When Should You Get Your First Colonoscopy?

Getting regular colon screenings is among the most effective ways to protect against or identify colorectal cancer in the early stages. But unfortunately, only 54% of all adults who are eligible have not had an initial colonoscopy screening. The American Cancer Society (ACS) suggests that people with average odds of developing colorectal cancer should start getting regular screenings when they are 45 years of age.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that millions of people in the U.S. are not receiving colon and rectal cancer screenings as recommended, reducing the chance for early identification. To learn whether you are eligible for an initial colonoscopy, reach out to the team at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates to set up an appointment. Our experienced gastroenterologists regularly provide colonoscopy screenings for New Orleans, LA patients.

What happens during a colonoscopy procedure?

A colonoscopy is a type of colon and rectal cancer screening that is conducted with a small, flexible device fitted housing a tiny camera. It is placed through the rectum and into the colon by a Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates physician to screen for polyps (growths) or other suspicious areas that may be present. If abnormalities or other concerns are found, they can be taken off during the procedure for further testing. Individuals are administered a quick-acting and safe sedative prior to the screening procedure to help them to sleep through the process comfortably.

What can you expect after having a colonoscopy?

Once your first colonoscopy procedure is complete and you wake up from the anesthesia, our New Orleans, LA gastroenterology team will explain any findings with you. Should we identify a condition that calls for a more extensive investigation, our GI doctors will devise a comprehensive treatment plan customized to your medical needs. We strongly suggest that you have a family member or friend drive you home following your colonoscopy. After all impacts from the sedative have subsided, you should be able to resume your regular routine and diet within a 24-hour period. Some patients have minor symptoms after the fact, like abdominal discomfort, gassiness, and bloating for the first few days. If you experience severe pain, fever, or bleeding, please seek immediate medical attention.

How often are colonoscopy exams recommended?

It is recommended that patients who have an average chance of developing colon or rectal cancer begin to undergo screenings at age 45. Regular colon cancer screenings should take place at ten-year intervals until age 75. Following age 75, every individual should consult with their digestive health specialist regarding screening protocols that best meet their medical needs.

Why should you receive routine colorectal screenings?

Although a colonoscopy can detect early stages of colorectal cancer, the evaluation can also help doctors find potential reasons for other digestive health conditions, including long-term fluctuation in bowel movements (constipation and/or loose stools), causes of abdominal/anorectal discomfort, hemorrhoids, abrupt or unexplained weight loss, and bleeding and anemia. The highly experienced gastroenterologists at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates offer advanced techniques and procedures to diagnose and address many diseases of the digestive system.

How to schedule your initial colonoscopy in New Orleans, LA

Periodic colon and rectal cancer screenings are the recommended option for detecting this serious GI concern. If you are age 45 or older with an average risk of colon cancer, we encourage you to arrange for your initial colonoscopy screening at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates soon. To set up your colonoscopy consultation with one of our New Orleans, LA gastrointestinal doctors, reach out to our team now.