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Gastroenterology Blog

Colonoscopy Fears: Why You Shouldn't Listen to Your Gut

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Tue, Mar 20, 2018 @ 4:56 PM

colonoscopy fears.jpegColorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths among Americans.  Fortunately, it is also one of the most preventable with early detection.  This is why colonoscopies at the age of 50 (or sooner for high-risk patients) have become the standard recommended screening test.  Not only can these procedures detect existing colorectal cancer, they also allow gastroenterologists to find and remove pre-cancerous polyps before they have an opportunity to progress.  However, there are still many who put off the test, oftentimes due to fears that are unwarranted such as the following.

A Colonoscopy is going to be Embarrassing

There are many patients who are embarrassed to talk about a colonoscopy, much less have one.  They may feel that they will be exposed with doctors and nurses seeing them in a vulnerable position, but these concerns are unfounded.  The medical professionals who perform colonoscopies do this same procedure countless times over the course of their career.  Not only is it something they are used to seeing frequently, they are focused only at the job at hand by viewing the monitor where the images are displayed.  Rest assured that those in the room with you will be far more concerned with the interval view than the external one.

A Colonoscopy is going to Hurt

The assumption that a colonoscopy may be painful may seem logical, but it could not be further from the truth.  Patients are sedated before their procedure and will not feel a thing.  Furthermore, the scope itself is a very thin and flexible tube that should cause no discomfort.  In the majority of cases, the most discomfort patients feel after their procedure, if any, is from trapped gas that soon passes.

I’m Scared to get my Colonoscopy Results

Perhaps it is the fear of the unknown that keeps someone from receiving their colonoscopy.  They may fear that their physician will find evidence of cancer.  Fortunately, most colonoscopies give good results, and when performed in a timely manner, they can actually prevent the vast majority of colorectal cancers from ever developing.  In reality, putting off a colonoscopy should be a far greater fear than the results of one done at a recommended age.

I Don’t have Time for a Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy does require a certain investment of time.  Patients will need to take the day off of work, find someone to drive them, and prepare the day before by drinking a colon-cleansing liquid.  The truth, however, is that patients don’t have the time to NOT get a colonoscopy.  Putting this test off to avoid an unpleasant drink or time away from work is simply nonsensical, as the end result could be far more dangerous and time-consuming. 

If you are at average risk for colorectal cancer and are 50 years old or are 45 and at high-risk, don’t let anxiety about a colonoscopy prevent you from receiving this critical screening.  By getting the procedure, you will find that your fears beforehand were unfounded and that the anticipation was the worst part by far.  Furthermore, you will be safeguarding your health for years to come, as a colonoscopy with a negative result does not need to be repeated for 10 years. 

Ready to schedule?  Contact Gastroenterology Associates, and request a consultation with one of our gastroenterologists today.

Contact Our Colon  Cancer Screening Clinic 

Topics: Colonoscopy

Why Your Colonoscopy Shouldn’t be a Source of Stress

Posted by Dr. Neelima Reddy on Wed, Jun 21, 2017 @ 12:54 PM

colonscopy and stressThroughout the course of my medical training and my years as a physician, my perspective has changed in many ways.  I went from simply wanting a solid career to finding the practice of medicine that I was passionate about.  Eventually, I began to make the connection of what I studied in books to how it helps patients. The transition to independent patient management was different and gradual; there was no instructor behind me telling me what to do. Diagnosing and treating patients all by myself was a new feeling. Initially it was a little scary, but I quickly learned that my knowledge and experience was power to help others.

As a gastroenterologist, I would become anxious when I performed a colonoscopy on patients who had a family history of colon cancer or polyps.    I was nervous for them and about what I would find in them. I knew having a family history increased their risk of developing colon polyps and cancer. Oftentimes, the patient was in the same state of anxiousness as well. However, as my experience grew, I saw that the increased risk was minimal. I started explaining this to the patient as a way to help alleviate at least some of their anxiety. Some patients would say “Don’t find anything in me, Doc” and I wouldn’t! Those were the patients that usually had normal colons, but I think the experience helped them develop a positive attitude and encouraged them to take better care of themselves.

