Understand everything you could need to know about getting a colonoscopy at our New York office.
Whether you or someone you know is getting a colonoscopy for the first time, chances are good that you may have questions about this upcoming procedure. Our New York gastroenterologist, Dr. Daniel Alpert, is available in-office to answer any questions you may have so that you feel comfortable and relaxed during your next colonoscopy. For now, though, here are some of the most commonly asked questions about colonoscopies, and their answers:
Q. What is a colonoscopy?
A. This procedure allows our GI doctor to be able to look at the lining and health of the colon with the help of a camera, which is guided into the large intestines through the rectum. This exam is often performed to check for early signs of colorectal cancer.
Q. Why is a colonoscopy performed?
A. A colonoscopy can be both a preventive and diagnostic procedure. Everyone over the age of 50 years old should start getting routine colonoscopies. Even if you appear to be healthy and don’t have any risk factors, a colonoscopy is necessary for older men and women.
Of course, you may also require a colonoscopy if you are dealing with certain symptoms such as,
- Rectal bleeding
- Unexplained abdominal pain
- Changes in bowel movements
- Persistent diarrhea or constipation
- Unexplained weight loss
Q. What are the symptoms of colon cancer?
A. During the earliest stages, colon cancer usually doesn’t present any symptoms, which is why getting routine colonoscopies is important for everyone. In fact, getting a colonoscopy is the best way to prevent colon cancer from developing in the first place, for we can easily remove precancerous polyps during the procedure. As colon cancer progresses, you may notice changes in bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation, or rectal bleeding.
Q. How often should I get a colonoscopy?
A. Once you turn 50 years old you should schedule your first routine colonoscopy with us. Of course, if you have any risk factors, you may want to schedule your colonoscopy earlier. Risk factors include,
- A family or personal history of polyps or colorectal cancer
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Sedentary lifestyle
- A poor diet that is high in fat
- Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
If your colonoscopy results are negative, you may not need to undergo another colonoscopy for 10 years; however, if your results are positive (meaning that we found abnormal changes to the lining of your colon or polyps) then you may need to get a colonoscopy more regularly.
If you need to schedule a colonoscopy or if you are dealing with any gastrointestinal symptoms that have you concerned, then it’s time to call our New York gastroenterology office to schedule a checkup. We are available at (212) 599-7910!