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How Important Is A Colonoscopy?

From the Pelvic Floor Articles List

Why have a colonoscopy?Is a colonoscopy important? If so, when should I have one and how often?


Most women have heard of a colonoscopy. If you've never had one, you probably aren’t too anxious to schedule one any time soon. If you're over 50, you need to rethink your plan.

Thankfully, it’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s also beneficial for you and important for your overall health. Besides checking the inside of your colon, it could help diagnosis some pelvic floor dysfunctions. More importantly, however, it could save your life.

What is it?

A colonoscopy is a test that lets your doctor see inside your rectum, colon, and part of your small intestine. During the test, your doctor will use a thin, lighted scope, called a colonoscope, that has a camera to take pictures and biopsies of any tissues that looks suspicious.

Why is it done?

A colonoscopy is used to look for polyps, tumors, ulcers, and other areas of concern. Left untreated, polyps could become cancerous. Other conditions could worsen, making them more symptomatic and uncomfortable. The goal is to find changes and abnormalities early to prevent cancer and progression of disease.

When should you have one?

After you turn 50, a colonoscopy becomes a routine check up, similar to a mammogram. If you are younger than 50, you may need a colonoscopy for the the following chronic symptoms:
  • abdominal pain
  • rectal bleeding
  • change in bowel activity
  • chronic constipation
  • chronic diarrhea
  • intestinal problems
  • unexplained weight loss
  • rectal bleeding
  • bloody stools

How do you prepare?

Your colon needs to be clean for your colonoscopy, so your doctor will prescribe a bowel prep. Every doctor has a different protocol, so be sure to follow your colonoscopy instructions exactly. They’ll involve some type of laxative and a restricted diet. You’ll have to avoid some medications and certain foods, including solids, red and purple-colored food, pulp, and dairy. Your doctor will give you a list of things to avoid. It’s a good idea to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration – be sure to have more than just water so can replace the electrolytes you need, too.

How long is the test?

The test should only last between 20 minutes to an hour. You’ll be given a type of sedation, usually a conscious sedation, so you’ll need a driver to take you home. Your doctor may also recommend having someone stay with you for several hours until the anesthesia has completely worn off. You should be able to eat as soon as you feel up to it.

Follow up.

When to schedule your next colonoscopy will depend on what is found. If there are no polyps or abnormalities, you’ll be off the hook for 10 years. If, on the other hand, your doctor does find some polyps or other concerns, you’ll need a follow up colonoscopy sooner, possibly in 3 to 5 years.


This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

09-15-2016 - 12:37 AM


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