- Why do I need a colonoscopy?
- What are the risks for a colonoscopy?
- How do I prepare for my colonoscopy?
- What should I expect when having a colonoscopy?
- What do my colonoscopy results mean?
- Factors that may affect your colonoscopy and what to know about the procedure
- I have some more questions regarding my colonoscopy…
Why do I need a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy may be recommended by your doctor for the following reasons:
- To investigate and monitor intestinal symptoms and signs – A colonoscopy will help your doctor to explore any possible causes of unexplained abdominal pain, chronic constipation, chronic diarrhoea, iron deficiency anaemia, weight loss and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or check the colon when abnormal results have been shown after an MRI, CT scan, stool test, barium enema or virtual colonoscopy (an X-ray version of a colonoscopy).
- To screen for colon cancer – If you are over the age of 50 years old and have an average risk of developing colon cancer, which means you do not have any additional risks of cancer besides your age factor, then your doctor may suggest that you have a colonoscopy every 10 years or so in order to screen for cancer. There are other options that can be used to screen for colon cancer, however, it is best to speak to your doctor regarding what is available to you.
- To check for more colon polyps - If your doctor has found any polyps in your colon in the past, then he or she may suggest that you have a follow-up colonoscopy to detect and remove any new polyps that may develop in future. This helps to reduce your risk of developing colon cancer.
What are polyps?
Polyps are tissues growths that are abnormal and will often appear as mushroom-like stalks or small and flat bumps. Many polyps are less than half an inch in size, which is 1.2 centimetres. Polyps that are found in the colon or rectum tend to be the most common, however, polyps can also form in the sinuses, cervix or ear canal.
Polyps in the colon will normally occur in the lining of the large intestine and protrude out into it. Polyps are a clump of cells, and most of them are harmless, however, over time, these polyps may develop into cancer of the colon which can be dangerous and often fatal if found in the later stages of cell development. In most cases, colon polyps do not cause issues and remain undetected for a person’s entire life.