A colonoscopy is an important diagnostic tool that could save your life. Your general surgeon is an expert at preventive gastrointestinal services, including providing colonoscopies.
Why a Colonoscopy Procedure Is Important
A colonoscopy can help detect colorectal cancer in its early stages, so treatment can begin early. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.
When You Should Have Your First Colonoscopy
You should have your first colonoscopy by the time you reach the age of 45. You should continue to have a colonoscopy every few years as your gastroenterologist recommends.
Reasons To Have a Colonoscopy
In addition to routine colonoscopies, there are other reasons why it might be recommended to have a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy might be indicated if you are experiencing:
- Bleeding in your rectum
- Blood in your stool
- Chronic diarrhea
- Chronic constipation
- Frequent abdominal pain
Preparing for Your Colonoscopy
You will be placed on a liquid diet before your colonoscopy. You will also take prepared laxatives to clean out your colon before the procedure.
What To Expect During Your Colonoscopy
You will be sedated during your colonoscopy procedure, so it’s necessary to bring someone with you who can drive you home after your procedure.
During your procedure, a thin, flexible tube will be inserted into your rectum and guided up into your colon. The tube has a camera attached to one end which allows your general surgeon to view your colon.
If your general surgeon finds any abnormal tissue or polyps, they can be removed and sent off for a biopsy if necessary. The biopsy can indicate if the tissue is benign or cancerous.
The colonoscopy procedure takes about 45 minutes, but you should plan on spending 2 to 3 hours in recovery due to sedation.
To find out more about when a colonoscopy might be indicated and what to expect during your colonoscopy, talk with your doctor. Call Dr. Jeffrey R. Cole, M.D. at Cole Surgical Arts, PC in Fort Payne, AL. You can reach him in the office by calling (256) 273-4300, so call today.