A colonoscopy or telescopic examination of the colon is used to investigate a range of symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhoea, anaemia, constipation and rectal bleeding. Disorders most commonly found include colitis (inflammation of the colon), colonic polyps (pre cancerous growths) which can be removed at the time of the procedure, colon cancer and diverticular disease.

A colonoscopy, like a gastroscopy, is normally performed under sedation so you have little recall of the procedure being performed. Unlike a gastroscopy, it is required that you take bowel purgatives before the procedure to ensure that clear views are obtained. More detailed information can be found on this website or from the relevant booking office at the hospital where you are having the procedure performed.

Colon Cancer Treatment 

Colon cancer is bowel cancer that occurs in the colon, or large intestine. Symptoms of colon cancer include abdominal pain, blood in stool, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and diarrhoea or constipation that lasts three weeks or more with no apparent cause. It's also common to feel that the bowels aren't properly empty after having a bowel movement. These symptoms don't always indicate colon cancer, but because they can be caused by a serious illness it's important to see your doctor if you experience them. Diagnosis of colon cancer typically starts with abdominal and rectal examinations, and may include a colonoscopy, a CT scan, and other procedures.

The colon cancer treatment a patient receives depends on the stage of their cancer, and their overall health and fitness. The primary colon cancer treatment is surgery to remove the cancer. Early stage colon cancer typically requires removal of only a small piece of the colon wall, but if the cancer has spread beyond its point of origin, it may be necessary to remove a large piece of the colon, or remove part of the muscle that surrounds the colon. Surgery is often followed up with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or other additional treatments, to kill any remaining cancer cells.

Private Colonoscopy

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, with the second highest mortality rate. Diagnosis is made at a later stage in the UK and survival is poorer than in comparable countries. Despite this, the NHS does not provide screening for bowel cancer until the age of 55. At 55, adults are eligible for a one-time bowel scope screening test, and between the ages of 60 and 74, can take a home test that screens for the presence of blood in stool. People who have abnormal test results are then eligible for a colonoscopy to investigate the potential causes of the positive test results.

However, it's generally recommended in Europe and North America that people are first screened for bowel cancer beginning at age 50, and that this initial testing include a colonoscopy. In some cases—in particular for people who have a family history of bowel cancer—it may even be necessary to start screening even earlier than age 50. As a result, increasing numbers of people are opting to have a private colonoscopy rather than rely on the NHS to provide screening tests. Having a private colonoscopy has many advantages: you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing you've been tested for a dangerous disease, and by having the procedure through a private hospital, you can enjoy an increased level of comfort and privacy too.

A colonoscopy is an investigation that your doctor can perform to look inside your colon or large intestine. You might have this test if you’re experiencing symptoms such as abdominal cramps or blood in your stool. It is also performed to screen for bowel cancer. Keep reading to find out how the test works and what your doctor is looking for during a colonoscopy.

What is the Colon?

The term colonoscopy is derived from the medical name for your large intestine. The colon is part of your digestive system that plays an essential role in processing food.

Before it reaches the colon, the food that you eat has already been on a long journey. After you chewed the food, it passed down your oesophagus into the stomach. Once the food reached the stomach, your body started to break it down using enzymes so that it would be easier to absorb the nutrients. After the stomach, the food had to travel a long way along the small intestine while it was broken down further. The small intestine absorbed all of the nutrients your body needs from the food. The remaining food then moved into your large intestine or colon.

The colon isn’t as long as the small intestine, but it is much wider, so it is also known as the large intestine. The food that enters the large intestine is mostly liquid. The colon absorbs a lot of the water from the food to keep your body hydrated. The remaining material is broken down by your get bacteria. It then passes into the rectum before leaving your body.

The colon is shaped like an upside-down U, with three main sections. Food coming from the small intestine enters the ascending colon first, then travels horizontally along the transverse colon, before passing down the descending colon. It then takes a slight curve through the sigmoid colon before reaching the rectum. The average colon is about 5 feet long and 3 inches across. Given its large size and sharply angled shape, there are clearly some potential issues when examining the inside of this important organ.

What Can We Tell from the Results?

During a colonoscopy, your doctor will be able to take a clear and close-up look at the inside of your large intestine. The doctor will be looking for anything unusual, including:

  • Inflammations
  • Bleeding (the source of bleeding can be located)
  • Growths such as benign polyps or potentially cancerous tumours

The results can help your doctor to diagnose the cause of symptoms such as abdominal pain or changes in your digestive habits. Sometimes it is possible to perform treatments such as removing polyps during the colonoscopy. In other cases, your doctor may recommend additional treatment after the procedure. The results from the colonoscopy will ensure that you get the right advice about your care.

If you would like to arrange a private colonoscopy in London, it’s easy to arrange an appointment with Mr Mike Mendall. Get in touch to discuss the procedure or book a consultation now.

Links:

https://www.fascrs.org/patients/disease-condition/colon-what-it-what-it-does

https://www.who.int/medical_devices/innovation/colonoscope.pdf

Colonoscopies are performed to look inside your large intestine. The two main reasons your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy are to investigate digestive symptoms and to screen for bowel cancer. Read on to discover the signs that you might need a colonoscopy and who should have bowel cancer screening.

