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How Is A Colonoscopy Done?
A colonoscopy is an effective medical procedure for examining the colon to check for various gastrointestinal problems, such as polyps. It is also used as a screening tool for colon cancer. Healthy adults with no family history of colon cancer should have their first colonoscopy exam at age 50. A gastroenterologist can tell you if you might need one sooner than that. Daniel J. Alpert, M.D., PLLC, Dr. Alpert is your New York, NY gastroenterologist. He can help you determine when you should have a colonoscopy performed.
The Colonoscopy Procedure
A colonoscopy is performed using a colonoscope, which is a flexible tube with a tiny video camera attached to the end. The colonoscope is gently inserted into the colon through the anus. The camera at the end allows the gastroenterologist to observe the colon’s interior. If any suspicious areas are detected, the gastroenterologist can use the colonoscope to extract a sample for biopsy. Additionally, if polyps are found, they can be removed during the procedure, which is important because some polyps can develop into cancer.
Who Needs a Colonoscopy?
Everyone should have a colonoscopy exam around age 50. However, there are several situations that call for performing a colonoscopy at a younger age. For instance, adult men and women with a family history of colon cancer should have a colonoscopy by age 40. In some cases, depending on the age of the family member(s) with colon cancer, a colonoscopy might be performed even earlier than age 40. Colonoscopies are also performed on patients of varying ages who have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or other gastrointestinal problems.
If you are age 50 or older and have never had a colonoscopy, consider scheduling an appointment with a gastroenterologist to discuss having one. For adults of any age struggling with gastrointestinal issues, a colonoscopy can potentially determine the cause of the gastrointestinal problems.
Dr. Alpert of Daniel J. Alpert, M.D., PLLC in New York, NY can assess your individual situation and advise you if a colonoscopy is needed at this time.
Call today at (212) 599-7910.
What your gastroenterologist wants you to know
The right time to get a colonoscopy is if you are over 50 years old, or if you have a family history of colon cancer. There are also signs and symptoms to pay attention to which may indicate the need for a colonoscopy. You should see your gastroenterologist to schedule a colonoscopy if you have:
- Rectal bleeding
- Black, tarry stools which may indicate blood in your stool
- A family history of intestinal growths or polyps
- Chronic, recurrent constipation or diarrhea
- Chronic, recurrent pain in your abdomen
A colonoscopy is the primary screening tool to determine if you have colorectal cancer. A colonoscopy also helps to diagnose colorectal cancer at an early stage, when it is more easily treatable. Don’t delay having a colonoscopy because the longer you wait, the more serious colorectal cancer becomes.
The American Cancer Society states that colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in this country, with over 49,000 people dying from the disease this year alone.
A colonoscopy typically requires you to be sedated. Along, ultra-thin flexible tube is inserted into your rectum and guided up through your intestines. The tube contains a camera at one end which allows your gastroenterologist to view your colon, remove polyps or take a small sample of tissue for biopsy.
When you come in for your colonoscopy, be sure to bring a driver with you to take you home, and plan on spending 2 to 3 hours in the office. The procedure takes about 45 minutes, and additional time is required for you to recover from sedation.
Remember that early diagnosis is made possible by having a colonoscopy and that early diagnosis is critical to start early treatment. You don’t want to be a cancer statistic, so if you are over 50 or have a family history of colon cancer, take the time to schedule your colonoscopy. Protect your health by calling today!
Have a question for our New York, NY gastroenterologist? We are here to answer some of your most popular questions.
The GI tract can be rather confusing sometimes. You may be dealing with stomach cramps or have trouble with heartburn. If so, you may end up coming up with a laundry list of questions for our GI doctor. Well, now we are here to provide you with some of the answers you’ve been looking for.
Q. Why should I see a gastroenterologist?
A. If you’ve talked to your family physician about some of the gastrointestinal issues you’ve been experiencing (e.g. heartburn; diarrhea; abdominal pain), then chances are good that your doctor will refer you to a gastroenterologist. You may also want to visit us if you have a family history of colon cancer or if you are over the age of 50 (to start getting routine colon cancer screenings).
Q. What problems can a gastroenterologist treat?
A. As you probably already know, a gastroenterologist is a medical professional who specializes in preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions of the gastrointestinal system as well as digestive organs. This includes everything from the esophagus and stomach to the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.
Q. Should I get a colonoscopy from my New York, NY gastroenterologist?
A. Any man or woman over the age of 50 should start getting routine colonoscopies. If results come back normal, then you may not need to come in for another colonoscopy for another 10 years. Of course, if you have a family history of colon cancer, if you are African American or you have other risk factors, then we may determine that you should come in more regularly and earlier for screenings.
Q. What are some ways to treat heartburn?
A. While some people may be able to remedy their heartburn by taking an over-the-counter medication, if these medications aren’t doing the trick then it’s time you turned to us for a prescription medication that could help reduce flare-ups. Of course, avoiding acidic or spicy foods and eating smaller portions can also help reduce your heartburn symptoms.
Q. How can I prevent colon cancer?
A. There are many easy lifestyle changes you can make to improve your health and reduce your chances of colon cancer including limiting alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, eating a healthy balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight. Everyone, no matter their risk level, should be screened for colon cancer.
If you have any other questions that we didn’t address here, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and your New York, NY gastroenterologist a call. If you need to sit down and talk to us, we would be happy to schedule a consultation for you.
Welcome to the Blog of Daniel J. Alpert, M.D.
Daniel J. Alpert, M.D. would like to welcome you to our blog. Here you will find informative and useful postings about gastroenterology and our practice.
At Daniel J. Alpert, M.D. we believe that educated patients are better prepared to make decisions regarding the health of their digestive system. Our blog was designed to provide you with the latest gastroenterology developments and valuable health advice from our dedicated team.
Daniel J. Alpert, M.D. hopes you find our blog to be a great resource for keeping up to date with proper digestive health care and treatments.
We welcome all comments and questions.
-- Daniel J. Alpert, M.D.