What is a colonoscopy, its benefits and side effects? Well, thanks to celebrities such as Katie Couric, awareness of colon cancer and other diseases has dramatically increased. And now, more and more Americans are becoming interested in finding out more about colonoscopies. You may be among these people. This article will help you learn how to get better acquainted with what a colonoscopy is and the benefits and possible side effects of this medical procedure.
- Effective colorectal cancer screening. Colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the world. However, only about 50 percent of the population has undergone colonoscopy for colon cancer screening.
- Colorectal polyps diagnosis and treatment. Colorectal polyps are the seeds of colorectal cancer. So before the polyps become cancer, it is recommended that these are treated immediately. Colonoscopy can diagnose the presence of polyps. More than that, during this procedure the physician may elect to remove the polyps at that point.
- Other colon problems diagnosis and treatment. Many experts say that the colon is among the most common source of deadly diseases, discomforts, and simple health problems. However, the colon is also one of the most neglected parts of the body. Other colon problems like colitis, colorectal lining inflammation, and colon bleeding can be diagnosed, too. These colon problems can possibly be treated through colonoscopy, as well. The earlier to diagnosis, the better the chances of cure;
Despite these benefits, many people still have second thoughts whether to undergo a colonoscopy or not. Just like many other invasive procedures, the colonoscopy procedure has side effects. Experts say that frequent colonoscopy procedures may interfere or damage the natural work of the colon. Frequent drinking of laxatives or enemas can also damage the natural processes of the colon. Side effects include:
- Abnormal stools. People with already disrupted stools may experience worsening bowel movements if colonoscopy is done more than the recommended frequency.
- Colon complications. Though rare, it is still possible that the patient has colonoscopy complications and gets an infection or ulceration after the colonoscopy.
- Increased blood clotting risks. This may happen by taking anesthesia.
- False sense of colon health security. Though effective, some doctors may still miss the presence of small and large tumors. This usually happens if the doctor diagnoses a lot of patients in a day, making him unable to accurately perform colonoscopy.
- Excessive dehydration. Colonoscopy requires the use of a laxative and other drugs like golytely to clean up the colon for more accurate diagnosis.
- Bloating, cramps, and flatulence.
- Chronic constipation.
Enema, laxative, golytely, and other colonoscopy procedure preparations are not so severe as to elect not to undergo a colonoscopy. Katie Couric and other advocates of colon cancer awareness believe that these side effects are nothing compared to a life that can be saved by early detection and treatment of possible colorectal cancer. Just keep in mind that whatever decision you make, it is always better to seek a doctor’s advice first.