stools.

Constipation

Constipation is a medical condition characterized by having fewer than three bowel movements per week or experiencing highly difficult bowel movements. While constipation itself may not be a huge issue, it can suggest an underlying colorectal condition, especially if it happens regularly.

Hemorrhoids or piles 

Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are a prevalent condition resulting from the swelling or inflammation of veins around the rectum or anus, either internally or externally. This leads to occasional pain and bleeding. The primary cause of hemorrhoids is often attributed to factors such as excessive straining during bowel movements, pregnancy, or obesity.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) refers to the persistent inflammation of different segments of the digestive tract. It encompasses prevalent inflammatory disorders like ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Ulcerative colitis specifically impacts the colon, while Crohn's disease affects both the colon and the ileum.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) 

Irritable bowel syndrome, commonly known as IBS, encompasses a set of intestinal symptoms impacting the stomach, large intestine, and abdomen. Symptoms such as bloating, cramping, gas, constipation, and diarrhea are associated with IBS, and it is frequently a persistent, chronic condition.

Polyps 

Colorectal polyps refer to small clusters of cells or precancerous growths that develop along the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Although the majority of polyps are non-cancerous, they have the potential to transform into colorectal cancer. Research indicates that it typically takes nearly a decade for a polyp to progress into a cancerous state.

Rectal prolapse 

Rectal prolapse is a condition where the rectum shifts from its usual position in the pelvic area to protrude outside the anus. Typical symptoms of rectal prolapse include difficulties in controlling bowel movements and stool leakage. This condition often arises from weakening the muscles that support the rectum.

When should you consult with a proctologist?

Let's face it: The societal taboo surrounding colorectal conditions pushes patients to completely turn a blind eye to certain symptoms, and we totally get it. However, the list of potential health risks we covered earlier in this post should seriously make you rethink things.

In most cases, patients get referred to a proctologist by other doctors, but now that you have come across this post, you can recognize the symptoms and consult a proctologist near you very soon.

We know it can be embarrassing, but you have to be open with your proctologist and describe all the issues you are going through. Because sorry to tell you, if you hold back, the diagnosis process will drag on and would require more tests for the doctor to identify the actual nature of your condition. So, let's save time and get everything out from the beginning. 

Here are the main health conditions that require consulting an expert proctologist:

• Unusual or bloody discharge from the anus

• Difficulty controlling bowel movements, like fecal incontinence

• Uncomfortable sensations or pain around the anus or rectum

• Existence of warts, bumps, or foreign bodies near the anal area

• Presence of blood in stools

• Itching or burning sensation near the anal region

• Persistent constipation

 

Final Words

There you have it! And thus, we reach the end of our post of the day. 

But the truth is, we can keep saying the word "Proctology" as many times as we want, but it won't do much for you if you don't consult a specialist doctor when you start noticing the symptoms. 

So, if you don't overcome the taboo surrounding these diseases, your health condition can potentially worsen. 

If this isn't a cue for you to pay a visit to a proctologist today, we don't know what is!

Q&A Sessions with Al Siraj's

  • What is another name for a proctologist?

We can also refer to a proctologist as a colorectal surgeon, formerly, so if you have gone to see a proctologist for these conditions. "Colorectal surgeon" is the more up-to-date term for what's essentially the same specialty as a proctologist.

  • Why is it called proctology?

Similarly to most of the medical notions, the word proctology is derived from the Greek, and contains the words proktos, which means "anus" or "hindparts", and logia, which is known as "science". 

  • When should a man see a proctologist?

A proctology consultation should be necessary when a man experiences some health conditions such as rectal bleeding, alterations in bowel habits, anal pain, the presence of hemorrhoids or discharge, or detecting a lump.

  • Is a proctologist the same as a gastroenterologist?

Proctologists are typically consulted for complex issues in the lower digestive tract or when surgery is needed to treat the patient. It's important to note that proctologists and gastroenterologists differ despite both addressing gastrointestinal problems. Gastroenterologists are more specialized in diagnostic procedures.

  • What is the difference between a proctologist and a urologist?

The proctologist doctor sees pathologies that affect the colon, rectum and anus. While the urologist handles issues associated with the urinary system.

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