Anorectal disease is an umbrella term used to describe conditions of the anus or rectum. Plenty of conditions fall under this category, but the most common ones treated by the physicians at West Valley Colon & Rectal Surgery Center are hemorrhoids, bowel incontinence, anal abscesses, and anal fissures. Fortunately, these conditions can be preventable. Knowing the prevention methods can be very important if you have a family history of these conditions or are at risk of developing them.
Risk factors: pregnancy, obesity, sitting for long periods of time, and alcoholism.
Prevention: One of the best ways to avoid hemorrhoids is to consume a high-fiber diet. Our physicians suggest integrating plenty of whole grains and vegetables into your meals to make sure you get your daily intake of fiber. Fiber drink blends, fiber bars, and dietary supplements may also help patients get the fiber they need. If you have to sit for many hours at a time, always remember to get up and stretch every once in a while. By doing these activities each day, you may be able to prevent symptoms of bleeding and swelling around the anus – all signs of hemorrhoids!
Risk factors: Muscle damage, childbirth, nerve damage, chronic constipation, or surgery.
Prevention: Bowel incontinence is common for women who have recently given birth. To prevent bowel incontinence, our physicians suggest pelvic floor training (Kegel exercises) in order to regain strength in the muscles. Men and women who have recently had surgery may be able to prevent bowel incontinence with this method as well. Studies have shown that losing weight and exercising regularly can reduce the risk of developing bowel incontinence later in life.
Risk factors: having an inflammatory bowel condition, participating in anal sex, having a sexually transmitted infection, or taking certain medications.
Prevention: It can be difficult to prevent an anal abscess, especially because underlying conditions like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis may not preventable. However, there are a few ways patients can reduce their risk of having an infection that could lead to an abscess. For example, patients should always use protection during anal intercourse. This is very important because it can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections and possibly prevent tears along the anus.
Risk factors: childbirth, constipation, inflammation of the anorectal area, and aging.
Prevention: Anal fissures can actually be very easy to prevent. Anal fissures are tears around the anus, so you can prevent these tears from happening by not straining during bowel movements. One of the best ways to do this is to eat a high-fiber diet, drink plenty of fluid, and exercise. This can allow you to experience bowel movements that are softer and easier to pass. That way, you don’t have to strain and you reduce your risk of constipation.
If you feel you are at risk of an anorectal disease or any other condition of the colon and rectum, please do not hesitate to speak to one of our physicians! They can give you more prevention tips and evaluate your risk in order to make sure you steer clear of any of these conditions.
If you have any questions or wish to make an appointment, please call our office at (623) 875-7330. Thank you again for visiting our weekly blog. In future weeks, you can expect patient education, colon, and rectal educational information, and lifestyle blogs, so check back soon!
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.