Our Gastroenterology Blog
Posts for tag: Colonoscopy
Have you been wondering if you should get a colonoscopy? The minimally invasive procedure offered by your Bucks, Torresdale and Bala Cynwyd, PA, gastroenterologists at Gastrointestinal Specialists provides important benefits for your health.
When are colonoscopies needed?
Colonoscopies are often recommended for patients in the Bucks, Torresdale or Bala Cynwyd areas when:
- You Turn 45: Colonoscopies detect colon cancer, a type of cancer that rarely causes symptoms in the early stages. Although you may have heard that you should receive your first colonoscopy at age 50, the American Cancer Society recently lowered the initial age to 45. The change was made to ensure that even more cancerous and pre-cancerous polyps are detected and promptly treated. If your colonoscopy is normal, you won't need to schedule another procedure for 10 years.
- You Have a Gastrointestinal Condition: Your gastroenterologist may recommend a colonoscopy if you have certain chronic conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease.
- You've Had Cancer or Pre-Cancerous Polyps in the Past: Follow-up colonoscopies may happen more frequently if you've already been diagnosed with cancer or have had pre-cancerous polyps removed.
- You're Experiencing Gastrointestinal Symptoms: Your gastroenterologist may order a colonoscopy if you've experienced a change in bowel habits, abdominal pain, gas, cramping, bleeding, frequent diarrhea, chronic constipation or other symptoms.
How are colonoscopies performed?
You'll need to follow a liquid diet and take laxatives to clear your colon before you have a colonoscopy. This step is particularly important because it provides your gastroenterologist with a clear view of the lining of your colon.
During the colonoscopy, your gastroenterologist will insert a flexible lighted scope through your anus and into your colon. The scope contains a tiny camera that transmits images to a digital screen. Thanks to the camera, your doctor can examine every inch of your colon remotely.
If any polyps are detected, your doctor will use tiny tools to remove them, then send them to a lab for analysis. You'll receive a sedative before the procedure begins and won't remember a thing. When you wake up, your gastroenterologist will discuss the preliminary results with you. The results of biopsies will be available about a week later.
Protect your health with a colonoscopy. Call Gastrointestinal Specialists in Torresdale, Bucks, and Bala Cynwyd, PA today. (610) 664-9700 for the Bala Cynwyd, PA, office, (215) 632-3500 for the Torresdale office, or (215) 702-7090 for the Bucks office.
Getting a colonoscopy does not have to be a scary experience when you know what to expect. Learn everything you need to know about colonoscopies by reading the frequently asked questions below. The Gastrointestinal Specialists have three convenient locations for performing colonoscopies in Bala Cynwyd, Philadelphia, and Langhorne.
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a procedure for examining the lining of the large intestine, which is also your colon. During the examination, the gastroenterologist looks for abnormalities, such as polyps and signs of color cancer or other gastrointestinal problems.
Who should have a colonoscopy?
Healthy men and women should schedule their first colonoscopy around age fifty. Adults who should have a colonoscopy at an earlier age include those with a family history of colon cancer or those with gastrointestinal problems or certain medical conditions, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. In such cases, a gastroenterologist can recommend when you should have a colonoscopy.
How is a colonoscopy performed?
Colonoscopies are performed with the help of a tool called a colonoscope, which is a flexible tube that has a camera on one end. The tube is inserted into the anus and up into the colon or large intestine. The camera on the end allows the gastroenterologist to examine the lining of the colon and identify any abnormalities or concerns.
How do I prepare for a colonoscopy?
The gastroenterologist will prescribe a cleansing routine to help you prepare for your colonoscopy. The cleansing routine helps clean out the colon prior to the procedure so the gastroenterologist will be better able to examine the lining. The cleansing routine typically involves some dietary restrictions while also ingesting oral laxatives or a special cleansing solution.
Does a colonoscopy hurt?
While colonoscopies are readily tolerated by most individuals, some people do experience minor discomfort. To help you relax, as well as minimize pain or discomfort, the gastroenterologist will administer a sedative and/or painkiller prior to beginning the procedure.
How long does the procedure take?
It takes about three hours total for a colonoscopy procedure, including preparation and recovery time. The actual colonoscopy procedure itself only takes about thirty to sixty minutes to complete, but might take a little longer if polyps are present and need to be removed. Patients usually return home the same day as the colonoscopy procedure.
If you are already fifty years of age or older and have not had a colonoscopy, schedule one as soon as possible. For colonoscopies in Bala Cynwyd, schedule an appointment with the Gastrointestinal Specialists by calling (610) 664-9700. They have two other convenient locations at the Torresdale campus in Philadelphia, (215) 632-3500, as well as in Langhorne, (215) 702-7090.
