A colonoscopy might not be on the top of your priority list. However, this procedure is an incredibly important tool for preventing and diagnosing colon cancer, which affects about 150,000 new patients per year. But how can you tell if you should schedule a colonoscopy? Learn more with help from your Newport Beach, CA gastroenterologist Dr. Glenn D. Madokoro, MD at Newport Beach GI.
What can a colonoscopy do for me?
Doctors use a colonoscopy to detect signs of gastrointestinal conditions and colorectal cancer. The medical procedure allows your doctor to visually see the lining of your rectum and colon to spot irregularities and precancerous or cancerous growths called polyps. Finding polyps early greatly decreases your chances of developing colorectal cancer. Colonoscopy also allows your doctor to investigate problematic symptoms of gastrointestinal issues like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and administer their treatments.
Colonoscopy in Newport Beach, CA
Colonoscopy uses a piece of medical equipment called a colonoscope. This long, thin tube, which is inserted rectally, has a tiny camera attached to the end. If necessary, your doctor uses miniaturized tools threaded through the tube to take biopsies or remove polyps. The procedure itself begins with a colon cleanse beginning a few days before the colonoscopy. This empties the colon for the test. On the day of your test, your doctor administers sedation medication to relax you during the procedure. After inserting the colonoscope into the anus, the tube moves through the rectum to the colon, then fills the colon with air. This allows your doctor to see the colon’s lining. After the procedure, you will be required to stay in recovery for about an hour. The medications you take before the procedure require that you bring someone to drive you home afterward.
When should I schedule a colonoscopy?
The general rule of thumb is that patients over 50 with an average cancer risk should undergo a preventative colonoscopy every ten years. This gives Dr. Madokoro the chance to find any precancerous or cancerous polyps early, decreasing the chance of colorectal cancer or even preventing it altogether. Signs that you should schedule a colonoscopy include:
- gastrointestinal irritation
- irregular stools
- chronic diarrhea
- blood in the stool
- sudden or unexplained weight loss
Your doctor can help you determine if a colonoscopy is best for you and your situation. For more information on colonoscopy, please contact Dr. Glenn D. Madokoro, MD at Newport Beach GI in Newport Beach, CA. Call (949) 548-8800 to schedule your appointment for an examination today!