Dr Stephen White is able to help patients with treatments for a range of conditions affecting the anus, the colon and the rectum. The following is a list of the more common conditions treated by Dr White.
An abscess in or near the anus can develop where infection takes hold in small glands in this area. An anal abscess can be very painful.
Fissure literally means a rip or tear, and in the case of an anal fissure this is a tear in the lining of the anus. This condition can be very painful and can cause bleeding from the rectum.
A number of conditions can cause pain in or near the anus. It is important to have any pain checked by a medical professional, as rectal and anal cancer can cause this type of pain. Where the pain is present when having a bowel motion, the cause is very likely to be an anal fissure.
Colorectal (Bowel) Cancer
Bowel cancer is more common in older age groups, although it can affect any age group - 5 in 100 people will be affected by bowel cancer at some stage in Australia.
Colostomy and Ileostomy
Some procedures to treat conditions affecting the bowel may need to divert waste to a 'stoma', a form of medical pouch generally sited externally on the abdomen, where the waste is collected. This is sometimes a temporary and sometimes a permanent arrangement, depending on the condition being treated.
Many people who suffer constipation can relieve the condition by changing their diet and/or lifestyle, however in some cases constipation may indicate a more serious underlying condition, especially where there has been an overall change in bowel habits. In all cases it is advisable to see your doctor.
Crohn's Disease affects the gastrointestinal tract (in fact it can affect any section, although the small intestine and colon are the most commonly affected sections) and is often accompanied by stomach pain, weight loss and diarrhoea. It first appears mainly in younger people but can develop at any age.
This condition affects the lining of the bowel and is where very small indentations or 'pouches' form. It tends to develop in older patients and often is not accompanied by any symptoms. It generally only needs to be treated where symptoms have developed.
A situation where someone has difficulty controlling bowel motion is called faecal incontinence. Where this occurs, the cause must be identified - this involves a number of different tests. There are two main treatments for faecal incontinence - biofeedback and sacral nerve stimulation.
Occasionally an abnormal connection or 'tunnel' develops inside the body between two different parts - this is referred to as a fistula. An anal fistula is where this connection develops between the internal lining of the anus and the skin on the outside of the body. When this happens, it can be quite painful and sometimes causes pus and blood to be discharged from the opening on the skin and a painful lump can also appear. A fistula can generally only be treated by surgery.
Where blood vessels in / near the rectum become engorged or enlarged they are referred to as 'haemorrhoids'. In some cases, they cause pain and in other they do not. They often cause some bleeding from the anus and are generally more troublesome (and painful) if they prolapse, that is they 'stick out' from the anus.
Sometimes internal tissue or organs can push through the abdominal muscle wall, especially if there are any areas of weakness in the muscle wall. When this occurs, it is referred to as a hernia. Symptoms include a small swelling or bulge in the affected area and sometimes discomfort and/or pain in the area. Inguinal herniae (which affect the groin), umbilical herniae (which appear near or on the navel) and incisional herniae (which form along a surgical scar) are the most common types.
The word sinus refers to any cavity, or space, in the body. A pilonidal sinus is caused by a small space developing under the skin at the top of the cleft of the buttocks, caused in turn by an ingrowing hair (or hairs). This cavity can become infected and sometimes, especially where this occurs often, surgery is the most appropriate and effective treatment.
A growth that develops on the wall of the bowel is referred to as a polyp. During a colon examination (a colonoscopy) one or more polyps may be found, and they are generally removed during the examination and sent for testing. Most polyps are not cancerous however it is not possible to determine this without testing. They often cause no symptoms, although occasionally they can cause some rectal bleeding.
Bleeding from the rectum may indicate any of a number of conditions, most of which are not especially serious (eg anal fissure or haemorrhoids). However, all cases of rectal bleeding should be investigated, in case the cause is a more serious condition such as colorectal cancer.
A prolapse is where internal tissue 'sticks out' - a rectal prolapse is where this occurs from the rectum. Most people are aware of this immediately after a bowel motion. A rectal prolapse must be treated immediately where it is not possible to push it back into place. Rectal prolapse affects women more than men.
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the bowel. It has similar symptoms to Crohn's Disease (e.g. diarrhoea), which can include a sudden need to have a bowel motion, rectal bleeding and mucous discharge. The condition is generally detected by a combination of colonoscopy and tissue biopsy.