Understanding Colonoscopy - Who Is Qualified to Get One?
A colonoscopy is a medical procedure used to examine the colon, or large intestine, for signs of disease. If you want to learn more about this, continue reading this quick guide.
What Is a Colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is a medical procedure that involves the use of a camera attached to a long, thin tube to examine the inside of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. It is used to diagnose and treat various conditions, including colon cancer, polyps, and inflammatory bowel disease. It is also used to monitor the progress of existing treatments.
Why Is a Colonoscopy Done?
1. Intestinal Symptoms
Doctors often recommend colonoscopies if a patient is experiencing specific intestinal symptoms, such as abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, or a change in bowel habits. Various issues can cause these symptoms, and a colonoscopy can help identify the cause.
2. Colon Cancer Screening
Colonoscopy is also commonly used as a preventative measure to screen for colon cancer. This type of cancer is the third most common cancer for men and women in the United States, so regular screening is important.
The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk for colon cancer begin colonoscopy screening at age 45. People with a family history of colon cancer or other risk factors may need to begin earlier.
3. Follow Up
If a colonoscopy reveals any suspicious findings, such as polyps or tumors, a patient may need to undergo additional testing or treatment. This may include a biopsy or surgery to remove the growth. In some cases, a follow-up colonoscopy may be recommended to check for any additional growth.
Who Is a Candidate for a Colonoscopy?
Generally, anyone over the age of 45 should consider getting a colonoscopy. People who have a family history of colorectal cancer may need to start getting screened at an earlier age.
Additionally, if you have any symptoms that could indicate colorectal cancer, such as blood in the stool, unexplained weight loss, or persistent abdominal pain. In that case, you should talk to your doctor about scheduling a colonoscopy.
In addition to colorectal cancer screening, a colonoscopy can also be used to diagnose and treat other digestive diseases and conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or polyps. If you have any of these conditions or if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, a colonoscopy may be recommended.
What Can You Expect During a Colonoscopy?
Before your colonoscopy, you’ll need to prepare for the procedure. This typically involves drinking a laxative solution or taking a laxative pill the day before the procedure. This will help clear out your colon, so your doctor can get a better look.
You’ll also need to avoid eating and drinking for several hours before the procedure. This will help ensure the best possible view of your colon.
During the procedure, you’ll lie on your side on an exam table. Your doctor will insert a thin, flexible tube into your rectum. This tube has a tiny camera on the end that will allow your doctor to view your colon.
Your doctor may inflate your colon with air so they can get a better view. You may feel some pressure or cramping during this part of the procedure.
After the procedure, you may experience some cramping and bloating. You may also have a feeling of fullness or gas. Feel free to just let it out - No judgements here!
Your doctor may give you a list of instructions to follow after the procedure. These instructions may include avoiding certain foods and drinks, taking medications, and drinking fluids.
A colonoscopy is an important procedure that can help detect and prevent colon cancer and other illnesses. However, remember that the decision to get a colonoscopy should be discussed with your doctor. They can help you determine the right procedure based on your age, risk factors, and symptoms.
If you need a colonoscopy in Plano, Texas, don’t hesitate to call us at the offices of Stuart Akerman MD. Start by booking an appointment to discuss if this is the best option for you.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that this blog is intended for Informational Use only and is not intended to replace personal evaluation and treatment by a medical provider. The information provided on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Please consult your doctor for any information related to your personal care.