Everyone age 50 (or 45 for African Americans) and over is recommended to schedule a routine colon cancer screening to check for colon cancer or polyps that could lead to colon cancer. However, colonoscopies can also be used to specifically diagnose other gastrointestinal and colorectal problems, and there are certain symptoms you may have that require a diagnostic colonoscopy.
If you are experiencing pain in your lower abdomen, including pain related to bowel movements, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our world-renowned colon polyp detection experts and gastrointestinal specialists to schedule a consultation to discuss your symptoms.
Please click here to learn more about colon cancer from the American Cancer Society.
GI Symptoms That Might Require Diagnostic Colonoscopy
Once your doctor has examined you for painful or uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms without uncovering the root of the problem, he or she may prescribe a diagnostic colonoscopy. Typically, this procedure is performed only after other methods of diagnosis have failed to find the cause of the symptoms.
However, it is important to keep in mind that having to undergo a diagnostic colonoscopy doesn’t mean you have colon cancer or are suspected of having colon cancer. A diagnostic colonoscopy is simply a thorough and accurate way to diagnose your gastrointestinal symptoms.
Your doctor may recommend a diagnostic colonoscopy if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Blood in stool
- Rectal bleeding
- Iron deficiency anemia of unknown cause
- Change in bowel habits
- Chronic abdominal pain
- Unexplained weight loss
When mild, these symptoms may be manageable and indicate only a minor issue. However, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms at a severe and persistent level, it could potentially be a sign of a more serious condition. If you feel your symptoms are severe, please get in touch with one of our colorectal surgeons or gastroenterologists, who can diagnose you and provide you with the treatment you need.
How is a Diagnostic Colonoscopy Performed?
A diagnostic colonoscopy is performed the same way as a screening colonoscopy, except that the gastroenterologist or colorectal surgeon is examining your large intestine for a potential culprit of your symptoms, rather than just a general colonoscopy to check for polyps or abnormalities. If however polyps are detected during any colonoscopy procedure, they are removed at the same time to prevent future risk of progression to colon cancer.
Your doctor will discuss the procedure with you during your consultation, and give you as much information as possible about what to do to for colonoscopy prep and what to expect after your colonoscopy.
During the procedure, your surgeon will use a colonoscope to enter the large part of your intestine and the last part of the small bowel in order to check for polyps, tumors, inflammation or other abnormalities that could be causing your symptoms. While many people fear getting colonoscopies, the procedure usually takes less than an hour, and our surgeons and staff will make sure you are comfortable, relaxed, and well taken care of.
If your surgeon finds a polyp or other abnormality, he or she may perform a colon cancer biopsy or polypectomy to remove it for further analysis. Once the polyp is examined by a pathologist, he or she can determine if there are abnormalities in the biopsied tissue, and if further action needs to be taken.
Colon Polyp Removal During a Colon Cancer Screening
Schedule a Diagnostic Colonoscopy in Los Angeles
Gastrointestinal problems should not be ignored if they become persistent or severe. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please don’t hesitate to call the Colonoscopy Center of Excellence in Los Angeles and schedule a consultation with a world-class colonoscopy doctor in Los Angeles.
Next, learn about who needs a colonoscopy.