Several diseases can interfere with the normal functioning of the colon. These diseases are classified as benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). They can cause symptoms including bleeding, infection, and perforation.
In some cases, doctors treat the disease by removing a segment of the colon. Given that the average person has 8-10 feet of small bowel and 3-5 feet of colon, removing a segment generally doesn't affect normal colon functioning. Some colon diseases are:
Colorectal cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), the lower part of your digestive system. Rectal cancer is cancer of the last part of your colon. In most cases of colon cancer, the process begins in the form of a polyp. These are benign (non-cancerous) clumps of cells that are often small, and produce few symptoms other than silent and slow bleeding (which may manifest as dark stool.)
Diverticulitis is a common gastrointestinal disorder found mainly in the left side of the large intestine, primarily the sigmoid colon. Diverticulitis develops from a condition called diverticulosis, which involves the formation of out pouches of the colon wall. Diverticulosis is quite common and tends to occur after the age of 50. Diverticulitis results if one or more of these pouches (or diverticula) becomes inflamed. While left sided involvement is the rule, some patients may have diverticulosis and subsequent diverticulitis on the right side of the colon.
Risk factors believed to be important for developing diverticulosis includes: aging, low fiber diet and possibly lack of exercise. There are no known factors that cause diverticulosis to become diverticulitis.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is caused by chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract. There are two forms of inflammatory bowel disease: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC).
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are similar — so similar that they're often mistaken for one another. Both diseases cause inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, and both may result in severe bouts of diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Crohn's disease can occur anywhere in your digestive tract, often spreading deep into the layers of affected tissues. Ulcerative colitis, on the other hand, usually affects only the innermost lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum.