Why Colonoscopy Exams Are Essential

Are you aware that the five-year survival rate for those with colorectal cancer is 90% when the disease is detected and treated in the early stage of its development? When it comes to detecting colon and rectal cancer and other colorectal issues, colonoscopy has a reputation among gastrointestinal specialists as the most reliable, effective procedure.

The providers at San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates commonly conduct colonoscopies for our patients. Read on as our San Antonio, TX digestive health team discusses the significant role colonoscopies carry out in protecting your digestive health and wellness.

Who is a candidate for a colonoscopy screening?

Regular colonoscopies are advised for individuals who are at least 45 years of age or older. Even if you are younger, you might be advised to undergo a screening for cancer should one or more of the following criteria apply:

  • You have some type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
  • Your family has a health history that includes colon or rectal cancer or polyps
  • You show symptoms that are connected with colon cancer, including:
  • Constipation
  • Blood in the stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Unintentional weight loss

It’s important to know that the symptoms above are also associated with other gastrointestinal issues, which is why it’s crucial to schedule a colonoscopy to analyze your digestive health and symptom. Reach out to San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates to learn more information about other disorders that could be discovered with a colonoscopy exam.

How long is a colonoscopy?

In general, the colonoscopy process typically lasts a couple of hours, from preparation to recovery. Please plan to be at your colonoscopy doctor’s facility or endoscopy center in San Antonio, TX 1 – 1.5 hours before your scheduled colonoscopy. This will allow you some extra time to fill out any required forms and put on a hospital gown. When you are ready, the staff will show you to the procedure room, where the medical staff will start administering a sedative medication to keep you relaxed and at ease throughout the colonoscopy.

In most scenarios, a typical colonoscopy procedure is completed in 15 – 30 minutes. Your physician will gently advance the colonoscope (a slender, probe-mounted camera) into the rectum, slowly positioning it forward and viewing the video feed for any issues. If colon polyps are found during the exam, your GI specialist may go ahead and remove them at this time.

Following the procedure, you will spend some time in a recovery area to allow the sedative effects to dissipate. This might take up to an hour, depending on the amount of sedation given and your reaction to it. It’s common to feel lethargic for the rest of the day, so plan ahead to have a friend or family member drive you home. It’s also important to avoid strenuous activity or completing any essential documents during recovery. You will be provided with a report detailing your exam results and can expect to hear from your GI provider regarding any biopsy results generally within a week.

Routine colonoscopies really are a minuscule time investment for the health advantages they provide. For further details on what to expect when undergoing a colonoscopy exam, contact a San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates location within your community to find a board-certified specialist who performs colonoscopies in San Antonio, TX.

Are there any colonoscopy risks?

When evaluating risks associated with the procedure, there is a minor possibility that some indications or concerns (including colorectal polyps) may not be immediately evident during your colonoscopy procedure. It’s extremely important to communicate with your gastrointestinal doctor and tell them of any persisting or new issues.

Other potential risks of a colonoscopy exam include puncturing of the large intestine, negative response to the sedative medication, or internal bleeding (in the event any growths are excised). It’s important to keep in mind, however, that less than 1% of colonoscopy procedures have complications, the majority of which are minor. Should you have questions or concerns involving the risks involved with a colonoscopy, our team at San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates will be pleased to go over those with you.

Connect with a skilled colonoscopy doctor in San Antonio, TX

Given that colorectal cancer rates are trending upward in the younger adult population, the significance of having a colonoscopy to safeguard your gastrointestinal health cannot be stressed enough. If you are 45 years old or older or you have a higher chance of developing colon cancer, please get in touch with the gastrointestinal specialists at San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates to find out more about a colonoscopy procedure. Be proactive with your GI health and contact our San Antonio, TX team without delay.