Getting a colonoscopy for the first time? Then you might be curious to know more about it.
No matter how healthy you are, at some point, you will need to get a colonoscopy, and our Miami, Hialeah, Coral Gables, and Pembroke Pines, FL gastroenterologists understand that you might have questions along the way (particularly if this is your first colonoscopy). Here are some of the most frequently answered questions about getting a colonoscopy.
Q. What is a colonoscopy?
A. A colonoscopy is an endoscopic procedure in which a thin, flexible tube with a camera at the end is carefully inserted into the rectum and guided through the colon so that our Miami, Hialeah, Coral Gables, and Pembroke Pines GI doctor can examine the large intestines for any changes or issues within the lower gastrointestinal tract.
Q. Why is a colonoscopy performed?
A. Both men and women should begin to get routine colonoscopies by the age of 50 to screen for colorectal cancer. This is the most effective tool for detecting the presence of cancer and pre-cancer.
Of course, we may also recommend getting a colonoscopy if you are dealing with intestinal symptoms that require a more in-depth evaluation to make a proper diagnosis. If you are dealing with rectal bleeding, unexpected weight loss, abdominal pain, abdominal swelling or other intestinal symptoms then a colonoscopy may be the best way to determine what’s going on.
Q. How long does a colonoscopy take?
A. The procedure itself only takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete. Of course, it might take longer if we have to remove colon polyps. Patients are placed under sedation so they won’t feel anything during their procedure. Some patients even fall asleep and don’t remember the procedure at all.
Q. How often should I get a routine colonoscopy?
A. Healthy individuals should get their first colonoscopy by the time they turn 50 years old. If you have risk factors for colorectal cancer then you’ll want to talk to your gastroenterologist about whether you should come in for routine colonoscopies earlier. If you don’t have any risk factors and your colonoscopy results were normal then you probably won’t need a repeat screening for 10 years; however, if colon polyps are found then you may need to get screened more regularly (about every five years).
Q. What are some risk factors associated with colorectal cancer?
A. Risk factors for colorectal cancer include:
- Inflammatory bowel disease (e.g. ulcerative colitis; Crohn’s disease)
- A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- Being overweight or obese
- Poor diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Heavy alcohol consumption
Do you need to schedule your first colonoscopy? Do you have questions about this or other services we offer? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the caring, knowledgeable team at Digestive Medicine Associates. We offer locations in Hialeah, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines and Miami, FL, to serve you better.