Your First Colonoscopy: What You Need to Know

  • Topic Info:Have you ever had a colonoscopy?

    If you have, you may dread going back; and if you haven't had one yet, you're holding out for as long as you can.

    It's important not to put it off any longer.

    A colonoscopy allows your doctor to take a look at the inner lining of your large intestine, rectum and colon by using a long, thin, flexible tube. This test helps your doctor discover any ulcers, tumors, inflammation or bleeding.

    The procedure sounds painful, invasive and unnecessary. Why would anyone need this, especially if you have stellar digestive health?

    Before opting out, there are many benefits you need to be aware of.

    Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer, is life threatening. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S.

    At what age should you start having routine colonoscopy procedures?

    Even if colon cancer doesn't run in your family, it's still important for both men and women to get a colonoscopy, starting at the age of 45 and with a follow-up every 10 years.

    What do you need to do to prep for a colonoscopy?

    Before your procedure, you need to clear out your colon, which takes one to two days. Unfortunately, you cannot skip this step; without proper preparation, your colonoscopy will not work. This prep involves drink a liquid that loosens your stools and cleans out your system.

    What else do you need to know before your colonoscopy?

    Medical Director of Digestive Disease Technology, Baylor Health Care System, Dr. Daniel DeMarco, shares why it's important to have a colonoscopy, how to prep for the procedure and how often you should be having one.
  • Host: Melanie Cole, MS