Why Is it Important to Get Routine Colonoscopies?


Are you aware that the five-year survival rate for individuals with colon cancer is 90% if it is diagnosed and treated in the early stage of its advancement? In terms of diagnosing colon and rectal cancer and other colorectal concerns, colonoscopy has a reputation among gastrointestinal specialists as the most reliable, effective examination.

The professionals at Adult Gastroenterology Associates routinely conduct colonoscopy screenings for individuals throughout the community. Keep reading as our Tulsa, OK digestive health team explains more about the vital role colonoscopies play in protecting your GI health and wellness.

Who is a good candidate for a colonoscopy?

Periodic colonoscopies are advised for individuals aged 45 and older. Even if you are younger, you may be advised to undergo a screening for cancer if any of the following criteria apply:

  • You have a form of inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBD) (like ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease)
  • You have symptoms that may indicate colorectal cancer, such as:
    • Diarrhea
    • Abdominal pain or discomfort
    • Unintentional weight loss
    • Constipation
    • Blood in your stool
  • Your family has a health history that includes colorectal cancer or polyps

It's important to understand that the symptoms outlined above are also representative of other digestive health disorders, which is why it's imperative to receive a colonoscopy to assess your GI symptoms and health. Get in touch with Adult Gastroenterology Associates to find out further information surrounding other disorders that may be found with a colonoscopy.

How long is the colonoscopy process?

Generally, the entire colonoscopy process commonly lasts a few hours, from preparation to recovery. You will need to arrive at your colonoscopy doctor's facility or endoscopy center in Tulsa, OK 1 – 1.5 hours prior to your scheduled exam time. Doing so will allow you extra time to complete any necessary paperwork and change into a medical gown. Next, you'll be taken to the procedure room, where the team will administer sedation to keep you relaxed and at ease throughout the colonoscopy process.

Generally speaking, a screening colonoscopy exam can take 15 – 30 minutes. Your specialist will carefully advance the colonoscope (a slender, probe-mounted camera) into the rectum, gradually advancing it forward and viewing the live video for abnormalities. If colorectal polyps are found during the screening, your gastroenterologist may remove them during the exam.

Following the exam, you will relax in a recovery room to allow the sedative effects to dissipate. This could take up to an hour or so, depending on the amount of sedation given and your individual reaction to it. You may still feel lethargic for the remainder of the day, so arrange to have a reliable ride home. It's also best to avoid anything strenuous or signing important paperwork during recovery. You will be given a report of your colonoscopy results and should be contacted by your GI doctor with any biopsy results generally within a week or so.

Colonoscopy screenings really are a minimal investment in time for the diagnostic advantages they provide. For further details on what to expect from your colonoscopy exam, connect with an Adult Gastroenterology Associates location within your community to find a board-certified doctor who offers colonoscopies in Tulsa, OK.

Are there any colonoscopy risks I should be aware of?

When evaluating risks associated with the procedure, there is a small chance that some indications or issues (including colon or rectal growths) might not be readily visible in your colonoscopy results. It's vital to reach out to your GI specialist and tell them of any new or persisting symptoms.

Additional possible risks associated with a colonoscopy screening are perforation of the large intestine, adverse response to the sedative medication, or internal bleeding (in the event any growths are extracted). Keep in mind, however, that fewer than 1% of colonoscopy exams have complications, the majority of which are minor. Should you have any concerns or questions involving the potential risks associated with a colonoscopy, our Adult Gastroenterology Associates providers will be pleased to go over those with you.

Partner with a colonoscopy doctor in Tulsa, OK

Given that colon cancer rates are increasing in the younger adult population, the significance of scheduling a colonoscopy to protect your GI health cannot be overemphasized. If you are age 45 or older or have an elevated chance of colon cancer, reach out to the gastroenterologists at Adult Gastroenterology Associates to schedule a colonoscopy procedure. Take the initiative with your digestive health and reach out to our Tulsa, OK practice without delay.