A colonoscopy is one of the easiest and most accurate ways to detect malignancies of the rectum and large intestine. At Gastrointestinal Specialists in Bala Cynwyd, Philadelphia, and Langhorne, your team of seven board-certified gastroenterologists recommend and perform colonoscopies, heading off one of today's most prevalent cancers and other conditions of the bowel. Learn the particulars of this innovative diagnostic test and how it could save your life.
What Does a Colonoscopy Involve?
Done on an outpatient basis, one of our Bala Cynwyd doctors will insert a lighted and flexible tube into the anus and advance it through the large intestine. During the 45-minute procedure, your physician will use a tiny camera to take real-time videos and color photos of the entire length of your colon, looking for abnormalities such as ulcerations, cancerous tumors, and benign polyps.
Additionally, the doctor can cauterize areas of bleeding and take samples for biopsy. This painless tissue sampling removes polyps, or adenomas, which may or may not be cancerous. Left alone, however, they could develop into cancer.
During the procedure, you will be sedated, but also conscious and able to respond to simple verbal commands. Typically, patients are side-lying and feel no pain during the test.
In fact, the colonoscopy itself is so easy that most people say the pre-operative preparation is what's difficult. The day before the procedure, patients consume a clear liquid only diet and take copious amounts of laxatives to completely clear the colon. The process gives the doctor a clear view of the interior walls of the large intestine.
Afterwards, you will rest in a recovery area for about an hour. Then, an adult friend or relative will drive you home.
Your physician will review your photos and his findings with you right in the recovery area. Biopsy results take several days.
Signs You Need a Colonoscopy:
There are several signs indicating that you should see a colonoscopist, the most common of which is age. The American Cancer Society says that 45 to 50 is best for your first screening and then at intervals depending on your gastroenterologist's advice. Typically, people who have polyps are screened more frequently than those who do not.
Additional signs you need a colonoscopy are:
- You have persistent, chronic diarrhea or rectal bleeding.
- You have unexplained abdominal pain.
- You have a first-degree relative (mother, father, sister, child) who has had colon cancer.
- Your stools look thin and pencil-like.
- You are fatigued and/or are anemic.
- You have lost weight and do not know why.
Don't Be Afraid
A colonoscopy is actually your friend as it detects gastrointestinal problems in their earliest stages and provides the best treatment outcomes. If your 50th birthday is coming or if it's time for your next routine colonoscopy, please contact Gastrointestinal Specialists. We have three Pennsylvania locations to serve you. For Bala Cynwyd, phone (610) 664-9700, for Philadelphia, call (215) 632-3500, and for Langhorne, phone (215) 702-7090.
Colon cancer affects thousands of Americans. According to the American Cancer Society's statistics, more than 95,000 people were diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016. The best way to avoid colon cancer is by visiting your Bala Cynwyd, Langhorne, and Philadelphia, PA, doctor.
A colonoscopy is when your doctor examines the lining of your intestines. They check for abnormalities, like polyps, using a thin flexible tube that's inserted into the anus. The instrument allows your doctor to see what's in the lining on a monitor.
Importance of a Colonoscopy
A routine visit to your doctor for a colonoscopy is how most people detect cancer during its earliest stages. Board-certified physicians want their patients to schedule an appointment for a colonoscopy, or a flexible sigmoidoscopy, as soon as possible.
The CDC recommends adults aged 50 to 75 visit their gastroenterologist on a regular basis. Colorectal cancer usually begins as a small polyp in the colon. At first, the polyps aren't cancerous but may develop cancer over time. If you take the proper precautions of screening and keeping an eye out for symptoms, cancer can be treated or prevented.
Colon Cancer Symptoms:
Symptoms aren't always obvious. Here are the symptoms you need to keep an eye out for according to the doctors in Bala Cynwyd, Langhorne, and Philadelphia:
- Bowel Habit Changes: If you are suffering from Colon constipation, or diarrhea, for more than four weeks, that may be a sign of cancer.
- Incomplete Evacuation: If there are constant bowel movements, even if you've just had a bowel movement, then you need to contact your doctor.
- Blood in Your Stool: Hemorrhoids are usually accompanied by blood in stool, but may also be a sign of a more serious condition like cancer.
If you would like more information on colonoscopies and screening procedures, you can contact the doctors at Gastrointestinal Specialists. If you are in Bala Cynwyd, Langhorne, and Philadelphia, PA, call to schedule an appointment today!
The gastrointestinal tract is a complex and very important system in your body. It is responsible for helping you digest your food properly, get necessary nutrients, and ultimately eliminate waste. A colonoscopy test allows your gastroenterologist to ensure that it is healthy. Understand the process of getting a colonoscopy at Gastrointestinal Specialists in Bala Cynwyd, Bucks and Torresdale, PA and learn when you should start having this test.
What Does a Colonoscopy Check For?
