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Common Colorectal Health Issues

Joshua Nochumson, MD
Colorectal Surgery at Chilton

97 West Parkway, Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
Appointments: (973) 831-5063

The following is a list of some of the more common colorectal issues that I screen for, and/or treat:

Colon Cancer
Colon Cancer is a preventable cancer. Unfortunately half of all people eligible for screening don't get screened for cancer. This often results in unnecessary disease, even death. It's important to learn more about colon cancer, as it is a preventable illness. Routine screenings are essential in preventing this disease or detecting it at an early, more treatable stage. Colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy and/or a stool or blood test are the most common screening modalities. Screenings generally start at age 50. If you have a strong family history of colon cancer, then you're going to want to start earlier, depending on the age of the family member involved.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. It affects either the large intestine or the entire GI tract in the case of Crohn's disease. Medical treatments have improved over the past 10-15 years, but there is still occasionally a need for surgical treatment. Therefore, I offer a variety of minimally invasive surgical procedures and options for Crohn's disease, as well as for ulcerative colitis.

Rectal Bleeding
Rectal bleeding is very alarming to patients because they fear the worst: It can be a warning signal for cancer. Sometimes that is the case, but not always. Rectal bleeding almost always warrants an evaluation of the GI tract and common causes include hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, polyps and occasionally, cancer. Hemorrhoids are the most common reason people see me, often after attempts at self-treatment. It is often the case that most hemorrhoidal problems can be addressed without invasive procedures. Optimizing bowel function and eliminating straining are key to mitigating the effects of hemorrhoids, but occasionally, surgery or more limited procedures are useful adjuncts.

Anal Pain
This can be from a variety of things including hemorrhoids, but also fissures, fistulae, or infections. Anal pain requires a close examination in order to sort out the real cause so that it can be addressed effectively. Sometimes it requires a surgical procedure, but not always.

Constipation is a problem that people generally don't ignore and often gets worse over time. It warrants a full evaluation of dietary habits, activity, as well as colon evaluation to make sure that there's not a mechanical or anatomic cause. As is the case with many GI related problems, attention to diet, stool consistency and bowel hygiene habits can often lead to significant improvement with surgery reserved for the "worst" cases.

This is another embarrassing and debilitating problem that is often related to age. Incontinence is more common in women, often related to sphincter muscle injuries while in labor, which can worsen over the years. Incontinence can also accompany constipation (paradoxically) and colitis (inflammation of the colon or rectum). I initially treat incontinence conservatively, but sometimes we have to move on to surgical alternatives.

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