Those patients that were nervous before the procedure were relaxed afterwards, knowing that everything really was okay. If something was abnormal, it could usually be taken care of during the procedure For example, finding and removing a polyp. They were happy it was done, they were going to be fine, and they didn’t have to do it again for a few years.

Imagine the anxiety that a patient experiences before the procedure-- hours, days or even months depending on how long they put it off. This worry doesn’t change the end result. I tell them that I don’t find anything that’s not already in the colon, but finding it earlier gives them the benefit of potentially preventing cancer.  There is no benefit to being an ostrich, burying your head in the sand and closing your eyes to the symptoms or lack of symptoms. Many people attempt to justify their procrastination with an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude. The danger here is that the most common symptom of colon cancer is no symptoms at all.

The undue anxiety before a colonoscopy is needless. If it is a “good stress” before a test that makes you study better and harder, then it is beneficial. If it makes you forget what you read, then it is of no use to you at all. Taking the right action at the right time, leaves no room for anxiety. So, prepare now to keep yourself healthy.  Take a deep breath, pick up the phone, and schedule your colonoscopy.  The only way it can change your future is for the better.

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT

Topics: Colonoscopy

What to Expect After Your Baton Rouge Colonoscopy

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Wed, Oct 05, 2016 @ 10:32 AM

What_to_Expect_After_Your_Baton_Rouge_Colonoscopy.jpegA colonoscopy is a vital screening procedure for general health and wellness in all adults 50 years of age and older. This endoscopic procedure can detect polyps, tumors, inflammation or any other abnormalities that are asymptomatic or otherwise undetectable by other tests. And while your gastroenterologist has made sure you’re well-versed in the at-home preparation for the endoscopic screening, as well as the procedural steps of a colonoscopy, you may have some questions about what comes after.

To ease your mind, Baton Rouge gastroenterologists have answered common—but crucial—questions regarding what to expect after your colonoscopy:

How long do I have to stay on-site after my colonoscopy?

After the exam, it will normally take about an hour to recover from the sedative, during which you’ll remain on-site. Although we use sedation that wears off quickly, it can take up to 24 hours for the full effects of the sedative to wear off, so remember to take the day off work and avoid operating heavy machinery.

Is it safe to drive myself home?

Please arrange a ride home. Whether it’s taking an Uber or having a friend drive you to and from your appointment, it’s imperative that you don’t fight the effects of the sedative as they wear off.  We cannot do your procedure unless you have an arranged ride.

Do I have to stick to the pre-colonoscopy diet?

Unless you have had a polyp removed during your colonoscopy, or your doctor advises you about diet,  you should be able to resume your normal diet immediately following the procedure. You may experience bloating, mild cramping, or the sensation of having gas, but these should pass quickly.  

Are there any post-colonoscopy side effects I should watch for?

Bloating or a sensation of gas in the abdomen will pass once you are able to eliminate the air in the colon. In some cases, you may experience a trace amount of blood in your stool following your colonoscopy—if you have problem with hemorrhoids, etc. However, if you begin to experience severe abdominal pain, fever, chills, or if the rectal bleeding is prolonged or excessive, please contact your gastroenterologist immediately. These symptoms could indicate a complication that requires immediate attention.

For other questions or concerns regarding your upcoming colonoscopy, feel free to call the digestive health experts of Baton Rouge.

By scheduling your colonoscopy, you’ve taken another step on the journey to lifelong digestive health. With the largest association of board-certified gastroenterologists in Baton Rouge and surrounding regions, the facilities and services of Gastroenterology Associates are here to help you on every step of this vital journey.

7 reasons for colon cancer screening

Topics: Colonoscopy

Deductible Met? Schedule Your GI Screening Now.

