There are several medical specialties and, therefore, it is normal that some are better known than others. There are professionals who are visited more often (such as general practitioner, pediatrician and gynecologist), but for care in more specific areas of the body, specialists are still unknown to people.
As is the case with the proctologist. This professional is specialized in the care and study of diseases of the colon, rectum and anus. Many people only discover its existence when they are faced with a problem, but a regular visit to this specialist helps to prevent more serious diseases, such as cancer.
Thinking about it, we created this post to explain a little more about this specialty and when to look for a proctologist.
What is it and what does this professional do?
Also known as a coloproctologist, this is the medical training that studies diseases of the intestine (colon), rectum and anus. To graduate in this specialty, it is necessary for the doctor to specialize first in general surgery and, later, in proctology, making him a professional indicated for consultations, exams and surgeries.
It is common for people to see a gastroenterologist or general practitioner when faced with bowel problems, but the proctologist is the specialist in the field. The diseases in the intestine, rectum or anus that are most often treated by it are:
- anal fissures;
- hemorrhoids and anal incontinence;
- Crohn’s disease;
- intestinal infections;
- cancer in the large intestine and rectum;
- inflammations such as rectocolitis and diverticulitis;
- diarrhea or chronic colds;
- benign tumors;
- irritable bowel syndrome;
- sexually transmitted diseases in the rectum or anus.
The area of proctology has evolved considerably and today the necessary procedures are considered minimally invasive, with the use of technologies.
Which exams can be ordered?
As we explained, the proctologist studies the areas of the intestine, rectum and anus. To identify diseases and other problems that may arise, tests are performed, usually in the office itself. It is common for many patients to be afraid, but currently, tests are done quickly and without discomfort.
The best known is digital rectal examination, which serves to assist in the identification of prostate cancer . But in addition, it also helps to diagnose any problems or diseases in the rectum and anus. This analysis can be performed with specific devices for this – such as the rectosigmodoscope and the anoscope .
Another exam requested by the proctologist is videocolonoscopy. In it, a very thin tube, with a camera at the end, is inserted into the patient’s anus, to analyze the intestine from the inside.
When to look for a proctologist?
As with other medical specialties, consultation with the proctologist should be done periodically in a preventive manner. But if you feel any discomfort or discomfort in the area of the intestines, rectum or anus, the search for the doctor should be immediate.
Anyone suffering from hemorrhoids should also contact the doctor because, currently, there are already procedures that solve the problem permanently.
There are some other cases in which the proctologist search is recommended:
- intestinal constipation;
- difficulty to evacuate;
- anal bleeding;
- persistent diarrhea for more than 3 weeks;
- changes in bowel function;
- cramps and frequent pain in the abdominal region;
- family history of anal or rectal cancer.
It is important to see a specialist right at the beginning of the symptoms, after all, however much it seems a simple problem, it can progress to a more serious disease. Most colorectal diseases are treated or cured, and early diagnosis is essential to increase the chances and avoid possible complications.
During the consultation, the ideal is to inform the doctor of the symptoms and family history. In this way, the specialist gets an overview of the problem and can request the appropriate tests for diagnosis.
What treatments exist?
As mentioned above, currently, the procedures performed in the colorectal area are minimally invasive. Treatments for diseases are developed based on the analysis of each case and may include medication or surgery. The operation for the treatment of hemorrhoids, for example, is very invasive – known as THD (Transanal Hemorrhoidal Dearterialization), it significantly decreases postoperative pain and discomfort and recovery.
Another surgical procedure that is minimally invasive is laparoscopic surgery, very indicated for the treatment of intestinal diseases. For this, a single cut is made in the umbilical region, thus giving advantages in faster recovery, in addition to assisting in the aesthetic part.
What is the importance of the proctologist?
Like any other medical specialty, the proctologist is extremely important to study and treat diseases, in addition to offering greater well-being for patients. Even those who suffer from a simple constipation can benefit from a consultation, after all, it is possible to discover the cause of the problem and find solutions.
Many people feel ashamed or afraid to consult with the proctologist, but as in any other area of health, the professional will never judge or despise the patient’s illness. Discovering an illness early helps to avoid problems and complications, in addition to providing a better quality of life.
How can this professional help prevent cancer?
It is always good to remember that the best treatment for any disease is prevention – and cancer is the greatest example of that phrase. In the case of colon or rectal cancer , the periodic visit to the proctologist can assist in prevention and early detection, increasing the chance of cure.
Consultation with the proctologist should take place periodically, especially for people with a family history of bowel and rectal cancer. People over 50 years old must have a complete check-up annually in a preventive manner. Another way to prevent cancer is to see the specialist whenever you feel any discomfort in the anus area. In addition, maintaining good habits (such as physical activity and good nutrition) are essential to staying healthy.
Follow-up with the proctologist is essential to maintain quality of life and prevent more serious diseases, such as cancer and Crohn’s disease. Always look for a specialist when symptoms start, so that you can be treated quickly and without complications.