What is Proctology?
Proctology is that arm of general surgery that deals with the examination and treatment of the rectum including diseases such as hemorrhoids, inflammations, benign and malignant tumors, disorders, unpleasant skin ruptures, asymptomatic rectal cancer and several others.
Frequency of Occurrences, Complaints, Examinations
During our younger years, we generally go to a proctologist only for harmless, trivial and easily treatable inflammations. Close to 30% of pregnant women, men and women over the age of 40 years suffer ever more frequently and about 40% of the 50-60 year-old population suffer from hemorrhoids requiring consultation with a proctologist.-surgeon. At the beginning, it is problem free and asymptomatic, the so-called Level 1 hemorrhoid, progressing to later signal its presence as blood in the stool.
Many struggle with constipation and with the resulting inflammation and the very painful anal ruptures.
The doctor should always be mindful of the fact that behind every patient’s complaints there might be a malignant tumor with, unfortunately, the principal candidate being rectal cancer silently developing over many months or even years without causing any complaints. To this end, screening examinations are performed.
A proctological examination includes discussion of complaints, a physical examination followed by instrumental diagnostics and gastroscopy. The gastroscopy is performed using up-to-date techniques, is painless, lasts but a few minutes and indicates the exact source of the complaints.
The feeling of shame and prudeness has, in general, been vanquished in gynecology and urology; however, in the area of proctology that deals with hemorrhoids and rectal tumors and other related diseases, there is still much work to be done in this regard. It is important that the patient have a positive and open mind when confronting these problems.
Colorectal screening examinations, as well as the network of proctological practices set up to discover the source of a problem and its treatment are there for all for the prevention of serious diseases for all. Let us not forget that it is easier to use suppositories for two weeks than to have to worry about the date of surgery.
Normally, the anal opening is surrounded by microscopic and thicker veins embedded in loose connective tissue. These small pads also play a part in the closing function. If, for any reason, the pressure in any one of these veins surrounding the anus changes, the size of the arteries will increase causing the veins to dilate with inflammatory reaction possibly developing in the surrounding loose connective tissue. Not even the surface mucous membrane covering can be protected from this process with bleeding occurring following slight mechanical pressure, such as during bowel elimination.
External and Internal Hemorrhoids
The external node is easily observed and palpated and is usually preceded by heavy physical labor or serious constipation. Since the area is rich in sensory nerves, it may also be very painful. The disorder can usually be treated conservatively with medication with surgery required only in rare advanced cases.
Since it develops in the upper region of the rectal canal, the internal hemorrhoid cannot be seen and with no sensory nerves, it is not painful. At the onset, fresh red blood appears signaling its presence. If the disease is neglected, it will grow until the patient notices the projection of a small knot that is spontaneously withdrawn. In the advanced stage, the node will not withdraw back to its original position, is incarcerated and is accompanied by serious inflammation with hospital care unavoidable.
It is important to know that the hemorrhoid can be treated with medication during the early stages be it exterior or interior. As early as the turn of the century, books on medicines offered recommendations, suppositories using a combination of well-proven active agents were manufactured and more up-to-date anti-inflammatories and mucous membrane strengtheners were put on the pharmacy’s palette in ever increasing numbers.
Nowadays, instead of the earlier magistral suppositories, the easier accessible manufactured products are gaining ground. The active agents have also been changing to other more complex active mechanisms. Suppositories and creams effective through and strengthening the immune system have been produced and are also available in Hungary. In addition to the medication therapy, dietary and life style recommendations should be followed.
Hemorrhoids are Treatable Easily and Well
Should the medication therapy not be entirely successful, surgery can still be avoided. The ligature rubber ring, a painless procedure, may be performed as an outpatient. Another method, though performed more seldom, is sclerotherapy and, in cases of smaller hemorrhoids, infrared coagulation and laser treatments are still other possibilities.