A colonoscopy is a medical procedure used to examine the inside of the colon, or large intestine, for any abnormalities or signs of disease. This test can detect and prevent some conditions like colorectal cancer by discovering and removing polyps in a single procedure. While this test is commonly used for screening for symptoms that haven’t been diagnosed, it can also uncover and treat the causes for many other potential symptoms.
This procedure is a crucial tool for preventative care, but there are a number of other indicators that might suggest the need for the test. While this test can provide a lot of answers, it’s important to take any concerns with your digestive health to a medical professional. Getting a colonoscopy in Denver can help make sure you continue your active lifestyle while getting the peace of mind of preventative care.
Age Recommendations & Family History
The recommended screening age for a colonoscopy is 45, and is one of the best options to detect and prevent cancer with a 95 percent detection rate. However, this screening might be recommended earlier or later. The age at which you should begin regular colon cancer screenings can vary based on a multitude of factors – namely your personal and family medical history.
If you have a family history of colon cancer or certain types of polyps, you may have an increased risk and might need earlier or more frequent colonoscopies. It’s important to inform your doctor about any family history of colorectal cancer or precancerous polyps. The colonoscopy can reduce the incidence of cancer by up to 89 percent. It is suggested to get a colonoscopy every 10 years, unless cancer or precancerous polyps are detected.
Pay Attention to Any Changes
Other indications might point toward getting a colonoscopy sooner than age 45, or before that 10-year window since your last exam has elapsed. If there are unexplained changes in your bowel habits, such as persistent constipation or diarrhea, or noticeable change in the shape or size of your stool, it may warrant further investigation. Chronic abdominal pain, cramping, or discomfort that cannot be attributed to other causes may require further evaluation, as well.
One noticeable symptom is blood in the stool. Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool can happen for a number of reasons, namely hemorrhoids or any fissures, but could be an indication of something more serious that may be identified through a colonoscopy. Also, significant, unexplained weight loss can sometimes indicate an underlying health issue – including digestive problems. If you’re losing weight without trying or experiencing loss of appetite, it’s important to discuss these symptoms with your healthcare provider.
It’s important to note that all specific concerns or symptoms should be brought to the attention of a healthcare professional for individual, personalized advice. They can evaluate your symptoms with your medical history and over risk factors to determine if this test is necessary. For more information on colonoscopies, reach out to the experts at Gastroenterology of the Rockies today.