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 @ 1:59 PM

As the end of the year approaches, many people have met their insurance deductible, so that full insurance coverage kicks in for elective procedures. This makes it a great time to schedule medical care that is not immediately necessary. 

What Medical Procedures Should I Schedule After Hitting Deductible?

when to schedule a colonoscopy or endoscopySeeking medical care for conditions that are causing severe symptoms should not be delayed, nor should care for conditions that might worsen. For example, severe abdominal pain, left untreated, can result in a more serious problem in the not-too-distant future.

Conversely, wellness and screening procedures can safely be left for the end of the year.  Wellness visits are largely, and in most cases fully, covered by insurance.  However, diagnostic testing and treatment of conditions that are not necessarily considered emergent, like GERD, celiac's, or IBS, might be delayed for a period of time or as recommended by your physician.

Meeting deductible makes several of these diagnostic tests significantly more affordable for patients.  Examples of GI procedures that patients frequently schedule after meeting their deductible are colonoscopy and upper endoscopy.

Colonoscopy Screening Recommendations

who needs colonoscopy and whenColonoscopy is a vital screening tool for those with an increased risk of developing colon cancer and for individuals with problems impacting the colon. While a screening colonoscopy is not generally subject to the deductible, as it is a preventative procedure, diagnostic colonoscopy (used to diagnose a condition) may be subject to a deductible - even if the condition is discovered during a procedure that was originally used for screening. 

Gastroenterology Associates will review your screening/ wellness benefits and your copayments prior to the procedure, so there are no surprises for you after your procedure. We provide standard of care anesthesia services, even if some insurances do not always cover this, so there is no cost to the patient. Our patients benefit from effective and safe sedation.

Current recommendations for people over the age of 50 state that everyone receive a colonoscopy at least every 10 years. Also, higher risk groups should be screened earlier and more frequently to better prevent colon cancer. Speak with your doctor about earlier and more frequent screening if you: 

  • Are African-American
  • Have a family history of colon cancer or polyps
  • Have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Have a history of colon polyps or colon cancer

Make Your Appointment Now

Elective procedure appointments are in high demand near the end of the year and often shorter supply, because many people who have met their deductible are using this period to schedule their colonoscopy and other procedures. So, make your GI appointments sooner rather than later to secure a space in this year.

If you have met your deductible and are ready to get your colonoscopy or other elective procedure, we would be happy to schedule your appointment today. To schedule a consultation at the Gastroenterology Associates, please click below and enter your information or give us a call at (225) 927-1190.

Shedule Consultation

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

Topics: GERD, Celiac Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Colonoscopy, Endoscopic Procedures

Why Go To Gastroenterology Associates For My Treatment?

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 @ 3:37 PM

gastro doctors Baton RougeGastroenterologists are doctors that specialize in the care and treatment of the digestive tract, from the mouth and esophagus, to the small and large intestine and rectum. 

The physicians practicing at Gastroenterology Associates in Baton Rouge, LA are all board certified gastroenterologists, with many of them holding extensive additional credentials and specializations.


Specialized Care is More Effective Care

The evidence is clear: seeing a gastroenterology specialist is associated with better care outcomes. Although many internal medicine and primary care physicians offer basic gastroenterology services such as colonoscopy, numerous studies show that experienced, board-certified gastroenterologists are able to provide higher quality care that can be life-saving.

What's the difference? Internists are doctors who specialize in the care of the human body. They act as generalists, providing primary care and identifying problems that require diagnosis or treatment from a specialist. Internists have gone through medical school as well as residency. When common digestive problems are encountered, if you do not improve with basic treatment or if you need a procedure such as an EGD/ upper endoscopy or a colonoscopy, your internist or family physician will refer you to a gastroenterologist.

Gastroenterologists have gone through all of the same training as internists, but received further training to become board-certified in the treatment of conditions affecting the gastrointestinal system, which includes the colon, bowel, stomach, and liver. Gastroenterologists typically complete hundreds of colonoscopies during their training, and continue to perform hundreds each year in their practice.

