When Should I Get a Colonoscopy?
posted: Sep. 09, 2020.
Catch colorectal cancer early with the help of a colonoscopy.
When it comes to your health, taking preventive measures now is always the best way to protect against health problems in the future. So it should seem like a no-brainer that a colonoscopy screening would be an important preventive tool; however, about one in three adults between 50 to 75 years old have not gotten the routine colonoscopy they need. The truth is, a colonoscopy saves lives, and our Greenbelt, MD, gastroenterologists can help you live a long, healthy life through this simple diagnostic and preventive screening tool.
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a simple in-patient procedure performed by our team of gastroenterologists here in Greenbelt, MD. A thin, flexible tube (known as a colonoscope) is inserted into the rectum. At the end of the scope is a lens, which allows our doctors to be able to examine the lining of the rectum and colon (small intestines).
The colonoscope is gently and carefully guided through the colon to look for polyps or other early signs of colorectal cancer. Today, a colonoscopy is still the most effective screening tool we have for catching colorectal cancer during the earliest stages when it’s treatable.
When should I get a colonoscopy?
It’s recommended that healthy men and women with a moderate risk of colorectal cancer get their first colonoscopy by the age of 50. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or colon polyps, or other risk factors, then you may want to talk with your gastroenterologist about getting screened at 45 years old.
Of course, a colonoscopy can also shed light on certain GI problems you may be having. So, your doctor may recommend getting a colonoscopy if you are experiencing,
- Abdominal pain
- Rectal bleeding
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation
- Unexpected weight loss
- Recurring or persistent intestinal issues
- Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease; ulcerative colitis)
How often do I need to get a colonoscopy?
If your results come back normal and you aren’t at an increased risk for colorectal cancer, then you probably won’t need another colonoscopy for 10 years. You will continue to get regular colonoscopies until 75 years old. If colon polyps are detected during your colonoscopy, then you may need to come in every five years.
GI Med Health provides comprehensive gastroenterology and hepatology services to people living in and around Greenbelt, MD. If it’s time to schedule a routine colonoscopy then call us today at (301) 982-7900.