Signs You Need a Colonoscopy

Colonoscopies can be performed to investigate symptoms that could be linked to your colon. Your doctor might recommend a colonoscopy if there is a chance you have an inflammatory bowel disease or growths in your colon.

A colonoscopy may be needed to find out what’s causing symptoms such as:

 

  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Blood in your poo (or dark, blackish poo)
  • Changes in your stool (such as chronic constipation or diarrhoea)
  • Unexplained anaemia

 

You won’t always need a colonoscopy to investigate these symptoms, but it can play a key role in the diagnosis. If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, then it’s important to see a doctor. Getting the right treatment could have a big impact on your quality of life. If you are diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease then you may need further colonoscopies to monitor your condition.

It’s vital to have digestive symptoms checked as they can sometimes be signs of bowel cancer. Although these symptoms won’t usually be a sign of anything serious, it’s important to find out for sure.

Who is at Risk of Bowel Cancer?

As well as investigating specific symptoms, colonoscopies can also be performed to check for signs of bowel cancer. Bowel cancer doesn’t always cause noticeable symptoms, especially in the early stages. Screening can ensure that it is detected as quickly as possible so that you can get the treatment you need.

Screening for bowel cancer is usually recommended for the over 50s and anyone who is at higher risk of this condition. You might need more frequent colonoscopies or to start being screened earlier if you are more likely to be affected by bowel cancer. Approximately 1 in 15 men and 1 in 18 women in the UK will be affected by bowel cancer at some point.

Risk factors for bowel cancer include:

 

  • Being over 50
  • Family history of bowel cancer (such as a parent or sibling who was affected)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
  • Previously having polyps in your bowel
  • Smoking
  • Drinking lots of alcohol
  • Eating lots or processed or red meat

 

If you think that you might be at risk of bowel cancer or you’re over 50, then it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor. Bowel cancer screening can save lives by detecting the problem early, when it is easier to treat. However, it’s important to get personalised advice as colonoscopies aren’t necessary for everyone.

Who Can’t Have a Colonoscopy?

You only need to have a colonoscopy if your doctor wants to investigate digestive symptoms or you are at risk of bowel cancer. Screening isn’t usually needed if you are young, healthy and symptom-free. However, it can be important for the over-50s and those who are at higher risk of bowel cancer.

Most people will be able to have a colonoscopy to investigate digestive symptoms or screen for bowel cancer. However, this test isn’t suitable for everybody. If you have certain health conditions then it might not be possible to perform a colonoscopy.

Your doctor might recommend other investigations such as a CT colonography (or virtual colonoscopy) instead. Although these tests can’t provide as much detail as a colonoscopy, they can still help to detect some issues such as growths inside the colon. However, unlike a colonoscopy, it is not possible to treat problems such as polyps or to take samples for further testing during the scan.

Arranging Your Colonoscopy

If you’re worried about digestive symptoms or you want to be screened for bowel cancer, then you should see a doctor. You can see your GP first or go straight to a private gastroenterologist like Mr Mike Mendall. You should be able to arrange a private colonoscopy in London very easily, without having to wait for an appointment. You can also have private bowel cancer screening earlier than NHS screening, which is only available after 55. Screening from age 50 is usually recommended as this is when the risk of colon cancer rises.

Get in touch if you have any questions about colonoscopy or to book your appointment in London.

Links:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/colonoscopy/about/pac-20393569

https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/bowel-cancer

https://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/about-bowel-cancer/risk-factors/

If your doctor has recommended a colonoscopy then you may be wondering what to expect. Knowing what will happen during the procedure is important as it can help you to feel calmer and more in control. Keep reading to find out more about the colonoscopy procedure.

Preparing for Your Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is an investigation to look inside your large intestine, which is usually full of all the material that you’ve been digesting. Preparing by clearing out your bowel is essential because it ensures that the colonoscope will be able to get a clear view of your bowel lining.

Your doctor will ensure that you know exactly what to do before your colonoscopy. You might be told to:

 

  • Avoid eating the day before the procedure. You may only be able to drink clear liquids.
  • Take a laxative or use an enema to clear out your bowel.
  • Change the medication you are taking for other conditions.

 

Having a Colonoscopy

During the colonoscopy a thin, flexible camera will be inserted through the anus and passed along your large intestine. The doctor will use the colonoscope to examine the lining of your colon, looking for problems such as inflammation, bleeding or growths.

When you have a colonoscopy:

 

  • You may have a sedative, which could be given as a pill or through an IV. The sedative will make you feel drowsy and relaxed during the procedure.
  • You’ll be given a gown to wear and asked to lie down. You will usually be asked to lie on your side with your knees pulled up towards your chin.
  • The colonoscope will be inserted through the anus and rectum. Although this can feel a bit uncomfortable, the doctor will be very careful and use lubrication to reduce any discomfort.
  • Some air or carbon dioxide gas will be pumped into your bowel through the end of the colonoscope. It helps to inflate the colon so that the camera can look around.
  • The doctor will examine the entire lining of your large intestine using the colonoscope.
  • Sometimes it is necessary to take samples or perform treatments such as polyp removal during the procedure.

