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Every March I like to participate in Colon Cancer Awareness month by writing an article on the importance of following the American College of Gastroenterology screening guidelines. This year I thought I would do something different by sharing a few colonoscopy FAQs to help dispel some of the misconceptions and educate on why it is best way to screen for colon cancer.
Early detection is the key to beating this cancer! If you know someone 50 years or older, make sure they know about the importance of colon cancer screening. Thank you in advance for helping to promote this awareness message and let me know if you have any questions related to colon cancer.
Matthew Eidem, MD
Q: What is a colonoscopy?
A: Colonoscopy is a procedure that allows the doctor to directly image and examine the entire colon. It is used to evaluate various gastrointestinal conditions like colon cancer and GI symptoms like bleeding. The physician will use a flexible tube called a colonoscope to examine the colon while taking biopsies or removing polyps if needed during the procedure.
Q: Why is colonoscopy regarded as the gold standard for colon cancer screening exams?
A: Colonoscopy is the only colon cancer screening exam that allows the physician to view the entire colon and then both detect and remove polyps. This distinction makes colonoscopy the best colon cancer screening exam.
You don’t have to look far to see the importance of gut health being discussed. It seems everywhere we turn someone is talking about the gut microbiome and how incredibly important it is for our well-being.
This is because your gut is the home of your immune system, over 40 trillion microorganisms, and is an indicator of your overall health. This complex system has been linked to numerous diseases, including autoimmune disease, diabetes, liver disease, cancers, heart disease, and of course, gastrointestinal (GI) diseases.
So, if you find yourself struggling with persistent gut related issues, it isn’t something you should ignore. Sometimes when you have a GI problem, it’s a red flag of an underlying cause or of health issues that could get worse if left untreated. Either way, don’t ignore warning signs, instead tackle them head on – you could end up saving yourself pain, time, and money down the road.
If you’ve never seen a gastroenterologist before but are struggling with digestive issues, you might wonder when it’s time to see a GI doctor. I’ve created a list of the top 9 reasons to see a gastroenterologist in Plano, TX area to help educate others on the most common symptoms and help lessen any apprehension towards seeing a GI doctor.
The American Cancer Society reports that 1 in 3 people in the U.S. are not up-to-date with their colorectal cancer screening and that 60% of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented with screening. I encourage everyone to join my team and colleagues at the Digestive Health Associates of Texas in helping to promote Colon Cancer Awareness this March. These statistics emphasize why creating more awareness for this type of cancer can SAVE LIVES!
Matthew Eidem, MD
“March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month so there is no better time than now to spread the word on the importance of colon cancer screening. This is a cancer that can be beat and often can be prevented with routine screening exams. A colonoscopy is a painless procedure that can literally save your life.“
Matthew Eidem, MD
Colon Cancer Awareness Events in Plano, TX area
What is SIBO?
National Center for Biotechnology Information defines small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) as the presence of excessive bacteria in the small intestine. In most patients, SIBO is not caused by a single type of bacteria, but is an overgrowth of the various types of bacteria that are commonly found in the colon. The small bowel is meant to be a sterile environment. When bacteria make their way into the small intestine, it can be very destructive to your digestive health and your overall well-being.
SIBO is now thought to be a potential cause for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
What Causes SIBO?
The cause of SIBO is usually complex, and is likely a combination of several events. In order to prevent SIBO, our bodies have protective mechanisms to defend ourselves against SIBO. Some of these mechanisms are gastric acid secretion and the presence of a valve between the large and small intestine (ileocecal valve) that are meant to prevent bacteria from refluxing back or making their way into the small intestine. Whether the issue is that these protective mechanisms fail or there is another trigger (e.g. stress, food), the underlying cause of SIBO is that the motility of the small intestine is slowed down to a level that allows more bacteria to grow in an area where they do not belong – the small intestine. Once this process occurs in your small bowel, you begin experiencing symptoms of SIBO.
A stool or bowel movement is defined by the National Institute of Digestive Diseases as what is left after your digestive system (stomach, small intestine, and colon) breaks down and absorbs nutrients and fluids from what you eat and drink. While no one likes to talk about it, regular bowel movements are imperative to our health. In this blog article I’ll briefly cover what to be aware of in regards to bowel movements and what they can be indicative of in terms of our digestive health.
Bowel Movements – What Should I Be Aware of?
Unless you are suffering from intestinal issues, most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about our bowel movements. If you were asked to describe a normal bowel movement could you do it? Since there is no a standard definition of a “normal” bowel movement, don’t be worried if you struggled with that question. Bowel movements are highly individualized based on factors like diet and exercise. The key thing to be aware of is what is normal for you. Take note of the four characteristics below and let you doctor know if any of them change dramatically. It’s helpful to create a log of any changes with dates and use the Bristol Stool Chart diagram to describe the shape.
Since March is colon cancer awareness month, I wanted to take the opportunity to further promote awareness of this treatable and preventable cancer in Plano TX. According to the Colon Cancer Alliance, colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the U.S. More than 50,000 Americans die from colon cancer each year.
Why get screened for Colon Cancer in Plano TX?
Over the past 20 years the incidence of colon cancer has been declining due to increased awareness and increased screening. This cancer can be effectively treated if detected early and can even be prevented if precancerous polyps are removed before developing into cancers. The key to beating colon cancer is to get screened at the recommended age. The American College of Gastroenterology recommends getting screened at age 50 and re-screened every 10 years unless your doctor recommends otherwise (presence of polyps, family history of colon cancer, etc). While there are different tests to detect polyps, colonoscopy is the gold standard due to its ability to view the entire colon and both detect and remove polyps during the same procedure. For more detailed information on colonoscopy and the recommended screening guidelines, I encourage you to visit the colonoscopy page on my website.
What is Gluten?
According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. The science on gluten sensitivity is evolving quickly and we’re starting to learn much more about this condition. Since so many foods and restaurants are now advertising gluten-free options, I often have patients ask me if they should be “gluten-free”. Due to these questions, I wanted to provide a brief overview on these diets and a few common questions related to gluten.
What Symptoms are Indicative of Gluten Sensitivity or Celiac Disease?
These symptoms are signs that you may have an issue:
- You have chronic GI symptoms. A few of the more common chronic GI symptoms include but are not limited to – diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and bloating.
- You’re deficient in iron, folate, or vitamin B12.
- You have a family history of celiac disease.
What is an Open Access Colonoscopy?
An Open Access Colonoscopy is a colonoscopy procedure that does not require the patient to have an office visit with their Plano, TX gastroenterologist prior to their procedure. The exchange of all needed pre-procedural information is done over the phone. This saves the patient both the time and the expense of an office visit. I offer this option in order to increase the participation rates for colon cancer screening. By increasing the number of people who are screened, we can further decrease the number of people affected by this preventable cancer. We are hopeful that by making this procedure as accessible and affordable as possible to qualifying patients, the participation rates in the Plano and Dallas TX areas will increase.
- Open Access Colonoscopy– Saves Time & Money
I encourage you to review my colonoscopy procedure page for more information on this potential life saving procedure. According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the 2nd highest cause of cancer related deaths in the U.S. By getting a screening exam of your colon at the appropriate time, you can prevent colorectal cancer.