Posts for: September, 2022
Is it time for me to schedule a colonoscopy?
According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the US. While we have seen a drop in colorectal cancer cases since the 1980s, lifestyle and regular colonoscopy screenings may contribute. A colonoscopy is a diagnostic and preventive tool that examines the inside of the rectum and colon. It’s a beneficial tool everyone should undergo at some point during their lifetime. Here’s when a colonoscopy may be recommended,
You Turned 50
Was this year the big five-o? If so, you may have been told by your general doctor that you should start adding a colonoscopy to your preventive health routine. Since colorectal cancer risk increases with age, it’s essential that you don’t put this simple procedure off.
Healthy individuals at low risk for colorectal cancer will want to turn to their gastroenterologist at age 50 (unless your doctor tells you otherwise). Both men and women will need to undergo this preventive screening. If the results are normal, you won’t need to return for another routine colonoscopy for ten years.
You’re 45 with Risk Factors
Suppose you have risk factors predisposing you to colorectal cancer, such as a family history of cancer or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., Crohn’s disease or colitis). In that case, your gastroenterologist may recommend that you start getting routine colonoscopies beginning at age 45 (in some cases, they may even recommend age 40).
You Develop Digestive Problems
If you’ve noticed persistent bowel changes such as blood in the stool, weakness, fatigue, sudden weight loss and abdominal pain, these could all be signs of colorectal cancer. They can also be signs of other digestive problems that a colonoscopy can easily help your GI doctor detect.
A colonoscopy can help detect bleeds, obstructions, inflammation, infections, ulcers and more. We can even remove polyps, stop bleeds and remove obstructions during this procedure.
Remember, getting routine colonoscopies starting at age 50 (or earlier) could save your life. Call your gastroenterologist today to schedule an appointment and be proactive about your health.
Your digestive system is important. It handles the food you eat, breaking down the food into energy for your body to use. Your digestive system also gets rid of the byproducts your body doesn’t use, keeping your body running cleanly and efficiently.
Did you know that a gastroenterologist is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions and diseases in your digestive system? A gastroenterologist can diagnose and treat everything from acid reflux to cancer in your digestive system.
A major benefit of having a gastroenterologist as part of your healthcare team is the vast amount of specialized knowledge your gastroenterologist has. Your gastroenterologist can diagnose and treat conditions of the stomach, upper and lower intestines, and colon. The conditions and diseases include:
- Acid reflux or GERD
- Esophageal irritation
- Stomach ulcers
- Intestinal polyps
- Crohn’s disease
- Stomach, intestinal, and colon cancer
Another major benefit of having a gastroenterologist is the type of testing available. Your gastroenterologist may recommend:
A Colonoscopy; used to examine your colon and rectal lining to check for polyps or signs of colon cancer
A Sigmoidoscopy; used to examine your lower colon and rectal lining to check for polyps in your sigmoid colon or signs of colon cancer
CT Colonography; used to take bowel scans to check for bowel obstructions and other issues
Stool Tests; used to check for blood in your stool or abnormal DNA from intestinal bleeding or signs of intestinal cancer
You should visit your gastroenterologist yearly for a colon cancer screening. You should also schedule a visit with your gastroenterologist if you experience:
- Excessive, sudden weight loss
- Abdominal cramping and pain that doesn’t go away
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation
- A change in the consistency or color of your stool
- Chronic nausea and vomiting that doesn’t go away
Having a gastroenterologist is one of the most important decisions you can make regarding your healthcare. Your gastrointestinal system is complex, and you need a specialist who understands this. You need a gastroenterologist, so call today.