Every loss is a gain, they say and this phrase turned out to fit perfectly in Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds' situation, where losing a bet with his friend and actor Rob McElhenney turned out to be a lifesaving procedure.
Both actors made a bet "just for some fun" and it ended with both of them getting a colonoscopy. They wanted to share their experiences in a new video for a colon cancer awareness organisation.
Post Reynolds’ colonoscopy, the doctor shared that he found a polyp, which turned out to be a potentially lifesaving discovery. McElhenney had three polyps that were found and removed.
But what is a colonoscopy? Is it important to get it done? To find out this and more, we spoke to Dr Sarthak Malik, Consultant Gastroenterology, HCMCT Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka.
Why should you get a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is a test to detect the health of the large intestine which is also known as the colon. Whenever there is suspicion of pathology or any problem with the large intestine, a colonoscopy must be done. The problem of the large intestine includes infections that cause ulcers in the intestine, which can present with pain in the abdomen and blood in the stool.
During the procedure, a tube is inserted into a person’s rectum, and a video camera on the tube allows a doctor to examine the colon.
What all diseases can get detected through colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy usually detects any problem in the large intestine like colon cancer, blood in stools, weight loss, loss of appetite, and worsening constipation. Other common problems can include inflammatory bowel disease, where patients have chronic diarrhoea, and pain in the abdomen.
What are some signs that men should definitely get a colonoscopy?
Any person who is having blood in the stools, should definitely get a colonoscopy done.
Other indications are if a patient has chronic diarrhoea and chronic loose stools, altered bowel habits, and severe anaemia are some of the groups of patients in which a colonoscopy should be done.
People with higher risk for colorectal cancer that includes those with a family history of cancer, among other factors, might have to start their screening sooner and be more regular.
At what age should men check?
Ideally, people should start getting their colonoscopy done at age 45 years, with regular screenings every 10 years.
How expensive is it?
Colonoscopy can cost somewhere around Rs.15,000 which can sometimes also include the charges for sedation given to the patient to make the procedure bearable.
Is it painful?
Colonoscopy can be a bit painful. Sensitive people are usually not able to handle it. It is advised to go through the procedure under sedation. In quite a number of cases, the sedative given is combined with pain medication to reduce discomfort.
There is also a chance that some people might feel “mild pain, pressure or cramping during the procedure,” even when they are completely asleep during the procedure depending on the type of anesthesia given, according to John Hopkins.
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What is the recovery period?
It takes ideally around one hour for a person to recover, after they've undergone the procedure of colonoscopy.