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.