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Diverticular Disease

Definition
Diverticular disease is a chronic condition that causes small, bulging sacs to develop within the digestive tract (colon). There are many medical terms used to describe diverticular disease such as diverticulosis and diverticulitis. Although similar, these two medical terms do not define the actual disease. Diverticulosis refers to having individual sacs or pouches within the colon that cause no symptoms, whereas diverticulitis is inflammation or infection of one or more sacs (diverticula) within the colon.

Colonoscopy

Definition
A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that uses a thin, flexible tube to examine parts of the colon or rectum. This minimally invasive procedure may be performed in conjunction with biopsies or endoscopic resections. Colonoscopies are typically recommended for patients over the age of 50 or individuals with a family history of colon or rectal cancer. A colonoscopy may also be administered if a patient is experiencing changes in his or her bowel habits or is experiencing unexplained abdominal issues.

Bowel Incontinence

Definition
Bowel incontinence, also known as fecal incontinence, describes the inability to control various bowel movements, including flatulence (gas) or stool. This condition can be a spectrum of diseases ranging from mild difficulties controlling gas to experiencing severe problems such as complete loss of control over liquid or formed stools. According to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, approximately 2% of American women are affected by this condition.

Anal Warts

Definition
Anal warts are small or large growths located around or inside the anus. Occasionally, anal warts will develop on the skin surrounding the genital area. Most anal warts are flesh-toned or brown in color and do not usually produce pain or discomfort. However, there are instances where anal warts lead to symptoms of pain, bleeding, or a mucus discharge.

Anal Fissure

Definition
An anal fissure is a small tear in the thin lining of tissue (mucosa) around the anus. Although common in young infants, anal fissures can occur in individuals of any age. In fact, anal fissures are a relatively common occurrence, with most fissures being the result of a hard or large bowel movement. While most anal fissures heal within four to six weeks, complications can arise. Medical attention should be sought if an anal fissure fails to heal, recurs, or extends to surrounding muscles.

Anal Cancer

Definition
Anal cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow within the anus or anal canal and form a benign or malignant tumor. Squamous cell carcinoma, which includes basaloid, epidermoid, cloacogenic, or mucoepidermoid, is a common form of anal cancer. Rare types of anal cancer often include gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) and melanoma. Depending on the cancer’s severity level or progression, a combination of treatment options may be considered to successfully manage or treat anal cancer.

Anal and Rectal Abscess

Definition
An anal abscess, also known as a rectal abscess, is an infected pustule located near the anus or rectum. Most anal abscesses are the result of glands within the anal canal becoming clogged, allowing bacteria or fecal matter to accumulate and infect the gland. This infection becomes a pus-filled cavity called an abscess. Patients with an anal or rectal abscess may eventually develop an anal fistula, which is an infected tunnel that forms between the anal canal and the skin near the anus.