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How Often Should You Have an Endoscopy or Colonoscopy?

Sally Ngai
How Often Should You Have an Endoscopy or Colonoscopy?

The majority of us have probably heard of endoscopy and colonoscopy through family doctors or gastroenterologists. Despite the fact that the terminologies may sound sophisticated, the diagnostic procedures utilized to identify the causes of one's digestive complaints are straightforward. Endoscopy and colonoscopy are both non-surgical methods for identifying and treating disorders that affect the digestive tract. The lower digestive tract is examined using colonoscopy, a form of endoscopy, and the upper digestive tract is examined using endoscopy.

Endoscopy clinic in Singapore - Alpha Digestive & Liver Centre | Dr Benjamin Yip


Phone: 65 8876 9034

Address: 3 Mount Elizabeth, Medical Centre, 15-09, Singapore 228510

An endoscopy is what?

Doctors utilize endoscopy to identify and treat gastrointestinal conditions that affect the oesophagus, stomach, and first segment of the small intestine. A long, flexible tube with a light and camera at one end is called an endoscope and is used during the technique, which is referred to as upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy. The mouth is used to enter the endoscope, which is then gradually lowered into the stomach, oesophagus, small intestine, and throat. The camera is either attached to an eyepiece for direct viewing or to a video screen so that the images can be seen on a TV.

Upper GI endoscopy is used to identify the following conditions:

  • cancer of the esophagus
  • Oesophageal cancer (change in the cells lining the oesophagus)
  • belly cancer
  • stomach illnesses
  • abdominal hernia
  • Ulcers.
  • Advised Reading: Explained: 5 of the Most Common Digestive Disorders

A colonoscopy is what?

The large intestine is the lower portion of the digestive tract, and it is examined using a process called a colonoscopy that is comparable to an upper GI endoscopy. Here, a colonoscope—an endoscope used to view the large intestine, which includes the colon and rectum—is introduced into the anus.

Colonoscopy is employed to look for:

  • intestinal cancer
  • Crohn's illness
  • inflammatory colitis
  • malignant polyps or tumors (small growths).

The method is used to look into signs like:

  • bodily bleeding
  • changes in the way stools look
  • alterations to bowel habits
  • chronic stomach discomfort
  • persistent diarrhea
  • persistent constipation

Various tiny tools may be inserted during endoscopy and colonoscopy to collect a sample of tissue (biopsy) for analysis. These tools can also be used to remove polyps or any abnormal tissue.

Recommend Reading: Could Chronic Diarrhea Be Caused by Microscopic Colitis?

How frequently should someone have a colonoscopy and endoscopy?

Based on the symptoms, doctors will advise an endoscopic surgery when necessary.

Regardless of general health, it is encouraged to get a colonoscopy every ten years beyond the age of 50.

The likelihood of getting polyps or colon cancer rises with age. Regular colonoscopies aid in the early detection of problems that can be treated.

In the case of a family history of colon cancer or any other past sickness or condition affecting the digestive tract, colonoscopies should be taken into consideration early in life.

If someone is at a high risk of acquiring bowel disorders or if they have ongoing symptoms that are causing inflammation and irritation in the intestine, a colonoscopy should be considered once a year.

indications of a poor colonoscopy outcome

A second colonoscopy is advised in the following cases if the first one reveals no abnormalities in the colon:

  • 10 years - The only risk factor is age.
  • 5 years - Polyps in prior colonoscopies in the past
  • 1 year - The presence of leftover stool prevented a thorough examination of the colon.
  • indications of a favorable colonoscopy outcome

Positive colonoscopy means there are polyps or other abnormal tissues present. Based on the various risk factors for developing colon cancer, a repeat colonoscopy is advised in 5 to 10 years if there are one or two polyps less than 1 cm in diameter. Colonoscopy is advised more quickly in the event of:

  • additional two polyps
  • bigger than 1 cm polyps
  • Complete colon inspection prevented by polyps and leftover stool
  • Certain cellular alterations in polyps that point to a high risk of cancer in the future
  • malignant polyps.
  • Conclusion

To identify significant digestive problems, an upper GI endoscopy or colonoscopy operation must be undergone first. The procedures are essential for maintaining one's health, especially beyond age 50 or when dealing with digestive system issues. Both endoscopy and colonoscopy can assist in the early detection of illnesses for improved therapeutic outcomes.

If you have any concerns about digestive health, consult a gastroenterologist.

Sally Ngai
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