The Evidence

A recent study by Dr. Nancy Baxter from St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto examined Medicare billing records from over 9,000 people who were diagnosed with colon cancer and ultimately died from the disease in their 70s and 80s, along with 27,000 records from individuals who did not have colon cancer.

digestive health treatment in Baton RougeThe researchers found that people who did not have a colonoscopy in recent years were most likely to die from colon cancer, confirming what has long been found in colon cancer research. However, patients who received their colonoscopy from a board-certified gastroenterologist rather than an internist or a surgeon were most likely to have precancerous polyps found and removed early, resulting in lower mortality rates.

Other studies have confirmed these findings, and also found that surgeons come in second place when it comes to finding the highest number of polyps, behind gastroenterologists but ahead of primary care physicians who do colonoscopy.

Although gastroenterologists provide the best colonoscopy, it is of course better to get a colonoscopy from a general pracitioner or primary care pysician than to not get a colonoscopy at all if a gastroenterologist is not available. Gastroenterology Associates are able to provide access to gastroenterology care at one of our three locations in Baton Rouge, Zachary and Livingston.

Why Higher Volume = Better Results

Volume outcomes data suggests that the higher volume of procedures of a physician or clinic the better the outcomes. Even for conditions like pancreatitis, which is routinely treated with fluids and medications, the outcomes under treatment of a gastroenterologist still exceed those of a general practitioner. When done at a high volume center, patients did better than low volume centers.

Similarly, a recent study in the Journal of Surgical Oncology revealed that low volume centers (or those with less procedures done by a practitioner) were associated with increased odds of having adverse outcome. For complex colonoscopy, choosing a primary care specialtist as opposed to gastroenterologists, added to the odds of adverse events. All the physicians at Gastroenterology Associates are proficient in routine and specialized procedures and are dedicated to your safety and comfort during the procedures.

Colonoscopy and What Comes After

Another advantage of visiting the Gastroenterology Associates is that we are able to provide care for whatever issues are revealed during the colonoscopy. When you go to a primary care physician or surgeon, they may be able to detect abnormalities, but they will have to pass off the diagnosis or treatment of the problem to a gastroenterologist.

For patients with issues such as gastric reflux, anemia, difficulty swallowing, and abdominal pain, most primary care physicians will not be able to certainly diagnose without an upper endoscopy which may be used to detect stomach ulcers and esophageal cancer in patients with these conditions and symptoms. In addition, only gastroenterologists can perform ERCPs to examine the bile ducts. 

If a patient has anemia or blood in the stool, an upper endoscopy may still be needed and is performed by a gastroenterologist. It is best to have all treatments and care under the supervision of one physician and in one place. A capsule endoscopy may also be ordered if the cause of anemia is not found during colonoscopy or endoscopy. Gastroenterology Associates is the only group in Baton Rouge that can provide all these services in one place, including EUS (endoscopic ultrasound).

Gastroenterologists have the expertise to treat a wide range of gastrointestinal problems, including but not limited to: 

Colon cancer

Crohn's disease

Ulcerative colitis

Diverticulitis

Stomach ulcers 

Gallstones

Pancreatic conditions

GERD

Esophageal cancer

Bowel obstruction

Therefore, seeing a gastroenterologist for your colonoscopy allows you to do "one stop shopping." This is not just convenient, but it allows for an important continuity of care that can improve outcomes. For example, when the gastroenterologist is the same doctor who performed the colonoscopy, he has seen for himself what the colon looks like, and has more detail on the matter than is available in a report.

Getting a colonoscopy is an important health screening procedure for people over the age of 50 or earlier if you are African American or have a personal/family history. The procedure can detect growths that can lead to cancer, as well as other abnormalities. Although some primary care physicians offer colonoscopy, it is best to be screened at Gastroenterology Associates, which is run entirely by board-certified gastroenterologists.

If you are ready to schedule your appointment, the Gastroenterology Associates would be happy to hear from you. To schedule your consultation today, please click below and enter your information or give us a call at (225) 927-1190.

