You’ve turned 45, and your primary care doctor has recommended that you start getting routine colonoscopies. You’ve heard of the hassle of prep and the slight discomfort following the procedure. You feel just fine, so why should you follow their advice and contact us at GastroDoxs to schedule your colonoscopy?
Well, a colonoscopy is a critical preventive health measure for people who have an average risk of colorectal cancer. “Average risk” means you have no personal or family history of colorectal cancer, no inflammatory bowel disease, and no genetic markers or past radiation treatment that puts you at risk for colon cancer.
As a side note, if you have a higher risk of colon cancer, colonoscopies are non-negotiable parts of your preventive health care and may be scheduled sooner and more frequently than they are for the average risk person.
Our gastroenterologist, Dr. Bharat Pothuri, explains all the ways a colonoscopy can help your health.
Colonoscopies can help with diagnosis
If you have unusual digestive symptoms without a clear cause, a colonoscopy gives Dr. Pothuri a close-up look at your large intestine. This helps him diagnose the reason you’re suffering from problems such as:
A colonoscopy means you get a more accurate diagnosis, a targeted treatment plan, and relief from unpleasant symptoms.
Colonoscopies screen for polyps and cancer
Routine colonoscopies can help reduce death from colon cancer.
A colonoscopy can identify polyps, which are growths in your colon that have the potential to turn into cancer or that are in the first stages of cancer. The number and size of your polyps tend to correlate to your chances of developing colorectal cancer.
When polyps or cancer is found at an early stage, treatment is far more effective, and you have a far greater chance of a cure. Research suggests that colonoscopies reduce the chance of death from colon cancer by 65%.
Colonoscopies may find diverticulosis
Diverticulosis is a condition in which small pouches have developed along the walls of your colon. The condition is benign, but if the pouches become inflamed -- it turns into diverticulitis. Then you develop symptoms like severe abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and a marked change in your bowel habits.
Diverticulitis flare-ups are also related to colon cancer. If this condition is found, Dr. Pothuri may recommend more frequent colonoscopies to keep tabs on your bowel health.
Colonoscopies may find melanosis coli
The condition of melanosis coli describes when your colon lining turns brown or black. It may develop due to routine laxative use. Though the condition is likely harmless and not related to colorectal cancer, Dr. Pothuri may want to keep tabs on your bowel health to be cautious.
When you come in for an appointment, Dr. Pothuri explains the entire colonoscopy procedure and what to expect beforehand and afterward. This helps make your colonoscopy go smoothly and causes minimal disruption to your daily schedule.
Dr. Pothuri can also give you important advice as to how you can greatly reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. This includes quitting smoking and eating more fiber from fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
If you’re ready to schedule a colonoscopy, call GastroDoxs or use this online tool to request an appointment.