A Brief Guide To Understanding Your Colonoscopy Results
Colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the world. In Singapore, colon cancer is considered a top killer, affecting over 1,800 cases every year. Hence, due to its prevalence, more and more people are now encouraged to undergo colonoscopy as part of colon cancer prevention. Colonoscopy is the screening test usually performed to find colon cancer or precancerous polyps.
Especially for those who are already at the age of 45 and above, colonoscopy is typically recommended as a screening test that should be repeated every 10 years until they reach 75. Even if you are still young, it is best also to undergo colonoscopy, particularly if you notice blood in your stool, have a change in bowel movements or unexplained anaemia, or have a family history of colon cancer.
Although colonoscopies or any other medical tests sound terrifying, they are not usually painful since most patients receive a sedative before the procedure begins. However, while much has already been written about the preparation for colonoscopy and the procedure itself, less is still discussed about what the results may mean.
Not understanding your colonoscopy results can itself make you feel quite terrified. If you are eager to understand more about the findings of your screening test, this article is for you. Here is a brief guide to understanding the results of your colonoscopy.
Difference Between Negative Result and Positive Result
The findings of your colonoscopy will show either a negative result or a positive one. Your colonoscopy result is considered positive if the doctor finds a polyp or an abnormal tissue in your colon. On the other hand, a negative result means that the doctor does not find any abnormalities.
Nonetheless, even if no abnormalities are discovered, your colonoscopy doctor in Singapore may still recommend that you undergo another test in 10 years if you have no colon cancer risk factors aside from your age, in 5 years if you have a history of colon polyps, or in a year if your colon has a residual stool that hindered full examination of your colon.
Things a Positive Colonoscopy Result May Reveal
As mentioned earlier, a positive colonoscopy result means that the doctor discovers abnormalities in your colon. These abnormalities can have different meanings. Here are some of the common abnormal conditions or illnesses your colonoscopy may reveal:
Haemorrhoids are lumps of veins that can be found near the surface of your rectum’s lining. They may cause itching, pain, and bleeding, but they are usually not a cause of trouble at all. Their symptoms are often more of an annoyance than a sign of danger. Moreover, haemorrhoid swelling can commonly be prevented and treated effectively.
- Diverticular Disease
The term “diverticular disease” means that outpouchings are present in your colon where a weakness in your muscular wall protrudes outward. Most of the time, diverticular disease does not cause any symptoms or problems. When it does cause trouble, such as bleeding or infection, immediate treatment is usually effective. The most serious complication of diverticular disease is perforation, in which your colon develops a tear or hole.
- Inflammation and Ulceration
Your colon’s lining can be irritated, inflamed, and ulcerated for various reasons. This includes inflexion, inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and cancer. Some medications like NSAIDs and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines can also cause inflammation and ulceration in your colon.
- Colon Polyps
Colon polyps refer to the outgrowth of tissue from your colon’s lining. There are basically two types of polyps: neoplastic and benign. Neoplastic polyps are precancerous and have a high chance of developing into cancer, while benign polyps do not become cancerous and usually do not require any treatment.
During the colonoscopy, the doctor may remove the polyps in your colon if they are small in size. However, for larger polyps, surgery is often required.
Sometimes, a colonoscopy may discover blood in your colon. A search for its source may reveal a tumour, an abnormal collection of blood vessels, or an ulcer. However, oftentimes, the source of bleeding in your colon cannot be easily identified during colonoscopy. In such a case, additional examinations may be necessary.
Overall, understanding the results of your colonoscopy is not as complicated as it may seem. By knowing the distinction between negative and positive results, as well as the different diseases your results may reveal, you can have a better understanding of your condition and how you can treat it.
To know more about the health status of your gut, feel free to consult one of GUTCARE’s abdominal pain specialists in Singapore. GUTCARE offers a variety of reliable treatment options and screening tests like a colonoscopy.