February 16, 2017

Five Reasons You Might Need a Colonoscopy as You Age

A colonoscopy is a procedure doctors use to get a view of your large bowel and the beginning of your small intestine. It isn’t comfortable and there are risks involved in this procedure, but having it done can help diagnose and treat you for a variety of serious health problems. There are several reasons your doctor may order this test for you as you age.

You Might Need a Colonoscopy as You Age

Crohn’s Disease

This disease shows up as an inflammation in the mucous lining of your digestive tract, and may cause you to have diarrhea, abdominal pain or weight loss. By performing a colonoscopy, your doctor will be able to see the tell-tale ‘cobblestone’ effect on the lining of the bowel in order to make a definitive diagnosis and begin proper treatment. If caught in time, a Crohn’s diagnosis can usually be managed with the proper treatments and diet changes.

Ulcerative Colitis

An autoimmune disease that causes painful ulcers to form in the digestive tract, ulcerative colitis is frequently diagnosed using the results of a colonoscopy. Symptoms such as gastrointestinal distress, blood in your stool or diarrhea may prompt your doctor to order the test. It should be noted that a follow-up colonoscopy is sometimes used to make sure that medication or dietary modifications are having the desired effects.

Colon Cancer

Both Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis have been implicated in being a cause of colon cancer, along with other factors such as diet, activity level and smoking status. For those who suffer from either disease, your doctor may order a colonoscopy regularly to check for cancer. He or she may also order this test as part of your health care routine if you have a family history of cancer or other risk factors. Colon cancer can often be treated, but an ostomy and ostomy supplies may be necessary to live the fullest life possible.

Polyps and Other Benign Growths

Sometimes, tissue will grown into a polyp in the bowel wall. This can cause blood in the stool, which is found during a fecal occult sampling. During a colonoscopy, your doctor can find and remove these growths and stop the bleeding. The polyps are then sent to the lab to check for signs of abnormal cells or cancer.

Exploratory Reasons

If you have recently begun to experience bowel issues, your doctor may not even hazard a tentative diagnosis before performing a colonoscopy. While this may seem strange to patients who may not want an exploratory procedure without reason, the test is often the best way to make a definitive diagnosis and begin the proper course of treatment.

Your doctor may order a colonoscopy for many reasons as you grow older. The procedure has a low instance of serious complications and is an excellent diagnostic tool. Although you probably won’t be looking forward to this procedure, it can be a great help in diagnosing and treating problems before they become more serious. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to discuss them fully with your healthcare provider.

Comments

  1. Colonoscopies are needed for various reasons. They use them to see inside your intestines and check to make sure nothing is blocking it. I did not know that they could find Crohn’s disease by using a colonoscopy on you.

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