Schedule A Consultation Gastroenterology Associates

 

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

Topics: Gastroenterologists, Gut Health, Colonoscopy

Who Does Colonoscopy in Baton Rouge?

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 @ 3:40 PM

Gastroenterology AssociatesGetting a colonoscopy is one of the most important things older adults 50 years and above can do to prevent colon cancer and ensure early treatment if colon cancer does develop.

Gastroenterology Associates understands the importance of having a skilled, experienced gastroenterologist perform a colonoscopy, which is why we work to provide the most expert colonoscopies in Baton Rouge.

Purpose of Colonoscopy

Colon cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in the United States, especially among adults over the age of 50 and certain other at-risk populations. The purpose of a colonoscopy is to detect precancerous polyps and early cases of colon cancer. Colon cancer is usually preceded by the growth of benign polyps which have the potential to become cancerous later on. These polyps usually cause no symptoms, and removing them can prevent cancer from developing. 

Colon cancer is most treatable when it is detected and treating as early as possible. However, most early cases of colon cancer do not cause any symptoms. Colonoscopy facilitates the early detection and treatment of cancer, and is associated with lower rates of death from colon cancer.

The Difference an Expert Makes

The research is clear: colonoscopy can be life-saving, but the skill and experience of the doctor performing the procedure makes a huge difference. Numerous studies indicate that outcomes are better at clinics that do a high volume of colonoscopies each year. At Gastroenterology Associates, our experienced physicians perform hundreds of colonoscopies each year.

Studies also indicate that more experienced gastroenterologists have a higher cecal intubation rate, or a higher rate of successfully examining the whole colon. Cecal intubation refers to reaching the end of the colon during the exam, which a more experienced gastroenterologist is most likely to achieve. More experienced doctors are also associated with: 

• Higher rates of identifying small, difficult to detect precancerous polyps

• Lower chance of developing cancer after a colonoscopy due to missed polyps

• Lower chance of side effects from the procedure

In contrast, generalists tend to provide less effective and comprehensive colonoscopy.

What to Expect During Colonoscopy

what to expect during colonoscopyColonoscopy is often an anxiety-producing procedure, which leads many individuals to put off recommended screenings. Gastroenterology Associates understands this which is why we work to maintain the dignity and privacy of each patient. 

Colonoscopy is performed in a private room, and the staff will work to make sure that you are as covered and comfortable as possible throughout the procedure.

Most patients choose to be placed under local anesthesia /sedation during the procedure, which prevents them from feeling or remembering the procedure. When performed by a skilled physician, the procedure should be pain-free even without the use of sedation.

If you had a previous colonoscopy experience with pain or inadequate sedation, please be reassured that Gastroenterology Associates have the sedation and trained staff to monitor you during the procedure, to make it a safe and pain-free experience.

Gastroenterology Associates 

All of our physicians are board certified gastroenterologists. This means that we are all extremely experienced in performing colonoscopies. We are also well-equipped to treat any condition that may be identified during a colonoscopy, including but not limited to: 

• Ulcerative colitis

• Crohn's disease

• Diverticulitis

• Ulcers

• Bleeding

Gastroenterology Associates can also perform further diagnostic services, such as upper endoscopy, when necessary. In contrast, doctors who are not gastroenterologists may not be able to perform these additional procedures if necessary. General practitioners also may not be able to provide medical treatment or follow-up if an abnormality is diagnosed during the procedure (colitis, Crohn’s or stricture, etc.) and would then have to  refer the abnormal findings to gastroenterologists.

Our services and specialty testing tools include: 

• Manometry

• Capsule endoscopy

• Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

• Hemorrhoidal banding

• Lab tests

• X-ray

• CT scan

• Endoscopic ultrasound (we are the only outpatient center in Louisiana to offer this procedure)

All of these services are performed under one roof in our cutting-edge outpatient clinic, so that you can get all the care you need at one location.

