Health Tips from a Mother of Three

3 Conditions A Colonoscopy Can Detect Or Assist With

After you turn fifty, it is highly recommended that you receive a colonoscopy. During a colonoscopy, a doctor uses a thin, narrow tube with a light and camera attached to examine the intestines--particularly the colon and rectum, to look for symptoms of potential illnesses, as well as potential causes for unexplained symptoms. You might be nervous about receiving a colonoscopy, especially if you have never had one before, but the procedure is very important for detecting serious diseases. Listed below are three conditions that a colonoscopy can detect, as well as more information about each one. 

1. Colon Cancer

One of the main reasons a colonoscopy is performed is to check for colon cancer. As with any illness, the sooner it is detected, the sooner colon cancer can be treated. Some conditions that make colon or rectal cancer more likely include a family history of these cancers, a history of inflammatory bowel disease, bad habits like smoking, and lifestyle factors like being overweight. If you have any of these conditions in yourself or your family, your doctor might recommend that you receive a colonoscopy earlier than age fifty.

2. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

A colonoscopy can also be used to monitor and treat inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. These diseases have many different origins and treatments, from diet changes to medication and surgery. If you are experiencing any kind of inflammatory bowel disease, it is important to receive a colonoscopy so that your doctor can determine the severity of the illness and keep an eye on the way you are responding to different treatments.

3. Check for Causes of Unexplained Symptoms

Many unexplained symptoms can be explained after you receive a colonoscopy. Getting an up-close look at what's happening inside your body will help your doctor provide you with proper treatment. Some symptoms that might be explained with the help of a colonoscopy include changes in bowel activity, abdominal pain, anal bleeding, and unexplained weight loss. 

Whether you have unexplained symptoms or need to be screened for colon cancer and other intestinal illnesses, a colonoscopy is very important to your overall health. Think about the three conditions listed above as you prepare for your appointment, and know that soon you will be able to rest easy knowing what is going on inside of your intestines. Remember, knowledge is power, and prevention is key to living a long, healthy life.