A colonoscopy is a diagnostic test used to determine possible diseases of the colon, or large intestine. Findings may include:
Diverticuli which are pockets that form in the lining of the colon. The amount of these found in the colon may range from rare to many. Although the cause of diverticulosis (condition of having diverticuli) is unknown, it is thought to be caused by a high fat, low fiber diet.
Colitis, which is an inflammation of the inner lining of the colonic wall, may also be a finding on your colonoscopy. Two types of colitis are ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
Colonic polyps are benign (non-cancerous), pre-cancerous, or malignant (cancerous) growths that form in the colon. These range in size and type, but the type is not known until a pathologist has examined the tissue obtained from the excised polyp under a microscope. Polyps are usually excised while the colonoscopy procedure is being performed, and are usually either cauterized or biopsied, depending on the size of the polyp.
Colon cancer is obviously the worst thing that could be found on a colonoscopy. These masses or tumors are biopsied and the specimen is sent to the laboratory to be examined under a microscope. If the patient is found to have a mass of this type, we will ask the patient to be seen in the office to discuss the pathology and options for care.
An important question one can ask is, “why should I have a colonoscopy?” The simple answer is, it is the best way to detect colon cancer or cancer causing polyps before it is too late. Taking your health seriously is what people should do, and having a colonoscopy is definitely serious business. Certain people are at more risk than others, but if you are over the age of 50 and have never been screened before it is an excellent idea to have a screening colonoscopy. Of course, if you are experiencing symptoms including bleeding from the rectum or colon, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or any of a number of symptoms that would warrant a colonoscopy, speak to your primary care physician. A colonoscopy is a major procedure, but with the professionals at the North Georgia Endoscopy Center at Medical Associates, you can rest assured that your procedure will go smoothly. We look forward to seeing you!