The large intestine, which is also referred to as the colon, comprises the ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon, sigmoid colon, and rectum. While the small intestine plays an important role in the process of digestion and assimilation of nutrients, the large intestine plays an important role in the process of excretion. The main function of the large intestine is to absorb water from the indigestible food residue, and pass out the fecal matter from the body. If the large intestine is unable to perform its function, one is likely to get affected by health problems. Here are some medical conditions associated with the large intestine, that may cause pain in the lower abdominal region.
Conditions Associated with the Large Intestine
Certain medical conditions affecting the large intestine could give rise to lower abdominal pain. Pain might also be accompanied by other symptoms such as loss of appetite, changes in bowel movements, etc. Inflammatory bowel disease is often the reason behind intestinal problems that lead to pain. It is a group of inflammatory conditions namely, proctitis, Crohn's disease,and ulcerative colitis.
Proctitis is a medical condition involving the inflammation of the rectum. This disease is characterized by bloody and hard stool, accompanied by a frequent and constant urge to defecate, feeling of incomplete evacuation of the bowel, etc. Trauma, radiation, sexually transmitted diseases, and prolonged use of antibiotics can lead to proctitis.
Ulcerative colitis is a medical condition that causes inflammation which produces ulcers on the inner layers of the colon. Primary symptoms of this disease include chronic, bloody diarrhea that also contains mucus and pus, and is accompanied by weight loss and a loss of appetite. There are no recognized causes behind ulcerative colitis. It is also observed that this disease is predominantly found in Caucasians.
It is an inflammatory disease that could affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. This condition is accompanied by mild to severe abdominal pain, with bloody diarrhea in severe cases. Earlier thought to be an autoimmune disease, it is now perceived as an outcome of a weak immune system, hence, those people with a weak immune system are at risk.
Diverticulitis is an intestinal condition that is generally seen in the older population. More than 50% of people above the age of 60 may suffer from the disease. It refers to the inflammation of diverticula, which are small pouches that may protrude from the walls of the intestine. In severe cases, the affected person may experience pain along with rectal bleeding, which normally resolves on its own. It is thought to be caused by a diet that is insufficient in fiber, and can be diagnosed with the help of an abdominal ultrasound and a CT scan.
Intestinal polyps are abnormal growths that may develop on the surface of the large intestine. The most significant sign of intestinal polyps is rectal bleeding. These polyps may develop from a variety of reasons which may range from being 50 years and older, to having a high fat diet with low fiber. Intestinal polyps are also said to be hereditary and an annual diagnostic test is advised for people above the age of 50.
Colon cancer, appendicitis, and chronic constipation can also lead to unbearable abdominal pain. Many of the aforementioned conditions can be prevented if one follows a proper diet, and maintains a normal weight. Moreover, a medical expert must be consulted if one has been experiencing abdominal discomfort. Many of the above-mentioned large intestine problems are completely curable, when treated early on.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.