Here's Why It Is Essential to Get a Colonoscopy Exam


Are you aware that the five-year survival rate for colon or rectal cancer is 90% if the disease is diagnosed and treated in the early stage of its progression? In terms of diagnosing colon cancer and additional colorectal disorders, colonoscopy has earned a reputation in the gastroenterology community as the most effective, dependable process.

The skilled physicians at Colorado Gastroenterology regularly conduct colonoscopy exams for patients throughout our community. Keep reading as our Denver, CO digestive health team outlines the vital role colonoscopies have in safeguarding your digestive health and wellness.

Who should have a colonoscopy?

Regular colonoscopies are recommended for people aged 45 and older. Patients who are younger might also be advised to undergo a cancer screening should one or more of the following criteria apply:

  • You have a type of inflammatory bowel disease (like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • You have symptoms that may indicate colon or rectal cancer, including:
    • Diarrhea
    • Constipation
    • Blood in your stool
    • Unintentional weight loss
    • Abdominal discomfort or pain
  • Your family has a health history that includes colon or rectal cancer or polyps

It's important to understand that the symptoms listed above are also observed with other gastrointestinal disorders, which is why it's vital to schedule a colonoscopy procedure to investigate your GI symptoms and health. Get in touch with Colorado Gastroenterology to learn more information concerning other disorders that may be identified during a colonoscopy procedure.

How long does a colonoscopy screening take to complete?

For most patients, the colonoscopy commonly lasts a couple of hours, from preparation to recovery. Plan to be at your colonoscopy doctor's facility or endoscopy center in Denver, CO 1 – 1.5 hours before your scheduled exam time. Doing so will allow you some additional time to fill out any necessary paperwork and put on a hospital gown. When you are ready, you'll be taken to the procedure room, where the medical team will administer a sedative medication to help you stay comfortable during your colonoscopy exam.

In most cases, a colonoscopy procedure takes 15 – 30 minutes. Your physician will gently place the colonoscope (a thin, probe-mounted video camera) into your rectum, slowly moving it forward and watching the video for any issues. If colon polyps (growths) are found, your gastrointestinal specialist may go ahead and remove them during the procedure.

After the colonoscopy, you will be given time to relax in a recovery area to allow the sedative effects to diminish. This can take up to 60 minutes, depending on the amount of sedation administered and how your body reacts to it. You may still be groggy for the remainder of the day, so plan ahead to have someone drive you home. It's also best to avoid doing anything too strenuous or signing any essential papers during recovery. You will be provided with a report summarizing your procedure results and can expect to be contacted by your gastroenterologist regarding any biopsy results typically within about a week or so.

Colonoscopy procedures are a negligible time investment for the diagnostic advantages and peace of mind they offer. To hear more about what you can expect from your colonoscopy procedure, contact a Colorado Gastroenterology location near you to meet with a doctor who offers colonoscopies in Denver, CO.

Does a colonoscopy carry any risks I should know about?

When evaluating risks associated with the procedure, there is a small possibility that some indications or disorders (including colorectal polyps) might not be readily apparent in your colonoscopy results. It's important to contact your GI specialist and inform them of any new or ongoing signs or symptoms.

Other possible risks affiliated with a colonoscopy exam are piercing of the large intestine, unfavorable response to the sedation, or bleeding (in the event any polyps are extracted). However, keep in mind that fewer than 1% of colonoscopy exams result in complications, the majority of which are mild. If you have questions or concerns about the risks involved with a colonoscopy, our providers at Colorado Gastroenterology will be glad to go over those with you.

Connect with a colonoscopy doctor in Denver, CO

Given that colon and rectal cancer rates are increasing in the younger adult population, the significance of having a colonoscopy to protect your GI health cannot be emphasized enough. If you are 45 or older or you have a greater chance of colon cancer, please get in touch with the gastrointestinal specialists at Colorado Gastroenterology to learn more about a colonoscopy procedure. Be proactive with your GI health and reach out to our Denver, CO team today.