What every gastroenterologist needs to know about common anorectal disorders

World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Jul 14;15(26):3201-9. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.3201.


Anorectal complaints are very common and are caused by a variety of mostly benign anorectal disorders. Many anorectal conditions may be successfully treated by primary care physicians in the outpatient setting, but patients tend not to seek medical attention due to embarrassment or fear of cancer. As a result, patients frequently present with advanced disease after experiencing significant decreases in quality of life. A number of patients with anorectal complaints are referred to gastroenterologists. However, gastroenterologists' knowledge and experience in approaching these conditions may not be sufficient. This article can serve as a guide to gastroenterologists to recognize, evaluate, and manage medically or non-surgically common benign anorectal disorders, and to identify when surgical referrals are most prudent. A review of the current literature is performed to evaluate comprehensive clinical pearls and management guidelines for each topic. Topics reviewed include hemorrhoids, anal fissures, anorectal fistulas and abscesses, and pruritus ani.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / diagnosis
  • Abscess / physiopathology
  • Abscess / therapy
  • Anus Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Anus Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Anus Diseases* / therapy
  • Fissure in Ano / diagnosis
  • Fissure in Ano / physiopathology
  • Fissure in Ano / therapy
  • Hemorrhoids / diagnosis
  • Hemorrhoids / physiopathology
  • Hemorrhoids / therapy
  • Humans
  • Pruritus Ani / diagnosis
  • Pruritus Ani / physiopathology
  • Pruritus Ani / therapy
  • Rectal Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Rectal Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Rectal Diseases* / therapy
  • Rectal Fistula / diagnosis
  • Rectal Fistula / physiopathology
  • Rectal Fistula / therapy