This diagnostic and screening procedure is important for your gastrointestinal health.
Maybe you’ve never had a colonoscopy before but chances are good that you’ve heard about it. After all, everyone will need to have one at some point during their life. So, what is a colonoscopy and why it is required? Our Houston gastroenterologist Dr. Krishnamurthy Shivshanker is here to tell you more.
A Colonoscopy as a Preventive Procedure
A colonoscopy allows our gastroenterologist to see in great detail the health of the intestinal tract in a way that an X-ray or other imaging tools cannot. By directing a thin flexible tube with a camera (known as an endoscope) through the rectum and into the colon and intestines, we can look for polyps and other early warning signs of colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer happens to both men and women and most of the time symptoms do not manifest until the cancer has already spread. This is why it’s so important that everyone, no matter how healthy they are, undergo a colonoscopy once they reach 50 years old. If you have any risk factors (e.g. family history of colorectal cancer; smoker) then our Houston GI doctor may recommend getting a colonoscopy sooner (this is something we would be happy to discuss with you. Healthy individuals can often get away with getting just one colonoscopy every 10 years).
During a colonoscopy, we can also remove polyps (also known as adenomas) within the colon and rectum. While many polyps are benign, there are some that can turn cancerous. By getting routine colonoscopies we can remove these potentially serious polyps to prevent colorectal cancer.
A Colonoscopy as a Diagnostic Tool
Sometimes a colonoscopy is recommended if you are experiencing certain symptoms that are difficult to diagnose without seeing what’s going on within the digestive tract. A gastrointestinal specialist may advise you to have a colonoscopy if you are experiencing rectal bleeding, unexplained abdominal pain or symptoms that may indicate bleeding within the intestines.
Are you living in Houston and need to schedule your first colonoscopy? Experiencing certain gastrointestinal symptoms that aren’t going away? If so, then call Houston Digestive Diseases Consultants today. We can help.