You’ve probably heard about a colonoscopy, but you’re not really sure you need one. You might be wondering when you should have your first colonoscopy. Your gastroenterologist has the answers you need.
What You Need To Know About a Colonoscopy
Did you know that colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer-related cause of death in the United States? Fortunately, a colonoscopy can help detect colorectal cancer in its early stages, when it is more easily treatable.
You should have your first colonoscopy by the time you are 45 years old. Additional colonoscopies are recommended every few years as prescribed by your gastroenterologist. You may need a colonoscopy for other reasons than routine screenings. Your gastroenterologist may recommend a colonoscopy if you are experiencing:
- Bleeding in your rectum
- Blood in your stool
- Chronic diarrhea
- Chronic constipation
- Frequent abdominal pain
Before your colonoscopy, you will be placed on a liquid diet and take laxatives to clean out your colon for better visibility and better results. A colonoscopy procedure takes about 45 minutes, during which time you will be sedated, so you need to bring someone with you who can drive you home afterward. Plan on being in the office for 2 to 3 hours due to recovery from sedation.
During your colonoscopy, a thin flexible tube, called a colonoscope, is inserted into your rectum and guided through your colon. The colonoscope has a camera attached to one end, which allows your gastroenterologist to view your colon. Your gastroenterologist can remove a tissue sample or polyps and have them sent off for a biopsy to determine if the tissue is benign, abnormal, or cancerous.
Want To Know More?
A colonoscopy is one of the best ways to protect yourself against deadly colorectal cancer. Don’t take chances with your health. A colonoscopy can potentially save your life. To find out more about when to schedule your first colonoscopy and the benefits of having a colonoscopy, talk with your gastroenterologist today.