A colonoscopy doesn’t top anyone’s list of fun activities. However, it is a necessary procedure that can alert you and your physician to colon cancer. Additionally, your doctor may use a colonoscopy to determine the cause of unexplained gastrointestinal issues such as abdominal pain or rectal bleeding. The thought of a colonoscopy can be frightening. However, knowing what to expect may help decrease feelings of fear and anxiety.
12. What Is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is an exam in which a specialized scope is used to visualize the walls of the rectum and colon. This scope, called a colonoscope, is a long, flexible narrow tube with a camera. Your physician will thread this tube up through your rectum to be able to see any abnormalities along the walls of your colon. These abnormalities may include ulcers, areas of bleeding, or clumps of cells called polyps.
11. When Should You Have a Colonoscopy?
According to the National Institutes of Health, most individuals should begin screening for colorectal cancer around the age of 50. Those with risk factors for colon cancer may require screening at an earlier age. Individuals at higher risk for developing colon cancer are males, African Americans, and those with a family history of colorectal cancer. Those who suffer from inflammatory bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and certain genetic conditions may also have an increased cancer risk. You may also require a colonoscopy if you suffer from symptoms of unexplained weight loss, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or diarrhea.