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  • Ulcerative colitis


    Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a long-term condition that results in inflammation and ulcers of the colon and rectum. The primary symptoms of active disease are abdominal pain and diarrhea mixed with blood. Weight loss, fever, and anemia may also occur. Often, symptoms come on slowly and can range from mild to severe. Symptoms typically occur intermittently with periods of no symptoms between flares. Complications may include megacolon, inflammation of the eye, joints, or liver, and colon cancer. The cause of UC is unknown. Theories involve immune system dysfunction, genetics, changes in the normal gut bacteria, and environmental factors. Rates tend to be higher in the developed world with some proposing this to be the result of less exposure to intestinal infections, or to a Western diet and lifestyle. The removal of the appendix at an early age may be protective. Diagnosis is typically by colonoscopy with tissue biopsies. It is a kind of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) along with Crohn's disease and microscopic colitis. Dietary changes, such as maintaining a high-calorie diet or lactose-free diet, may improve symptoms. Several medications are used to treat symptoms and bring about and maintain remission, including aminosalicylates such as mesalazine or sulfasalazine, steroids, immunosuppressants such as azathioprine, and biologic therapy. Removal of the colon by surgery may be necessary if the disease is severe, does not respond to treatment, or if complications such as colon cancer develop. Removal of the colon and rectum can cure the disease. Together with Crohn's disease, about 11.2 million people were affected as of 2015. Each year it newly occurs in 1 to 20 per 100,000 people, and 5 to 500 per 100,000 individuals are affected. The disease is more common in North America and Europe than other regions. Often it begins in people aged 15 to 30 years, or among those over 60. Males and females appear to be affected in equal proportions. It has also become more common since the 1950s. Together, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease affect about a million people in the United States. With appropriate treatment the risk of death appears the same as that of the general population. The first description of ulcerative colitis occurred around the 1850s.

  • Diverticulosis


    Diverticulosis, 70 y.o, sigmoid colonDiverticulosis is the condition of having multiple pouches (diverticula) in the colon that are not inflamed. These are outpockets of the colonic mucosa and submucosa through weaknesses of muscle layers in the colon wall. They typically cause no symptoms. Diverticular disease occurs when diverticula become inflamed, known as diverticulitis, or bleed. They typically occur in the sigmoid colon, which is a common place for increased pressure. The left side of the colon is more commonly affected in the United States while the right side is more commonly affected in Asia. Diagnosis is often during routine colonoscopy or as an incidental finding during CT scan. It is common in Western countries with about half of those over the age of 60 in Canada and the United States affected. Diverticula are uncommon before the age of 40, and increase in incidence beyond that age. Rates are lower in Africa which has been attributed to a shorter life expectancy and poor healthcare access. However, earlier epidemiological studies by Burkitt suggested that the lower incidence of diverticulosis coli in Africa correlated with softer stools in native populations who consume a high-roughage diet in contrast with the refined, lower-roughage diet of Western populations.

  • Colonoscopy


    Colonoscopy () or coloscopy () is the endoscopic examination of the large bowel and the distal part of the small bowel with a CCD camera or a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube passed through the anus. It can provide a visual diagnosis (e.g., ulceration, polyps) and grants the opportunity for biopsy or removal of suspected colorectal cancer lesions. Colonoscopy can remove polyps as small as one millimeter or less. Once polyps are removed, they can be studied with the aid of a microscope to determine if they are precancerous or not. It can take up to 15 years for a polyp to turn cancerous. Colonoscopy is similar to sigmoidoscopy—the difference being related to which parts of the colon each can examine. A colonoscopy allows an examination of the entire colon (1200–1500 mm in length). A sigmoidoscopy allows an examination of the distal portion (about 600 mm) of the colon, which may be sufficient because benefits to cancer survival of colonoscopy have been limited to the detection of lesions in the distal portion of the colon. A sigmoidoscopy is often used as a screening procedure for a full colonoscopy, often done in conjunction with a fecal occult blood test (FOBT). About 5% of these screened patients are referred to colonoscopy. Virtual colonoscopy, which uses 2D and 3D imagery reconstructed from computed tomography (CT) scans or from nuclear magnetic resonance (MR) scans, is also possible, as a totally non-invasive medical test. Virtual colonoscopy does not allow therapeutic maneuvers such as polyp and tumour removal or biopsy, nor visualization of lesions smaller than 5 millimeters; if a growth or polyp is detected using CT colonography, it would require removal during a standard colonoscopy. Surgeons have used the term pouchoscopy to refer to a colonoscopy of the ileo-anal pouch.

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