Conditions

John Flynn Colorectal Centre may offer treatment for a range of conditions including:

Anal Abscess

An anal abscess is pus collected around the anus. Infection in the anal region may arise from small glands in the anal canal. An abscess in the anal area can cause severe pain.

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Anal Fissure

Anal fissure is a tear in the anal lining, often caused by a hard bowel movement, or by frequent loose stools. It causes pain, which can be quite severe, and rectal bleeding. A swollen skin tag often develops on the outside of the anus when a fissure is present. Many acute fissures heal by themselves, but if they become chronic a sphincterotomy will be required.

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Anal Pain

Different conditions can cause anal pain and severe pain at the time of bowel movements is most likely to be due to an anal fissure. Less common causes include anal or rectal cancer.

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Colorectal (Bowel) Cancer

Colorectal (bowel) cancer is a very common condition in Australia, affecting around five per cent of people during their lives. It is more common as we begin to age and is rare in young people. Men are slightly more likely to get bowel cancer than women. The exact cause of bowel cancer is unknown but genetic and lifestyle factors play a part.

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Colostomy and Ileostomy

Patients may require a stoma, which involves joining part of the bowel to the skin of the abdomen. The bowel contents then empty into a bag (or pouch) rather than being passed from the anus.

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Constipation

This very common condition does not usually have a serious cause. It is important to seek advice if there is a change in bowel habit or new development of constipation. Symptoms are usually managed successfully with dietary and lifestyle changes.

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Crohn's Disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel condition, which can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. It is most common in the small bowel and the colon. The disease often first presents at a young age but it can strike in older people as well. Typical symptoms may include diarrhoea, abdominal pain and weight loss.

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Diverticular Disease

Diverticular disease, or “pockets on the bowel” is a very common condition, especially in middle age, which is usually asymptomatic. Pockets develop when the lining of the bowel protrudes through the muscle layer to form small lumps on the surface of the bowel.

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Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a common cause of cyclical abdominal pain and infertility in young women. A small proportion of women with more severe forms of endometriosis have the disease, which affects the rectum or other parts of the intestine, causing painful bowel movements, cyclical changes in bowel function, severe constipation or diarrhoea.

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Faecal Incontinence

Tests such as anorectal manometry (measuring the muscle and nerve function) and anal ultrasound may be performed to determine the reason for difficulties in controlling bowel movements. Treatment options include biofeedback and sacral nerve stimulation.

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Fistula

A fistula is a connection between the anal lining and the skin. It presents as an opening near the anus from which pus or blood may discharge. There is sometimes a small lump and it may be uncomfortable. The condition rarely heals by itself and surgery is required.

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Haemorrhoids

Prominent blood vessels in the lower rectum and upper anal canal are known as haemorrhoids. Main symptoms are bleeding and prolapse (where the haemorrhoid protrudes from the anus). Haemorrhoids are usually painless, but there may be discomfort if they prolapse.

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Hernia

Hernias are abnormal protrusions of abdominal contents through weaknesses or holes in abdominal wall muscles. Patients may notice a bulge or discomfort at the site of the hernia. Most common sites for a hernia are in the groin (known as an inguinal hernia), at the umbilicus or in an old surgical incision (an incisional hernia).

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Pilonidal Sinus

Pilonidal disease affects the natal cleft (the area between the buttocks above the anus) and occurs when hairs burrow under the skin and cause a cavity that may become swollen and infected. Surgery is recommended for patients who have repeated infection.

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Polyps

Growths on the lining of the colon are called polyps. They sometimes cause rectal bleeding but often produce no symptoms. They can be identified during a colonoscopy or other investigation. There are several different types of polyp and it is necessary for them to be analysed by pathology testing to determine type.

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Rectal Bleeding

Bleeding from the rectum is a common symptom but should not be ignored. It may arise from an anal condition like haemorrhoids or an anal fissure, or it may be due to a polyp or cancer in the bowel.

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Rectal Prolapse

More common in women than men, it is a condition where the rectum protrudes from the anal canal, and most likely to be noticed after bowel movements. The prolapse can be pushed back into place but if it cannot be pushed back medical attention is needed immediately.

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Ulcerative Colitis

An inflammatory bowel disease affecting the colon. Symptoms include diarrhoea, urgent bowel movements, abdominal rectal bleeding and mucous discharge. Diagnosis is most often made by colonoscopy and taking biopsies of the inflamed bowel.

Read more about Ulcerative Colitis

  • Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
  • Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand
  • Bond University