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Vocabulary of Anorectal Disorders

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  • 0:01 Anorectal Disorders
  • 0:21 Anal Fissures and Hemorrhoids
  • 1:40 Hematochezia & Melena
  • 2:41 Pruritus Anus
  • 3:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

It may be embarrassing, but its something that must be discussed. The anorectal area of your body can have more than one problem, including fissures, hemorrhoids, itching, and more.

Anorectal Disorders

The rectum and anus are two structures located at the tail end of the gastrointestinal tract. Like any other structure in the body, they can be afflicted by or encompass many different problems. And I don't mean to sound anal here, but we have a lot of terms to cover, so let's focus in on different terms associated with anorectal disorders!

Anal Fissures and Hemorrhoids

One anorectal disorder involves constipation, which is the difficult and infrequent passage of stool. Constipation can lead to something called an anal fissure, a small, often linear tear in the moist tissue that lines the anus.

'Anal' obviously refers to the anus and 'fissure' is a word that refers to something like a crack or split. Kind of like the linear splits in the ground that occur after some earthquakes. Anal fissures can be caused by other things like chronic diarrhea or even childbirth. They cause pain during bowel movements and bright red blood during defecation.

Pain and bleeding during bowl movement can also occur with hemorrhoids, enlarged veins in the lower rectum. Just imagine them as varicose veins, but not on your legs, but well, you know, down there.

The word 'hemorrhoid' is broken apart like this. 'Hemo-' stands for blood. As a rhyme, just imagine poor Nemo bleeding to death to remember this. Yes, cruel, but memorable. '-rrhoid' is a variation of combining forms that mean 'to flow'.

Hemorrhoids, like anal fissures, can also be caused by chronic diarrhea or constipation, as well as other things, like straining while defecating, obesity, anal intercourse, and other things.

Hematochezia & Melena

Now, I did mention that hemorrhoids and anal fissures can both produce bleeding. Bleeding from the lower gastrointestinal tract, including the colon, rectum, and anus, which most often produces fresh, bright red blood, called frank blood, is termed hematochezia. 'Hemato-' means 'blood.' And '-chezia' is a suffix that denotes some condition of defecation.

Again, I hate to be anal here, but I did say that bleeding from the lower intestinal tract produces fresh bright red blood. There are exceptions to this. For example, a massive upper gastrointestinal bleed coming from the small intestine can also cause frank blood to come out into the toilet bowl.

But, typically bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract, like the stomach and small intestines, is associated with melena, dark, tarry, smelly, digested blood in the stool. This word comes from 'melan-', which means 'black' or 'dark.' Like melanoma or melanin.

Pruritus Anus

And, I cannot end this lesson without a discussion of a very common condition, one that can also cause bleeding. It's properly called pruritus ani, anal itching. Pruritus is the medical term for itching and 'ani,' of course, refers to the anus.

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