Why get a colonoscopy and how often?
A Colonoscopy is a procedure in which a Gastroenterologist uses a scope to look inside the entire large intestine (colon) from the rectum to the lower part of the small intestine. By looking inside, the physician can see the health of the colon, and can biopsy suspicious areas, remove polyps, and determine the cause of inflammation or bleeding.
A colonoscopy is the number one procedure for discovering early colon cancer and considered routine screening. A colonoscopy is usually recommended for prevention and early detection by the age of 50 years old. If you have a relative who has had colon cancer, you may need a colonoscopy at a younger age.
It is recommended that we have a colonoscopy every 10 years if there are no abnormalities in the colon. If you have bleeding, polyps, or inflammatory bowel disease it is recommended to have a colonoscopy every 5 years. I get a colonoscopy every 5 years because of a history of rectal bleeding and a chronic fissure in that area.
The preparation is worse than the procedure. Since your colon must be completely empty of all debris, you must take a laxative formula the day before. There are various formulas that doctors use for their patients to prepare the colon.
I just had my colonoscopy. For my prep this time I had to take laxative pills and a whole bottle of Miralax mixed with Gatorade. So, guess what you do for the rest of the day? Spend a lot of time in the bathroom. I did several soduko puzzles and finished reading my New York Times. I also caught up on some quiet work and watched some of my favorite DVR programs. I made the day as pleasant as I could.
The day of the procedure is usually uneventful for the patient. Most often you are given medication that makes you forget you are there and you generally want to go out to eat when you are finished.
I had my colonoscopy late in the day at 4:30. My colon was clear but I was starving. All went well and I am so glad I did it. I felt nothing and had a great dinner after.
For more information about a colonoscopy go to WebMD.
Dr. Oz had a recent colonoscopy and they found a polyp. He discussed his colonoscopy with Larry King. Dr. Oz's Colonoscopy.
If you are over the age of 50 and have never had a colonoscopy this would be a good time to talk to your doctor and have it done.