During a colonoscopy, your doctor will insert a flexible tool called a colonoscope into the rectum. This tool has the ability to take images of the interior lining of the digestive tract. The colonoscopy checks for abnormalities, ulcers, polyps, and other unusual growths in the colon. When an abnormality is identified, like a polyp, it can be removed with a similar procedure. A biopsy can be taken of abnormal growths. Colonoscopies are a key step to preventing cases of colon cancer.
When Should You Have This Test?
Your Bala Cynwyd, Bucks and Torresdale-based gastroenterologist will suggest that you have this test if any of the following are true:
- You have reached your 50th birthday.
- You are experiencing persistent pain and discomfort in your bowels, stomach or abdomen.
- There is a personal or familial history of colon cancer.
- There’s a personal history of bowel disease.
Preparing for a Colonoscopy
Before you have a colonoscopy, you must follow strict instructions from the doctor’s office. The preparation process includes the following:
- Eat fiber-rich foods and fruits the week in advance to ensure consistent bowel movement.
- Enjoy a clear liquid diet the day before the appointment.
- Take the laxative provided by your doctor as prescribed to clear your colon of waste.
- Do not eat or drink anything two hours before the procedure (you may be asked to avoid consuming anything at all from the night before).
- Drink the barium prep provided by your doctor exactly as prescribed.
Is It Time to Schedule a Test?
If you believe that it’s time you have a colonoscopy, schedule one with the Gastrointestinal Specialists located in Bala Cynwyd, Bucks and Torresdale, PA. Call today to make an appointment with a qualified gastroenterologist.
As you age, you may be overwhelmed by all the procedures and tests that your doctors recommend in order to keep your health in check. One of the most important screenings is a colonoscopy, a text that examines the inside of your large intestine. While many health screenings are required yearly, colonoscopies and other tests like it can usually be performed just once or twice every decade.
Prevention is crucial
Although early diagnosis can keep colon cancer from spreading, prevention is the best method of fighting cancer. For this reason, your Bala Cynwyd gastroenterologist recommends that all men and women over 50 years of age should have at least one of the following screening tests:
Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years - A gastroenterologist uses a thin, flexible tube, called a scope, to view the inside of the rectum and the lower, or sigmoid, colon. The end that is placed in the colon through the rectum has a tiny light and camera that allows the doctor to see the inside of the colon clearly. This exam, which takes approximately 20 minutes, and others like it require preparation beforehand. This usually involves taking laxatives and maintaining a liquid diet at least 24 hours prior to clear the colon of any debris. Your doctor will provide step-by-step instructions on how to prepare for the test.
Colonoscopy every 10 years - A colonoscopy is performed in the same way as a flexible sigmoidoscopy; the only difference is that it examines the entire colon rather than just the lower region. It will also require a sedative during the procedure, which takes between 30 and 45 minutes.
Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years - Barium, a liquid compound, shows up as silvery white on an X-ray. This fluid is administered into the rectum in order to view the colon and detect any abnormalities. Since the colon must be empty in order to obtain the best pictures, the preparation is the same as other lower GI procedures.
CT colonography every 5 years - This is a "virtual" colonoscopy that is much less invasive than a traditional colonoscopy. Using computed tomography (CT), a machine will scan the lower body to obtain pictures of the inside of the colon. While the preparation is the same, there is no anesthesia involved and 95% of patients report very little or no discomfort during the procedure, which takes about 15 minutes.
People with increased risk of colon abnormalities may need more frequent testing. Those who have a personal or close family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, or have a personal history of inflammatory bowel conditions such as ulcerative colitis or Chron's Disease, should receive screenings every one to two years beginning at age 40. If genetic testing reveals a family history of hereditary colon problems, testing may need to begin earlier and performed more often.
Just minutes of your time every few years can make a huge difference in your quality of life. Don't wait - contact the GI Specialists of Northeast Philadelphia today to learn more and schedule a screening.
Find out why your Bala Cynwyd gastroenterologist might advise you to get a colonoscopy.
While it might be embarrassing to talk about, intestinal issues still need to be addressed. If you’ve been experiencing certain disconcerting symptoms than hopefully you’ve seen your Bala Cynwd gastroenterologist for a proper diagnosis. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? If you have and we’ve recommended a colonoscopy find out more about this procedure and why it’s necessary.
What is a colonoscopy?
During this procedure your Bala Cynwyd gastroenterologist uses a small, flexible tube to examine the inner lining of your large intestines to check for any problems such as unusual growths, bleeding or inflammation.
Why might my Bala Cynwyd gastroenterologist recommend this procedure?
If you are experiencing symptoms such as blood in the stool, changes in bowel movements, unexplained abdominal pain, or chronic diarrhea or constipation then we may advise you to have a colonoscopy to determine the root cause of these abnormalities. A colonoscopy is also used to detect colorectal cancer or precancerous conditions. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer we may also recommend regular colonoscopies.
