There are several reasons why you may need a colonoscopy. Individuals with a family history of colon cancer could benefit from a colonoscopy screening. Additionally, individuals who are experiencing gastrointestinal problems or are over the age of 50 may need one, as well. Dr. Anees, the highly skilled gastroenterologist at Southwest Gastroenterology Clinic and Surgery Center in Burleson, TX, can determine if and when you need a colonoscopy.
The Colonoscopy Procedure
A colonoscopy is a non-surgical, in-patient procedure for examining the lining of the colon to check for polyps and other abnormalities. Colonoscopies are an extremely effective tool for identifying colon cancer during its early stages when it is easier to treat. A colonoscopy can also be helpful in diagnosing various gastrointestinal conditions, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
A colonoscopy is performed using an instrument called a colonoscope, which is a thin, flexible tube with a lens on one end. The colonoscope is gently inserted through the rectum and guided through the colon. The lens on the end of the colonoscope transmits live video to a screen that allows the gastroenterologist to observe the lining of the colon in real-time. Polyps or other suspicious growths can be removed for biopsy to determine if they are malignant or benign.
When a Colonoscopy is Needed
There are many reasons for needing a colonoscopy. In general, all healthy adults with low to moderate risk for colon cancer should undergo their first colonoscopy screening around 50 years of age. Individuals with a family history of colon cancer or who have other risk factors may need to schedule a colonoscopy earlier than age 50.
Additional colonoscopies should be performed every 10 years until age 75 so long as no abnormalities are detected during screening and you are not at an increased risk for colon cancer. If colon polyps are detected, you may need a colonoscopy every five years. Individuals with a high risk for developing colon cancer might also need to be screened more frequently. The experienced gastroenterologist at our office in Burleson, TX, can assess your risk for colon cancer and determine how soon you should have your first colonoscopy screening.
You may also need a colonoscopy if you are experiencing certain gastrointestinal problems. Some symptoms could be an indication of an inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. The doctor might recommend a colonoscopy if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Unexpected weight loss
- Chronic diarrhea
- Persistent constipation
- Rectal bleeding
- Recurring intestinal issues
A colonoscopy can aid the gastroenterologist in diagnosing the specific condition causing your symptoms. Once the problem is identified, an individualized plan can be developed to treat the condition and alleviate symptoms.
You may need a colonoscopy if you are 50 years or older, are experiencing persistent or severe gastrointestinal issues, or have a family history of colon cancer. Dr. Anees can determine if you need a colonoscopy screening. To schedule an appointment with the gastroenterologist, call Southwest Gastroenterology Clinic and Surgery Center in Burleson, TX, at (817) 293-9292.