A proctologist specializes in treating the disease of the entire gastrointestinal system, colon, anus, and rectum. Proctologists derived from two Greek words; “proktos,” meaning rear quarter, and “logos,” meaning study. A proctologist works with the urologist, who deals with the urinary tract of women and the urogenital tract in males. Moreover, a proctologist may also work with a gynecologist/obstetrician, dealing explicitly with female problems. The word “proctologist” is outdated, though. These days, the better term is “colon and rectal surgeon” and “colorectal surgeons.”
Five facts about a proctologist
- The science involved in analyzing the lower part of the gastrointestinal tract is called proctology.
- Proctologists are also named colorectal surgeons.
- Proctologists handle rectal disease and all other aspects of the colon, including piles, neoplasm colon, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.
- While examining, proctologists use different instruments and tools to know the problems of the gastrointestinal system.
- A proctologist, while making diagnoses use the patient’s past medical history along with the different tests.
Conditions that Proctologist examine
Proctologists are working on different conditions of the lower GI tract. The tract includes the colon, anal canal, rectum, and perineal area. Following are the conditions on which there is a need for a proctologist:
- Fistulae and Abscesses: they are the infection that causes accumulation of Pus near the anal and rectum, and due to drainage of Pus, a small tunnel develops, which is called a fistula.
- Anal skin tags: skin tags are the small bumps that form around the anal that cause itchiness. Skin tags might be the result of piles, inflammation, and diarrhea.
- Colon and rectal cancer: neoplastic growth starts in the colon or rectum. Colon and rectal cancer are usually studied together because both cancers have several characters alike.
- Diverticulitis: diverticulitis is the intestinal infection in which pouches, i.e., diverticula formed, and pouches become inflamed.
- Fissures: fissures are the tiny tear in the moist, thin mucosa of the anus. It may develop when a person passes large or solid stools.
- Hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids formed inside the rectum called internal hemorrhoids or below the skin of the anus called external hemorrhoids.
- Inflammatory bowel disease: It consists of conditions due to which the digestive system becomes inflamed. The ordinary kinds of Inflammatory bowel disease are Cohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis.
- Irritable bowel syndrome: IBS is a disorder that alters the normal physiology of the large intestine. It includes a group of symptoms like bloating, constipation, watery stool, and cramping.
- Polyps: Polyps are abnormal precancerous tissue growth that looks like tiny bumps, and polyps can become colorectal cancer.
- Rectal prolapse: it is a condition in which the rectum detracts from its normal position.
Proctologist also deal with sexually transmitted infections that include,
- Genital herpes
What type of diagnostic procedure does a proctologist do?
Proctologists can perform several surgical and diagnostic procedures. Following are the most common:
- Anoscopy: A medical procedure helps to identify any abnormality in the GIT system. It is a medical test where a proctologist inserts a device called an anoscope into the anus.
- Colonoscopy is a medical process where doctors view the whole colon by inserting a long tube called a colonoscopy into the rectum. The colonoscope has a tiny camera attached at the tube’s tip that allows the Proctologist to examine inside the whole colon. The procedure may remove the polyps.
- Digital rectal exams: it is a medical test in which a proctologist uses his finger to examine the pelvis, lower rectum, and lower belly.
- Endorectal ultrasound: it is a medical procedure to detect cancerous growth in the rectum. The test gives information about the size, depth, and location of the tumor in the rectal wall using ultrasonography.
- Proctoscopy: it is a medical procedure in which a proctologist inserts a proctoscope, i.e., a hollow tube into the anal canal to examine the rectum, anal cavity, and colon.
- Sigmoidoscopy: it is a medical process that helps the Proctologist view the lower third of the colon, which is also named a sigmoid colon.
Proctologists can also perform several different procedures, including robotic surgery and laparoscopy.
When to see a proctologist
It is not necessary to see a colorectal surgeon until another physician refers you. However, if you are having any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical advice.
- Burning or anal itching
- Bleeding from the anal canal
- Any Discharge from the anus
- Rectal or Anal pain
- Anal bumps and warts.
- Fecal incontinence
A proctologist must know the entire history of the symptoms. If they do not have a complete record, it may be harder for them to diagnose and evaluate which type of treatment they need. Issues involving your rectum, anus, and gastrointestinal tract can be a touchy topic. However, be assured that a colorectal surgeon does this all day, every day. They’re qualified to listen without passing judgment and are familiar with the signs that bring patients in to see them. Similarly, it’s so important to discuss the symptoms with the respective doctor openly. Otherwise, the individual has to go through different tests, and it might be difficult for the Proctologist to diagnose.
The working environment of Proctologist
Proctologist working hours are often long and erratic. They should always be available to satisfy the patient’s needs at all day and night hours. They are supposed to work in a clean, well-lit setting at work. They are allowed to wear a particular uniform.
Specialization and skills
A proctologist is supposed to possess the following qualities:
- Strong analytical abilities are needed.
- Should be able to pay attention and observe information.
- Communication and interpersonal skills should be high.
- Empathy and compassion
- Capable of resolving the issue and making the best decision
- A good standard of physical fitness is needed.
- They must be interested in science and growth and healthcare, which keeps them up to date with the latest technologies.
- First and foremost, a proctologist must have outstanding communication skills to understand a patient’s sensitive concerns. They should clarify and make the patient understand the potential illness and the medication that is required.
Proctology training and certification
Proctology is a branch of medicine that needs extensive preparation, including:
- Four years of undergraduate study
- studied in medical school for four years
- successful completion of a 5-year
- the general surgery residency program
- an extra year of the colon and rectal surgery training
The American Board of Rectal and Colon Surgery certifies the majority of colorectal surgeons in the United States. Continuing education in the field of proctology is needed to become a colorectal surgeon. Also, they must be certified in the state where they operate. Proctologists work in several settings, including clinics, private practices, and hospitals. Proctologists have a close working relationship with a gastroenterologist.
How to find a proctologist?
It is necessary to request a referral from your primary care physician or another healthcare professional when an individual is searching for a proctologist.
When looking for a colorectal surgeon, keep the following points in mind:
- Is the doctor a board-certified physician? Board certification signifies that they have completed the necessary schooling, training, and continuing education.
- Do they have a license to practice?
- Is the doctor a member of your healthcare provider’s network?
- Is it possible to schedule a consultation to get to know your doctor before undergoing any procedures?
- What is the doctor’s prior experience with the symptom or the treatment you’re experiencing?
- Will your proctologist share information with the rest of the medical team?
- What are the locations and hours of their offices?
- Where do proctologists have hospital admitting privileges?
It’s essential that you feel at ease with your colorectal surgeon. If you don’t, you might be less willing to talk about all of your symptoms.
Treatment by Proctologist
Following are some possible treatments done by Proctologist;
- Infrared photocoagulation: Infrared photocoagulation can use Infrared light to reduce pile tissue. The number of sessions depends on the seriousness of the disorder.
- Prolapsed and hemorrhoids treatment: repositioning of anal tissue will limit the hemorrhoid’s blood supply, allowing the hemorrhoids to shrink. Similarly, it will dissolve in 4 to 6 weeks due to lack of blood supply.
- If the pile is mild to moderate, the family doctor will take care of it. The doctor would first prescribe anti-hemorrhoid drugs. If hemorrhoid does not respond to conservative treatment, then the patient is referred to the Proctologist.
Proctologists, also known as colorectal surgeons, are highly trained medical physicians. They diagnose and treat gastrointestinal issues in the body. If you have problems with your anus, rectum, or colon, you should see a colorectal surgeon. Consult your doctor if you experience signs such as anal or rectal pain, bleeding, or bumps.