Problems with your digestive system can cause serious discomfort and disrupt normal day to day life activities. The underlying causes of these painful symptoms can be difficult to diagnosis. Two common digestive diseases include colon cancer and ,the less serious, diverticulitis. Each have unique symptoms and very different treatment paths.
Down Low On Diverticulitis
Diverticulitis is an common digestive disease that is caused when small pouches form on the intestinal lining. Small pieces of feces become trapped in these pouches and cause irritation and infection in the intestines. This disease is typically caused in the large intestine but can, on rare occasions, occur in the small intestine as well.
The symptoms of diverticulitis are mostly in the lower abdomen and include a drastic change in bowel movements, nausea, fever, abdominal tenderness, pain in the lower abdomen, constipation, vomiting, and on some occasions, diarrhea. These symptoms can range in severity depending on how badly the infection has become.
The exact cause of this disease isn’t known but there are many factors that are believed to play a large role in the development. Diet is the number one cause that is thought to impact your likeliness of developing diverticulitis. Eating an excessive amount of processed foods puts great pressure on the colon, and could cause parts of it to weaken and give out, producing the sacs that are present with diverticulitis. Age is another risk factor for this disease, most cases occur in people 60 years of age and older. A lack of exercise is thought to be another factor in developing this disease.
If you believe you are suffering from diverticulitis there is a number of ways your doctor may test you for it. Blood and urine tests are often collected in order to determine if there is an infection present. A CT scan may also be performed in order to visually check for inflamed pouches in the intestines. They can also help to determine how severe an infection is.
Treatment depends largely on the severity of your case. In uncomplicated situations rest, antibiotics, and over the counter pain medications to help manage pain will usually do the trick. In very severe cases primary bowel resection surgery may be required. A surgeon goes in an removes the diseased portions of your intestines.
Important Facts About Colon Cancer
1. The Basics
Colon cancer is cancer of the lower digestive system and the large intestine. Most cases begin with adenomatous polyps, that are small non cancerous clumps of cells, that over time develop into cancer. This form of cancer is the third most common in men and fourth most common in women.
It is important that you if notice any of the signs of colon cancer that you see a doctor as soon as possible. The most common symptoms include general weakness, feeling like you can’t completely empty your bowels, rectal bleeding, a change in the consistency of stool, unexplained weight loss, constant abdominal discomfort, and changes in bowel habits. Most people show no symptoms in the early stages of colon cancer and symptoms vary greatly depending on the size of tumor that is present.
Colon cancer is most common in men over the age of 50 years old. However anyone can be affected with colon cancer regardless of age or sex. Having a family history of the disease also increases your risk of developing colon cancer. Another risk factor is being African-American, as they have a greater risk than people of other races.
The treatments that are available depend on what stage of cancer you have reached. Surgery is an option for early stages because the polpys may be able to be completely removed. If surgery is not successful in removing the tumors then chemotherapy or radiation may be necessary.
Differences Between Diverticulitis and Colon Cancer
Diverticulitis is caused by an infection of the intestines caused by small pouches that have formed on the intestinal lining. Colon cancer however is caused by small lumps that progress into cancerous tumors.
The treatment of colon cancer involves invasive surgeries and chemotherapy, which has very negative side effects. With diverticulitis 70 percent of cases can be cured with doctor prescribed antibiotics.
The severity of each of these disease are also very different. Cancer is a life threatening and non curable disease that has extreme effects on the entire body, it also has the potential of spreading to other parts of the digestive system and entire body. Diverticulitis can be cleared up with rest and is rarely life threatening.