Woodlands HospitalMorton Park, Darlington, County Durham, DL1 4PL Directions
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Diagnosis and treatment for bowel conditions
These symptoms can often overlap, and can be related to a number of different bowel conditions. Alongside feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable, they can seriously get you down, contributing to anxiety and low self-esteem.
When these symptoms start to interfere with your normal daily routine, you’ll want treatment fast, and a clear route to recovery.
For an accurate diagnosis from one of our experienced consultants, why not book an appointment today? Our consultants can get you on the right track with a personalised treatment plan to help bring you relief without delay.
Our consultants have a wide array of expertise in treating these conditions, and many patients won’t require surgery in order to recover. Certain changes to lifestyle may be advised, ensuring you have a balanced diet and exercise regime. Reducing stress can sometimes help alleviate symptoms too.
Bowel cancer tends to be referred to our fantastic Oncology team, who can get you started on the appropriate treatment as soon as possible.
Inflammatory bowel conditions such as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease are often managed with medication, which can be prescribed by your consultant and picked up at our dedicated on-site pharmacy (open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm). Serious cases may need surgery to remove part of the affected bowel, but this is usually a last resort.
Fissures and fistulas are small and painful conditions of the anus, often requiring surgery, although fissures can sometimes recover with ointments and medication. Depending on the severity of the condition, some can be rectified during diagnostic procedures, such as polyps during a colonoscopy, as detailed below.
They will also perform a physical examination, looking at any physical symptoms you have described, and then outline any necessary scans or tests that may be useful in making a diagnosis.
Typically, your consultant will want to investigate the bowel if you have been experiencing rectal bleeding or a change in bowel habits. This is done as an endoscopic procedure, where a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera attached to one end is passed into the body to allow your consultant to visualise and assess the affected organs. Two types of endoscopic tests are normally used in diagnosis:
Colonoscopy enables your consultant to visualise the whole of the bowel, and the endoscope is introduced via the anus. This is normally done under a mild sedation, so patients will need someone to bring them and take them home again afterwards. Bowel preparation is required beforehand, usually in the form of a strong laxative the day before your procedure, and this can be discussed at your initial consultation.
Flexible Sigmoidoscopy is a more straightforward procedure which looks at the left side of the bowel, and is specifically used for patients who have been experiencing rectal bleeding. Patients can normally get themselves here and back on their own without concern. Again, the endoscope is passed through the anus to allow your consultant to see the lower part of your bowel. This is especially effective in looking at haemorrhoids/piles, and these can often be treated at the same time by applying some rubber bands to the piles so they shrivel up and fall off.
As well as locating the source of your symptoms, these procedures help to rule out other more serious concerns, such as bowel cancer.
Your consultant will see you again after the procedure to talk about the diagnosis if it is clear, or make plans for further diagnostic tests and next steps if not. In the case of something simple like piles, your consultant will discuss a definitive procedure with you to sort them out.
Ultrasound and MRI scanners are available at our on-site Imaging Unit, should they be needed. Patients suffering from fistulas sometimes require an MRI, and our Radiology team can work in tandem with our colorectal consultants to make an accurate diagnosis.
Whatever your condition, your consultant will produce an informed treatment plan, personalised for your needs.
If you have a pre-existing bowel condition that needs managing, like Crohn’s Disease, or you’ve experienced symptoms such as abdominal pains and a change in bowel habits, call our friendly reception team today to book a consultation. Our consultants can organise the necessary diagnostic tests to investigate your symptoms, and outline all treatment options for you promptly, arranging any further scans or surgery if required. For peace of mind and expert care, please contact Woodlands to book an appointment now.