A colonoscopy can be a dreaded word, mostly because of the prep the night before. But the procedure is so important for both men and women. Unfortunately, new studies are revealing that men are getting colon polyps and tumors earlier than women and more often. And because the chance of getting colorectal cancer for men is one in 22, a colonoscopy can literally be life saving.
When you come into the Brooklyn office of Dr. Rimma Gelbert in New York City, she will discuss your current health and when you should be getting a colonoscopy. She knows how important this procedure is, because it can reveal a great deal of information for both doctor and patient. It can be an essential part of preventive medicine, or a way to get answers for specific issues you may be having.
The examination is designed to look for any abnormalities in your colon (large intestine) and rectum, and involves a flexible tube with a camera traveling through the entire colon. The doctor will look for polyps, damaged tissue, and any other potential problems, and can also perform a biopsy during the procedure.
Why men should get a colonoscopy earlier
If you’re having specific issues like abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea or constipation, rectal bleeding, or other problems with the intestine, Dr. Gelbert will probably recommend a colonoscopy. She’ll also suggest that people 50 or older get a colonoscopy.
But because studies are finding that men are more likely to have adenomas (a benign tumor or polyp that can become malignant), advanced adenomas, and colorectal cancers, the thought process is shifting, and it may be advisable to get a colonoscopy at an earlier age for men.
A polyp is an abnormal growth or clump of cells that can form on the lining of the colon or rectum. Most polyps are harmless, but they can become cancerous, which makes a regular screening so vital. The risk for getting polyps increases after age 50 and for those who smoke or are overweight. Your risk is also higher if you or your family has a history of either colon cancer or colon polyps.
What a colonoscopy can reveal about men’s health
A colonoscopy will reveal the general health of your colon, as well as your gastrointestinal health. It can hopefully explain why you may be suffering from some of the issues described above, like abdominal pain or bleeding. It will also tell you if you have polyps or damaged tissue, and if you do, they’ll be biopsied to make sure they’re not cancerous. The polyps can also be removed, either during the initial colonoscopy or in a follow-up procedure.
Men need to lower their risks
Behaviors that seem to affect men more can also be what is causing them additional risks. Eating less red meat and more fruits and vegetables can reduce a man’s risk of getting colorectal cancer. So can being active and exercising, ideally five times a week. And of course, quitting smoking and limiting your alcohol intake will also greatly help reduce the chances of a man getting colorectal cancer.
Dr. Gelbert believes that every patient is unique, and as a proponent of osteopathic medicine, understands that all of the body’s systems are interrelated and work together. Our goal is to always keep you in the know and to understand and prevent men’s health issues wherever we can. Let’s discuss your specific concerns and determine when you should have your colonoscopy.
Call us to schedule an appointment, or you can just as easily book online right here.