Our Gastroenterology Blog
Posts for: May, 2022
Everyone can and will benefit from getting a colonoscopy during their lifetime.
A colonoscopy is an important screening and diagnostic tool. Yet about one in three adults between 50 to 75 have not gotten tested for colorectal cancer. A colonoscopy is the most reliable and effective way to catch colorectal cancer early, and yet people aren’t turning to their gastroenterologist as they should. Here’s what you should know about a colonoscopy, including when you need to start getting these screenings regularly.
What is a colonoscopy?
This diagnostic exam is the best way for a gastroenterologist to check the health of your gastrointestinal tract. They use a small scope with a camera attached and direct it into the rectum and gently through the colon (lower intestinal tract). The camera allows them to look for polyps or other symptoms of colorectal cancer. This is the most effective way to detect colorectal cancer, and even healthy individuals can benefit from colonoscopies.
When might someone need a colonoscopy?
There are many reasons why a colonoscopy may be recommended. Here are some of the top reasons to turn to your gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy.
You just turned 45 years old: Is it your 45th birthday? If so, you may want to add a colonoscopy to your routine preventive health care. These screenings are the best way to protect you against colorectal cancer, and both men and women should get them.
You are genetically predisposed: If you have a personal or family history of colon polyps or colorectal cancer, you will most certainly want to get colonoscopies more often. When you come in for a consultation, we will be able to determine just how often you should come based on your risk factors and the results of past colonoscopies.
You're dealing with gastrointestinal issues: If you are dealing with rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, or other gastrointestinal problems, then a colonoscopy may be the best way to detect the cause of your symptoms. If we find any polyps or suspicious growths during your colonoscopy, we can often remove them and biopsy them during this procedure.
Whether you have questions about getting a colonoscopy or you need to schedule your upcoming colorectal screening, a gastroenterologist is going to the medical specialist you’ll want to turn to for this test. Protect your colorectal health with this simple procedure.
Wondering why you're dealing with abdominal pain?
Everyone deals with a stomachache from time to time. Typically, it will go away on its own, and it’s nothing to worry about; however, certain symptoms may warrant having a gastroenterologist take a closer look. Here’s what you should know about abdominal pain.
What causes abdominal pain?
There is a laundry list of conditions, infections, and diseases that can cause sharp, aching, stabbing, or cramping pain in the abdomen. Some causes are minor and will go away on their own, while others will require urgent medical attention. Common causes include,
- Food poisoning
- Food allergies (different than a food intolerance)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Gastroenteritis (referred to as a “stomach bug”)
For women, abdominal pain might not have anything to do with the digestive tract and may be due to menstruation, ovarian polyps or cysts, or other reproductive issues.
If your abdominal pain is minor and goes away in a couple of hours, it’s probably not something to worry about; however, severe abdominal pain is nothing to ignore. Severe abdominal pain, as well as worsening or persistent abdominal pain could be due to,
- Irritable bowel diseases (e.g., Crohn’s disease; ulcerative colitis)
- Stomach ulcers
- Gallstones or kidney stones
When should I see a gastroenterologist?
It’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist if you are experiencing,
- Constant abdominal pain that lasts days
- Pain that keeps coming back
- Other symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation that also doesn’t go away after a few days
- Changes in bowel movements or urinary/bladder function
- Unexpected and sudden weight loss
If you are dealing with severe abdominal pain or abdominal pain accompanied by nausea, vomiting, trouble breathing, pain in the chest, or bloody stools, you must seek immediate medical attention.
What is your gut trying to tell you? If you are dealing with persistent abdominal pain or stomach pains that concern you, then these are reasons to turn to a gastroenterologist.