How a Colonoscopy Can Save Your Life

If you live in the U.S., and you’re in your 40s, chances are you’ve probably heard that by the time you reach your 50th birthday, you should schedule your first colonoscopy. Is a colonoscopy really necessary, even if you feel perfectly healthy and you don’t have any signs or symptoms that indicate otherwise?

At his practice where he provides expert gastrointestinal medical services for men and women in Orange and Irvine, California, Dr. Hardeep M. Singh answers your questions about this important diagnostic test and explains how a colonoscopy can save your life.

A colonoscopy is the most accurate way to detect the early signs of colon cancer.

Out of every 20 Americans, one person will develop colon cancer during their lifetime. Many times colon cancer develops, and you don’t notice any serious symptoms until the cancer has progressed.

A colonoscopy allows Dr. Singh to detect the earliest signs of colon cancer, often as precancerous polyps, and remove them so they never have the chance to advance to a more severe stage of colon cancer. Early detection of polyps often means colon cancer prevention with no further health complications or treatment.

Precancerous polyps can be removed on the spot.

If Dr. Singh discovers benign or precancerous polyps in your colon during a routine colonoscopy, he removes them immediately. Since all types of colon cancers begin with polyps, Dr. Singh even removes ones that are benign, so there’s no chance of them remaining in your colon and developing into cancerous growths.

This simple procedure helps prevent a deadly disease you may not have even realized you had. While you’re comfortably under anesthesia for your routine colonoscopy, any suspicious polyps are taken care of, and you wake up healthier than you were prior to the procedure.

Colonoscopies detect bleeding lesions and other causes of abdominal pain.

Some people have mysterious abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, or symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or colitis. A colonoscopy detects bleeding lesions and any other potential cause of unexplained abdominal pain, so you can receive the necessary treatment or make lifestyle changes to relieve symptoms.

Anytime you leave a mild condition untreated, especially if that condition is related to your digestive system, you run the risk of its becoming a more complex, or even life-threatening, health problem. Think of a colonoscopy is an inside look at your overall health and wellness.

A colonoscopy can help you avoid surgical procedures.

Colon cancer often requires surgery to remove a cancerous section of your colon or rectum. Anytime you can avoid major surgery with a simple diagnostic procedure instead, such as a colonoscopy, you’re reducing your risk of complications that could arise from colorectal surgeries and recovery. Again, early detection is indispensable when it comes to treatment options for the first signs of a problem.

But, isn’t a colonoscopy an uncomfortable procedure?

For the majority of men and women, the answer to this question is, “not at all.” You’re under sedation while Dr. Singh inserts a long, flexible tube — a colonoscope — into the colon through your rectum. The tiny camera at the end of the colonoscope allows Dr. Singh to clearly see the inside of your colon, so he can examine it closely for any signs of abnormal growths or other problems.

You’re comfortably sedated during the entire procedure, which usually takes just 30 minutes. If Dr. Singh removes polyps, though, it may take a little longer.

The “worst” part of a colonoscopy, is the preparation. You have to empty your colon completely with a liquid diet and laxatives the day before your exam. Although this isn’t the most fun way to spend a day, you’ll find it tolerable, as long as you plan ahead to be at home near your bathroom.

When you think of how beneficial a colonoscopy is to your health and potentially your life, it’s a big trade-off for a relatively small inconvenience.

Are you ready to schedule your life-saving colonoscopy? Call the office, or click the “request appointment” button on this website.

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