Symptoms and History-Taking
Patients suffering from disorders of the colon, rectum, and anus often complain of vague symptoms. A detailed description of them must therefore be obtained, so that they may be associated with a precise anatomic location to provide a basis for appropriate examinations and a reliable diagnosis. Even without a specific association with a particular location, numerous symptoms nevertheless suggest a probable site of origin. As in all fields of medicine, the assessment of the patient’s history is the single most important piece of data that the physician can obtain. The circumstances in which a symptom appears, its localization, its development, the appearance of secondary associated complaints, and their exact characteristics should all be ascertained in detail.
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