Digestive System & Disorders
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Health Topics

List of Pictures

Digestive System
IBS Symptoms
Crohn's Disease
Ulcerative Colon
Diverticular Disease
Colon Polyps
Colon Cancer


Diagram of the digestive system



IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME


Visual Image of Digestive Tract

SYMPTOMS



Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

The exact definition of IBS can vary from one expert to another. It is a chronic (ongoing) condition which affects the large intestine. It is characterized by constant cramps and abdominal pain and a combination of diarrhea and constipation. Food moves too quickly or too slowly through the intestines for those with IBS. Bowel movements may contain mucus, or appear watery or resemble pellets. People with this condition also report gas, bloating, heartburn and indigestion.


CROHNS DISEASE


Picture of inflamed colon with Crohn's disease.

Half a million people in the United States have Crohn's disease. It is a form of irritable bowel disease and causes lower abdomen pain. Unlike ulcerative colitis, this disease can cause inflammation anywhere along the digestive tract, from the anus to the mouth. Depending on the development of the disease, treatment ranges from over the counter antidiarrheal pills to colostomy surgery.


ULCERATIVE COLON



Ulcerative colitis is a serious form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and occurs just as often in men as women. A common characteristic is blood filled or pus covered diarrhea. It occurs when the colon becomes red and swollen. Symptoms come and go; an attack may last a few weeks or several months. These occurrences are called flare-ups and may be accompanied by fever, lack of appetite, fatigue, cramping, nausea and vomiting. It is normally treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and dietary changes. If symptoms persist it may be necessary to remove part of the colon.


DIVERTICULAR DISEASE

Diverticular disease typically affects more men than women and more commonly those over the age of 40. It is a disease which affects the lining of the large intestine and is caused by the infection or rupturing of diverticula (small pouches which form along the digestive tract, usually the colon). Symptoms include severe abdominal pain, usually on the lower left side or just above the pubic area. Also, fever, constipation or diarrhea, nausea and possibly blood in the stool, lack of appetite and vomiting.





View of the colon by endoscope. The colon is affected by diverticular disease. It causes brown sacs to form which protrude from the colon wall.

COLON POLYPS



Large colon polyps

Colon polyps are growths on the surface of the colon. Sometimes more than one growth can appear. They are usually detected when they cause visible blood in stools or when they cause stools to test positive for 'occult' (hidden) blood in a routine screening. When detected they should be evaluated as a small proportion can become cancerous. Most polyps can be removed with a colonoscopy. However, as they can grow back, an annual stool test should be carried out.



Smaller colon polyp

COLON CANCER


Colon cancer stages

 

 


View of colon with advanced cancer

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