What is a proctologist?
A proctologist is a surgeon who deals with the structure and diseases of the anus, rectum, and sigmoid colon. Instrumental examinations such as the anoscopy and rectoscopy (the former is for examining the rectal opening and the anal canal up to 10 cm while the latter, fitted with a light at the end, is used to reach into the canal up to 20-25 cm) and the surgical treatment of bleeding or painful clotted hemorrhoids as well as anal fissures are part of proctology.
What constitutes a rectal examination?
Rectal examination is a screening examination performed without an instrument. First, the doctor looks for any external hemorrhoids and skin alterations then, with gloves and a lubricant, palpates all around the inner surface of the rectum with a finger looking for foreign growths or tumors since statistically most of the rectal tumors are found in the area reachable with a finger. Patients with internal hemorrhoids should in these instances be referred to a proctologist since they also provide important information and need to be treated. Furthermore, the texture and consistency of the faeces and possible traces of blood (red, undigested, black, digested) left on the gloves indicate the necessity of further examinations.
When should a proctologist be consulted?
You should consult a proctologist whenever you feel any discomfort, pain, stinging or itching in the rectal area and consult immediately if you notice fresh red blood or mucous in the stool or on the toilet paper (rectal cancer is usually painless with bloody, mucous stools as the first symptoms). If colon cancer is found in your family medical history and you are over 40 years of age, yearly screening is advised, otherwise, when you are over 45 years of age.
Can I eat on the day of my proctological examination? Do I need an enema or a purgative before?
Make sure that your bowels move a couple of hours prior to the examination. No enema or purgative is necessary.
Will I need to stay in bed after the proctological intervention or will I be able to work the following day?
As an outpatient, you will not be required to stay in bed; however, we do recommend that you not sit for an extended period of time either on the day of the intervention or the day after.