The Gastroenterology Associates would be happy to schedule your colonoscopy. To schedule your consultation, please click below and enter your information or give us a call at (225) 927-1190.

Contact Our Colon  Cancer Screening Clinic

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

Topics: Colonoscopy

Why I Don’t Want A Colonoscopy, Part III

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 @ 9:00 AM

This is part of a series of 3 blog posts whereby a family member (FM) of a patient is having a discussion on colonoscopy and colon cancer screening with a gastroenterologist (D).  Many individuals find reasons to put off their recommended colon cancer screening. Many of these objections to screening are addressed in this series.  If you know someone who is resisting having their screening performed, please print or email them these 3 posts. It could save their life!

colon cancer screening Baton RougeWhy I Don’t Want A Colonoscopy, Part I

Why I Don’t Want A Colonoscopy, Part II

 

FM: I don’t want to take two days off.

D: You don’t have to. You will prep the evening before the procedure. So, you only need the day of the procedure off. You will only be asleep for the duration of the procedure, 20-30 minutes at the most. However, patients cannot drive after the procedure.

 

FM: I don’t want to pay a lot of money. I can’t afford it!

D: Most health insurance companies and Medicare cover 100% of a screening colonoscopy (meaning there are no symptoms) for everyone 50+. Our insurance and billing staff perform a check prior to the procedure and will inform you of your coverage. We are here to assist you with payment plans, etc. as needed.

Also, if you wait until you have symptoms, not only are you jeopardizing your health, but also your wallet. Why? At the point that there are symptoms (rectal bleeding, blood in stool, blood in toilet or on toilet paper, abdominal pain, changes in bowel frequency or consistency),   the colonoscopy will likely be considered diagnostic (meaning it’s performed to evaluate causes of symptoms), and copays or deductible may lead to patients incurring costs.

 

FM: I will think about doing the colonostomy.

D: A colonoscopy is the procedure we talked about. A colostomy is an opening of the colon on to the skin, with a bag covering it. A colonostomy or a colonoscophy are the most seen misspellings of colonoscopy.  

 So, now that we have handled all of your objections to colonoscopy, here is the phone number to call and schedule your colonoscopy. (225.927.1190) Patients do not need a referral from your doctor. The Open Access Colonoscopy Screening Clinic nurse will provide instruction and schedule you, provided you do not have any other symptoms.  If you do have symptoms, we can help schedule a consult appointment with one of our 17 board certified gastroenterologist in the clinic.

(D: To Self: Good! One more life saved, but I am now late for my next patient! Time to hurry, hurry, hurry!!)

 

Get Behind Screening!

Everyone should strongly consider having colon cancer screening procedures performed at a high volume center where the staff is most experienced and well-trained. Recent research indicates that the best outcomes happen when a colonoscopy is performed by a board-certified gastroenterologist, as opposed to other physicians with less colonoscopy volume and subsequently less experience.  

 Board-certified gastroenterologists are trained for better detection and removal of polyps and appropriate treatment of any conditions noted, than other types of providers who may be just able to do a procedure. Gastroenterology Associates is dedicated to performing only gastrointestinal procedures with utmost levels of precision and care.  

With the largest group of board-certified gastroenterologists in Baton Rouge and surrounding regions, our facility and services are meant to help patients achieve their best digestive health and to prevent colon cancer through timely screening. If you haven’t had your preventative screening for colon cancer, call us at 225.927.1190 or use the link below to schedule with one of our great doctors!

Contact Our Colon  Cancer Screening Clinic  

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

Topics: Cancer, Gastroenterologists, Colonoscopy

Why I Don't Want A Colonoscopy, Part II

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Thu, Mar 19, 2015 @ 10:59 AM

This is part of a series of 3 blog posts whereby a family member (FM) of a patient is having a discussion on colonoscopy and colon cancer screeningwith a gastroenterologist (D).  Many individuals find reasons to put off their recommended colon cancer screening. Many of these objections to screening are addressed in this series.  If you know someone who is resisting having their screening performed, please print or email them these 3 posts. It could save their life!

