How an Endoscopy Can Help You

If your doctor recommends an endoscopy, he or she will use specialized instruments to view the internal organs and vessels in the upper or lower GI tract. These instruments make it easy to view problems within your body without making large incisions. There are many ways that an endoscopy can help you. An upper endoscopy is used to diagnose, and sometimes treat, conditions that affect the esophagus, stomach and small intestines, while a lower endoscopy focuses on the lower part of the small intestine, the colon and the rectum.

How is an endoscopy performed?

An endoscopy is performed using a flexible tube with a light and camera attached to it so your doctor can view pictures of your digestive tract on a monitor or TV screen. If you have any of the following symptoms or issues, your doctor will likely recommend this procedure:

  • Changes in bowel habits (chronic diarrhea or constipation)
  • Digestive tract bleeding
  • Polyps or other growths in the colon
  • Stomach pain
  • Ulcers, gastritis or difficulty swallowing

How an endoscopy can help you

If you have a specific area of your body or organ that is infected, damaged or cancerous, an endoscopy can help your doctor identify possible treatments. In more serious cases, your doctor may order an endoscopic biopsy, which uses forceps to remove a small tissue sample. This procedure can help locate, sample or even remove tumors, or blockages such as foreign objects or stones from your GI tract or other parts of your body. This minimally invasive procedure is also useful for performing biopsies and placing small tubes, or stents, through blockages in the esophagus, colon or bile ducts.

The importance of colonoscopy exams

Colorectal cancer is the third-most common cancer affecting men and women in the United States. But it’s also one of the most treatable when caught early. The five-year survival rate for colorectal cancer is about 92%, and regular colonoscopy exams are the primary factor in the declining the fatality rate. Precancerous polyps can be removed during your procedure, and biopsies can be taken to detect if cancer has already developed.

In addition to screening for cancer, other problems related to your colon and rectum can be identified during a colonoscopy. If you are over the age of 50 and have not yet had a colonoscopy, call Charles River Medical Associates today at (508) 848-2190 to set up an exam.