A colonoscopy is a procedure in which a doctor examines the lining of the large intestine, which is the colon, rectum, and anus, and removes abnormal growths, called polyps. A long, flexible tube equipped with a tiny video camera is inserted through the rectum into the colon. The camera displays images of the inside of the colon on a video monitor, allowing your doctor to detect any abnormal growths, which may be precancerous or cancerous.
Colonoscopies are generally performed as part of a routine screening for colorectal cancer, which is cancer that starts in either the colon or rectum. Screening tests can help find cancer at an early stage when it’s most treatable. Additionally, it can also be used to diagnose colitis, diverticulosis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Let’s discuss the signs you may need to get a colonoscopy and the benefits of getting one.
Signs You Need A Colonoscopy
When the following symptoms are present, your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy to take a good look at your colon lining:
- You have bleeding from the rectum or blood in the stool.
- There is a change in the color of your stools. Black stools are not normal.
- Your bowel habits have changed. You may be chronically constipated.
- You have abdominal pain.
- You have had unexplained changes in weight or appetite.
The Benefits of a Colonoscopy
A colonoscopy is an important tool in preventive healthcare. Below are just some of the benefits of getting a colonoscopy:
- It is a quick and painless procedure. You will be sedated and will feel absolutely no pain during or after the colonoscopy.
- Preparing for a colonoscopy is now much improved and refined, less of a hassle, and in some cases, can be done on the same day as the procedure.
- It can help find cancer at an early stage when it’s most treatable. The procedure can save your life.
- It is also a treatment tool that can be used to remove precancerous growths called polyps before they turn into cancer, thereby preventing the growth of cancer.
- It also allows your doctor to identify and treat other conditions of the digestive system, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
- A colonoscopy can help restore good digestive health.
- You only need to get it done once every 10 years if your test result is normal.
By the time you reach the age of 45, the benefits of a colonoscopy outweigh the risks involved. In fact, by the age of 40, it is recommended that patients ask their doctor about recommendations for a colonoscopy. Colon cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States, affecting both men and women. With regular colonoscopies, you can prevent the growth of colon cancer and save your life.
Schedule Your Colonoscopy in Central Texas
Your choice of provider for a colonoscopy matters greatly. There are benchmarks – called adenoma detection rate, or ADR – which measure the percentage a doctor detects adenomas during the procedure, and these should be a major consideration when choosing a provider.
Austin Gastroenterology is the largest GI practice in Central Texas. Our gastroenterologists are well-trained and highly experienced colonoscopy doctors. We are proud of our ADR rates, which are significantly higher than the national benchmarks – 54% ADR in men and 42% in women.
Let us know your concerns about colonoscopy, and we will address them in detail with you. At Austin Gastroenterology, we want our patients to be well-informed and empowered to make decisions about their health. To schedule an appointment, call our office nearest you or use our online request form.