Who is a proctologist
A proctologist is a doctor who treats diseases of the lower digestive tract: the colon and rectum, anus, and pelvic floor. These specialists are also called coloproctologists or colorectal surgeons (from the words colon and rectum – large intestine and rectum).
Most often they are treated for diseases such as:
- anal fissure;
- bowel prolapse;
- fecal incontinence;
- colon polyps;
- inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis).
With what symptoms you need to make an appointment with a proctologist
Contact your doctor if you experience these symptoms :
- blood after a bowel movement on paper or in the toilet;
- pain in the anus;
- prolonged constipation or diarrhea;
- bloating and pain in the abdomen;
- fecal incontinence;
- unexplained fatigue and weight loss (combined with other symptoms).
How is an appointment with a proctologist
The first visit usually lasts longer than subsequent visits. First, the doctor will ask a lot of questions about complaints and lifestyle, and then conduct an examination. It may be enough just to feel the abdomen, maybe you need a rectal digital examination, or maybe both at once.
Rectal digital examination is a doctor’s feeling of the anus and lower part of the rectum. To do this, you need to undress below the waist, lie on the couch on your left side and pull your knees to your chest. A gloved doctor will insert a finger into the anus. It doesn’t hurt, but it can be uncomfortable. The doctor may ask you to squeeze the sphincter – the muscle around the anus – as if you are trying to keep the contents inside the intestine. This is necessary to assess the strength of the muscle.
Sometimes, after examining with a finger, the proctologist may insert a tube into the anus in order to better see the walls of the intestine and, if necessary, take a biopsy – pinch off a piece for analysis. It is also not painful and does not require anesthesia.
After the interview and examination, the doctor may order additional tests or studies, such as a colonoscopy, or immediately suggest treatment.
How to prepare for an appointment with a proctologist
Before the appointment, it is worth clarifying whether preparation will be needed. If there are no special instructions, then most likely it will not be needed.
If an inspection is planned
You do n’t need to do anything to test with your finger. If a more thorough examination with instruments is required, you will have to clean the intestines in advance, for example, using candles or microclysters.
If a colonoscopy is scheduled
But you need to carefully prepare for a colonoscopy : the cleaner the intestines, the more chances the doctor has to see a polyp or cancer. The proctologist himself will issue a detailed memo with recommendations, but usually you need something like the following:
- For three days, give up corn, nuts and seeds, red and blue fruits and vegetables.
- For two days, eat only low-fiber foods.
- Give up solid food and alcohol for a day.
- You can drink only clear liquids that do not stain the intestines – water, broths, apple and grape juice, tea and coffee. On the eve you need to drink as much as possible.
- At least 4 hours before you need to eat nothing, if general anesthesia – stop even earlier.
Also, the doctor will prescribe some kind of strong laxative on the eve of the colonoscopy. To make this cleaning easier, it is better to use wet toilet paper instead of regular one, lubricate the anus with Vaseline from irritation, and after finishing, sit in a warm bath for 10-15 minutes, blot the skin with a soft cloth and apply Vaseline again.
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