 

After the Procedure

The colonoscopy procedure should take about 30-60 minutes. Once it is over, you’ll have a chance to rest before going home. You may feel a bit uncomfortable and bloated from the gas. You may notice that you pass gas during the next few hours as it leaves your body. Moving around a bit should help with this. You will also be drowsy for at least an hour if you had a sedative, so you should make sure that you have someone to help you home after the procedure.

Most people will feel back to normal quickly, but there is a small risk of complications after a colonoscopy. It’s normal to see a small amount of blood in your first bowel movement after a colonoscopy, but if it happens again or you see a lot of blood, then you should tell your doctor. You should also seek advice if you develop a fever or you’re experiencing abdominal pain. Your doctor will make sure that you know what to watch out for and you can always get in touch if you’re worried.

You won’t usually get the full results of your colonoscopy right away as your doctor will want to review the images. You’ll then be told if the result was negative (nothing was found) or positive. If any issues were detected during the colonoscopy. The doctor will explain what this means and what your next steps should be. You might need further tests or treatment.

Feeling Anxious About a Colonoscopy?

If you have any questions or you’re feeling anxious about having a colonoscopy, then you should talk to your doctor. It’s important for you to know what to expect and to understand the risks and benefits clearly. You may also want to discuss sedation as it can help you to relax during a colonoscopy. However, just talking to your doctor and getting their support can help you to feel better about having a colonoscopy.

Get in touch to talk to an experienced doctor about colonoscopies or book your appointment with Mr Mike Mendall.

Links:

https://www.macmillan.org.uk/information-and-support/diagnosing/how-cancers-are-diagnosed/bowel-screening/colonoscopy.html

https://www.ibdrelief.com/learn/diagnosis/tests/endoscopy-tests-for-ibd/colonoscopy-for-ibd

https://inflammatoryboweldisease.net/living/colonoscopy-much-more-with-ibd/

Heartburn or acid reflux is one of the most common digestive symptoms. Some of us only experience it occasionally, but for others it can be a regular or even daily occurrence. Why do so many of us suffer from this painful, burning sensation in our throats?

How Your Lifestyle Causes Acid Reflux

The reason why acid reflux is so common is that our modern lifestyles tend to put us at risk. The way that we eat is particularly likely to cause acid reflux, but the good thing is that we can change many of these lifestyle factors in order to prevent it. Even if you often get heartburn, it is usually possible to reduce the symptoms by changing the way you eat.

Some of the common eating habits and lifestyle factors that can put us at risk of acid reflux are:

 

  • Eating too much
  • Eating acidic, spicy, fatty or rich foods
  • Drinking too much caffeine or alcohol
  • Eating soon before lying down or going to bed
  • Eating in a hurry instead of savouring our food
  • Too much stress or anxiety
  • Being overweight

 

Most of us are probably guilty of at least some of these bad habits, so it’s hardly surprising that acid reflux is now so common. However, if your lifestyle is responsible for your acid reflux or it’s making your symptoms worse, then it is possible to help yourself to feel better just by changing these habits.

Other Causes of Acid Reflux

Although our modern lifestyles are to blame for the prevalence of acid reflux today, it isn’t responsible for every case. Sometimes acid reflux is a sign of an underlying problem that may need to be treated in order to relieve the symptoms.

Possible causes of acid reflux include:

 

  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD): GORD usually happens when there is an issue with the muscle that should keep the top of your stomach closed. If it isn’t working properly then the stomach acid can easily escape into your throat.
  • Hiatus hernia: if there is a weakness in your diaphragm, your stomach could slip through it so that it is out of place. It can then be easier for acid to escape.

 

Other aspects of your health could also affect the chances of having heartburn. Taking certain kinds of medication can affect your stomach. You are also more likely to have acid reflux if you are pregnant, due to the extra pressure on your stomach.

If there is an underlying cause for your acid reflux then you may need treatment to address it. However, it’s still important to look for any lifestyle factors that could be making your symptoms worse.

What to Do If You Always Get Heartburn?

Even though heartburn is very common, that doesn’t mean that you can just ignore it. You shouldn’t put up with any symptoms that make you feel uncomfortable. You should also be aware that acid reflux can be a sign of an underlying condition. Even though it isn’t usually caused by anything serious, it’s important to get checked by a doctor just in case. You should seek medical advice if you often get heartburn or if it is very severe.

If you’re concerned about acid reflux then you can make an appointment to see Mr Mike Mendall in London. As an experienced gastroenterologist, he will be able to check for any underlying causes of your symptoms and recommend the right treatment approach.

Links:

https://www.healthline.com/health/gerd/heartburn-vs-acid-reflux#home-treatments

https://gutscharity.org.uk/advice-and-information/symptoms/heartburn-and-reflux/

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