What should I expect when I get a colonoscopy?
This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and only takes between 30 minutes to one hour to complete. First, we will first put an IV into your arm and administer medication through the IV to make you feel sleepy and relaxed. You will then lie down on your side so we can start the procedure.
During your procedure, we will insert the thin instrument into the rectum and slowly move it into the large intestines where we will be able to examine your colon and detect any issues. If a growth or abnormality is found, your Bala Cynwyd GI specialist will perform a biopsy, in which we remove some of the tissue for further analysis. We will usually be able to tell you the cause of your symptoms after your procedure, but the results of any laboratory tests we run (e.g. biopsy) may take a week or more.
If you are experiencing any of these problematic symptoms, then it’s time you visited your Bala Cynwyd GI doctor. A colonoscopy is a great tool for diagnosing gastrointestinal issues so we can stop your abdominal issues fast. Call Gastrointestinal Specialists today!
When most people hear the word colonoscopy, they have a negative reaction. They think that it will be uncomfortable and embarrassing. But the important thing to keep in mind is that a colonoscopy can save your life. Dr. Geoffrey L. Braden at G.I. Specialists of Northeast Philadelphia is here to help put you at ease.
For most people, beginning at the age of 50 you should have a screening colonoscopy every ten years. For some people who have certain risk factors, such as a close relative who has colon cancer, a screening colonoscopy should be performed more often. You and your doctor can make that determination. It is essential to know though that everyone is at risk for colorectal cancer and should be screened regularly.
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy visualizes the entire length of the colon. A thin, flexible, lighted tube with a video camera on the end is passed through the rectum and allows the G.I. specialist to inspect the entire colon. If something is seen that needs to be removed or biopsied, the G.I. specialist can do that right then.
A polyp is an abnormal growth in the lining of your colon or rectum. The G.I. specialist may find and remove a polyp during the colonoscopy. Most polyps are not cancer when they are removed; however, a polyp left in the colon could potentially turn into cancer in five to ten years, making screening colonoscopies very crucial.
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnoses in the United States in both men and women. The sooner the cancerous polyp is removed, the earlier you can start treatment. Also, when colon cancer is found in the early stages, the disease is easier to cure. This is another reason why getting regular screening colonoscopies is so critical.
Polyps are not the only thing that can be found during a colonoscopy. The G.I. specialist may find diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, or different types of colitis. Once these conditions are diagnosed, the G.I. specialist can then begin to treat you properly to alleviate any symptoms you may be having.
What You Should Do
If you are over 50 and have yet to have your first colonoscopy, please do not delay any longer in getting this important screening performed. Please contact Dr. Braden at (610) 664-9700 at the G.I. Specialists Bala Cynwyd office in Northeast Philadelphia to set up an appointment today. It just might save your life!
A colonoscopy is an important screening tool our gastroenterologists utilize to determine if you are at risk for colon cancer or to identify sources of rectal pain and bleeding. This procedure involves inserting a small, thin scope with a lighted camera on its end into the rectum to visualize the rectum and colon.
This procedure is often met with many myths and misconceptions. Our Bala Cynwyd, PA colonoscopy specialists have selected the most common to debunk so you can better understand the colonoscopy process.
Myth 1: I Don’t Need a Colonoscopy If I Don’t Have Symptoms
Unfortunately, colon cancer does not often cause symptoms until the cancer is in its advanced stages. A colonoscopy can detect potentially cancerous lesions before they become cancerous. A colonoscopy detects precancerous polyps in 15 percent of women and 25 percent of men older than age 50 on an annual basis, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Myth 2: A Colonoscopy Is Painful
While it’s true that a colonoscopy can be somewhat uncomfortable, every step is taken to reduce this discomfort. This includes conscious sedation throughout the procedure where you are in a state of sleep known as twilight sleep. Many people do not even remember the colonoscopy procedure. Only an estimated 5 percent of patients report some abdominal cramping following the procedure.
Myth 3: Colon Prep Is Horrible/Embarrassing
Prior to undergoing a colonoscopy, you will be asked to drink a special liquid preparation that promotes you to empty your colon of stool. A clean colon allows our Bala Cynwyd gastroenterologist to better visualize your colon. This enables the colonoscopy to be its most effective. Most of our patients report that hardest part of the colonoscopy procedure was drinking so much fluid. Our entire professional staff works to make the colonoscopy process as private and respectful as possible. You should not feel embarrassed about doing something positive for your health.
The American Cancer Society recommends most people have a colonoscopy by age 50 (those with family history or other gastrointestinal-related conditions may need to do so at an earlier age). To schedule your colonoscopy, call our Bala Cynwyd, PA office at (610) 664-9700