Say everything is moving along just fine in your digestive tract. No pain, no complaints, no issues.
But you still need to start getting regular screening colonoscopies by the time you are 45 years old (or sooner, if needed).
Why? Think of it like a regular dental examination: If you keep up with your cleanings and checkups, you can head off potential problems before they turn into bigger issues.
Colonoscopies are painless and take about 30 minutes — and it could save your life.
“We want patients to have regular screening colonoscopies because we know they can help save lives,” said Dr. Mary Jacob of Gastrointestinal Specialists P.C. in Troy, Michigan.
Here are the Top 5 Reasons Why You Need a Colonoscopy:
1. Colon cancer and polyp screening
The No. 1 reason everyone should get a colonoscopy at age 45 (or sooner depending on your family history) is for the prevention and early detection of colon cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women have a lifetime risk of developing colon cancer. But because of colonoscopies, colon cancer is one of the few cancers that can be prevented — and early detection is lowering the colon cancer death rate.
(Adults ages 50 and older may qualify for a Colonoscopy Now, to save time and money!)
2. You have a family history of colon cancer
When your blood relatives have something like colon cancer, it increases the risk that you could develop it as well. Colon cancer screenings like a colonoscopy keep an eye on things and are often performed at a younger age as a preventive measure.
3. You have a personal history of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Patients with Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s colitis are at increased risk for developing colon cancer. Even if feeling great and your disease is controlled on medical therapy, surveillance colonoscopies are needed every 1-2 years to screen for early changes of colon cancer.
4. Rectal bleeding
Anytime you’re bleeding, you need to know why. If you fall and cut yourself, you know the reason you’re bleeding. Internally, it’s harder to know why, and often presents as rectal bleeding or in bloody stool. Not all rectal bleeding is from hemorrhoids. You may want to ignore the signs, but don’t: An evaluation by one of our doctors at Gastrointestinal Specialists P.C. in Troy, Michigan and colonoscopy can help determine the source of the bleeding, and catch a problem early.
5. Change in bowel habits
You know the foods you eat contribute to what happens in your digestive tract, so you may excuse the after effects of what you’ve been consuming — but there could be underlying issues requiring treatment by a GI specialist that are making things worse. And those issues may be able to be treated, making you more comfortable and healthier.
Schedule your colonoscopy
If you’re 45, or have one of the other Reasons Why You Need a Colonoscopy, you can request an appointment online now at Gastrointestinal Specialists. Our outpatient endoscopy center offers increased convenience and financial savings compared to a hospital.