Why I Don’t Want A Colonoscopy, Part I

  

excuses for no colonoscopyFM: I am afraid of going to sleep.  I hate to be out of control of my own body.

D: It is a short procedure where patients wake up right after the procedure and talk to their doctor. The sedation does not make you sleepy all day.

You are, in fact, more in control of your body and health by doing a colonoscopy, because you have taken appropriate measures to protect against future illness and cancer.

 

FM: I am afraid I won’t wake up, like Michael Jackson… or not be able to breathe. I have sleep apnea!

D: You should be concerned about sleep apnea and snoring- concerned enough to take action, lose weight, or see your physician for appropriate measures to help you.

You should be concerned about your breathing and oxygen levels every night you go to sleep, with sleep apnea and snoring

You should not be concerned about sleep apnea during the procedure. Trained staff monitors your oxygen levels, blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate continuously during the procedure, so we can prevent and treat any problems that may arise. In fact, the scenario of sleeping during colonoscopy is one of the best you can undergo with sleep apnea, if there is one. You are assured of your safety, more than an unmonitored setting at home.

If there is any indication of an episode of sleep apnea during the procedure, even if you were not aware of it previously, we will inform you so that you can take care of the problem.

We monitor while you are medicated and it is all carried out by appropriately trained staff with adequate monitoring and necessary equipment.

 

FM: My friend didn't do it until he was 70 and he did not have any problems.

D: Chances are good that you don’t have your friend’s genes or his diet. So, you can’t compare your circumstances to theirs.

 Studies, comprised of thousands of patients, have shown that the risk of polyps is higher in people after 50 years of age. So, the national societies have set guidelines for everyone to follow.

 

FM: Yes, I know!  My mother had polyps when she was 58.

D: Now, you are talking!  Although the recommended screening age for the general population is 50, if you have a first degree family member- parents, brothers/sisters, children- who’ve had colon cancer or polyps (as these could become cancer), you should start your screening colonoscopy at 40 years. Most insurance companies follow these guidelines which is important for coverage of your colon cancer screening.

 

FM: I don’t want any pain. My friend had a lot of pain when he did it

D: Here’s your family member, waking from a delightful “nap,” safe and well-rested. It doesn’t look like there was any pain. We are beyond the days of pain. Safe, effective sedation, adjusted per your needs, largely sees to that. Also, a well-trained gastroenterologist, who performs a high volume of procedures daily, should know how to avoid incurring pain for the patient and safely complete the procedure.

 

FM: I heard of someone who had a problem after colonoscopy.

D: Complications are uncommon. Serious complications are even rarer after a colonoscopy. Any procedure may have potential complications.  The risk of an auto accident is higher than the risk of a colonoscopy complication. If that fear doesn’t keep you from driving, you should not avoid a colonoscopy.

 

FM: I don’t want surgery.

D: That’s why you should do a screening colonoscopy when suggested. Surgery is generally only necessitated for patients that wait until their condition is severe, and it is too late.  These patients may have part of their colon removed and end up with a colostomy, which is “the bag” attached to colon through the abdominal wall.

 By doing a preventive procedure, we can prevent colon cancer and surgery. If an early cancer is found before symptoms occur, it could be removed completely during colonoscopy or by minimally invasive surgery without the need for a colostomy in most cases.

 

FM: I want my colonoscopy in a private room.

D: Each patient has a dedicated nurse, technician, anesthesia provider, and a doctor who will care for you in a private room during the procedure. Our admitting and recovery staff are well trained and experienced to meet your needs before and following the procedure.

 Get Behind Screening!

Everyone should strongly consider having colon cancer screening procedures performed at a high volume center where the staff is most experienced and well-trained. Recent research indicates that the best outcomes happen when a colonoscopy is performed by a board-certified gastroenterologist, as opposed to other physicians with less colonoscopy volume and subsequently less experience.  

