Colonoscopy is a procedure used to examine the inside of the body’s colon (large intestine) and rectum. It is typically done by a gastroenterologist, using a long, flexible tube called a colonoscope that has a camera and a light at the end.
During a colonoscopy, the patient is usually given sedation to help them relax and avoid discomfort. The colonoscope is then gently inserted into the rectum and advanced through the colon while the doctor looks at the images on a monitor.
The procedure is used to detect abnormalities such as polyps, ulcers, tumors, inflammation, or bleeding in the colon and rectum. If a polyp is found, it can be removed during the colonoscopy, and the tissue can be sent for further analysis to check for cancerous or pre-cancerous cells.
younger age group is the rate of colon cancer increasing.
The rate of colon cancer is increasing in younger age groups. While colon cancer is still more common in older adults, recent studies have shown that the incidence of colon cancer is rising among people under the age of 50.
According to the American Cancer Society, adults at average risk of colon cancer should begin screening at age 45, which is earlier than previously recommended. This is because of the increasing incidence of colon cancer in younger age groups.
The reasons for the rise in colon cancer rates among younger adults are not entirely clear. However, some possible factors include changes in diet and lifestyle, as well as genetic and environmental factors. It is important for all adults, regardless of age, to be aware of the risk factors for colon cancer and to discuss appropriate screening options with their healthcare provider. Early detection and treatment are key to improving outcomes and reducing the risk of complications from colon cancer.
Here’s some more information about colonoscopy :-
Colonoscopy is primarily done for two reasons :-
Screening for colon cancer :- Colonoscopy is one of the most effective ways to screen for colon cancer. It can detect polyps, which are abnormal growths that can develop into cancer over time. By removing polyps, colonoscopy can help prevent colon cancer.
Diagnosis of colon and rectal conditions :- Colonoscopy can also be used to diagnose and evaluate a variety of conditions that affect the colon and rectum, such as inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, chronic diarrhea, and unexplained abdominal pain.
Side effects of colorectal cancer screening
Colorectal cancer screening tests can cause some side effects, but they are generally mild and temporary. The specific side effects can depend on the type of screening test used.
Here are some of the potential side effects of the different types of colorectal cancer screening tests :-
Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) :- This test involves collecting a small sample of stool and analyzing it for the presence of blood. The main side effect of this test is false-positive results, which can lead to unnecessary follow-up tests and procedures. The test itself does not typically cause any discomfort or side effects.
Flexible Sigmoidoscopy :- This test involves inserting a thin, flexible tube with a camera into the rectum and lower colon to examine the area for abnormalities. Possible side effects can include bloating, cramping, and gas, as well as minor bleeding from the anus. Serious complications are rare but can include perforation of the colon or bleeding that requires medical attention.
Colonoscopy :- This test involves inserting a long, flexible tube with a camera into the rectum and entire colon to examine the area for abnormalities. Possible side effects can include bloating, cramping, and gas, as well as minor bleeding from the anus. Serious complications are rare but can include perforation of the colon or bleeding that requires medical attention. In some cases, anesthesia may be used during the procedure, which can cause temporary drowsiness and grogginess.
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CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy) : – This test involves using a CT scan to create images of the colon and rectum to look for abnormalities. Possible side effects can include discomfort from the air or gas used to inflate the colon, as well as exposure to radiation from the CT scan.
Stool DNA Test :- This test involves collecting a stool sample and analyzing it for genetic markers associated with colorectal cancer. The main side effect of this test is false-positive results, which can lead to unnecessary follow-up tests and procedures. The test itself does not typically cause any discomfort or side effects.
It is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of colorectal cancer screening with your healthcare provider to determine which test is right for you.
After a colonoscopy, it is important to follow some post-procedure guidelines to ensure a smooth recovery and reduce the risk of complications. Here are some general recommendations:
Take it easy :- It is normal to feel tired or groggy after a colonoscopy, especially if you were given sedation during the procedure. It is important to take it easy for the rest of the day and avoid strenuous activity, driving, or operating heavy machinery.
Stay hydrated :- Drink plenty of fluids, such as water, juice, or electrolyte solutions, to help flush out the colon and prevent dehydration. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated beverages, which can irritate the digestive system.
Resume eating gradually :- You may resume your regular diet unless your doctor instructs otherwise. However, it is a good idea to start with small, easily digestible meals and avoid spicy, fatty, or heavy foods that may cause discomfort or diarrhea.
Monitor for side effects :- It is normal to experience some mild side effects after a colonoscopy, such as bloating, gas, or mild cramping. However, if you experience severe or persistent pain, bleeding, fever, or signs of infection, contact your healthcare provider right away.
Follow up with your doctor :- Your healthcare provider will discuss the results of the colonoscopy with you and recommend any follow-up care or treatment if needed. It is important to attend all follow-up appointments and screenings to ensure early detection and treatment of any potential issues.
Remember, if you have any concerns or questions about your recovery after a colonoscopy, do not hesitate to contact your healthcare provider.