 Board-certified gastroenterologists are trained for better detection and removal of polyps and appropriate treatment of any conditions noted, than other types of providers who may be just able to do a procedure. Gastroenterology Associates is dedicated to performing only gastrointestinal procedures with utmost levels of precision and care.  

With the largest group of board-certified gastroenterologists in Baton Rouge and surrounding regions, our facility and services are meant to help patients achieve their best digestive health and to prevent colon cancer through timely screening. If you haven’t had your preventative screening for colon cancer, call us at 225.927.1190 or use the link below to schedule with one of our great doctors!

Contact Our Colon  Cancer Screening Clinic  

 Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

 

Topics: Cancer, Colonoscopy

Why I Don't Want A Colonoscopy, Part I

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Wed, Mar 18, 2015 @ 4:11 PM

This is part of a series of 3 blog posts whereby a family member of a patient and a gastroenterologist are having a discussion on colonoscopy and colon cancer screening.  Many individuals find reasons to put off their recommended colon cancer screening. Here, we address those objections.  If you know someone who is resisting having their screening performed, please print or email them these 3 posts. It could save their life!

 

 Several recent studies have found that married couples (and individuals in unmarried relationships) had a higher rate of colon cancer screening compared to single, divorced, and widowed individuals.  Frequently, spouses bring partners in for screening, and occasionally, challenges or group mentality can be the driving force. It’s not uncommon to hear “my wife made me come in” or “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” 

why i dont want colonoscopy Females plan many of the health care initiatives and schedule appointments in many households, so it seems to work out in favor of those husbands in these “coupled” relationships with better screening rates.  It appears that when couples near the 50 year old benchmark for first screenings (40-45 for African Americans or people with family/personal histories or IBD), they take a team mentality in screening, going in together.

 On the other side of the coin, doctors also encounter spouses/ family members that come to take patients home after their colonoscopy. When asked if they have had their colon cancer screening, luckily, most of them have been screened in a timely and scheduled fashion.  

 However, there are a few that resist scheduling their screening.   Conversations with these family members typically go like this:

 

D (Doctor): Have you had your colonoscopy as well?

FM (Family Member): Oh no! I am not going to do that.

D: Why not?

FM: I don’t think I need it.

D: Everyone 50 years and older needs a screening colonoscopy.

FM: Well, I don’t want it.

D: But you need it.

FM: I feel fine. I don’t have any problems.

D: That’s why you need it, to keep you that way! Screening colonoscopy is a preventive measure, part of your wellness checks. Someone might not have symptoms from high blood pressure or cholesterol, but tests can reveal them! Similarly, colon polyps, and even colon cancer, do not always cause symptoms. 

 

FM: I am scared.

D: Scared of what?

FM: Of what I am going to find out.  I don’t want any bad news.

D: If you do a screening colonoscopy at 50, or sooner if you have a family member who has had colon cancer or polyps, then we can detect and effectively remove pre-cancerous polyps or even early cancer. Prevention and early diagnosis are more effective and much less scary than waiting for symptoms.

 

FM: I am afraid of drinking “that gallon stuff”.

D: There are several new prep options that are small in quantity and very effective. We have some tricks for an improved taste as well. Remember: the effort you put in one day of colon cleansing gives you peace of mind for 5-10 years and it could save your life!

Another positive perspective is that you might feel better after a complete cleanse and reduce your chance of having colon cancer. Many people in the general population pay good money for “colon cleanses” and “detoxes”.

***The next post in this series will publish on March 19,2015*** 

Get Behind Screening!

 Everyone should strongly consider having colon cancer screening procedures performed at a high volume center where the staff is most experienced and well-trained. Recent research indicates that the best outcomes happen when a colonoscopy is performed by a board-certified gastroenterologist, as opposed to other physicians with less colonoscopy volume and subsequently less experience.  

 Board-certified gastroenterologists are trained for better detection and removal of polyps and appropriate treatment of any conditions noted, than other types of providers who may be just able to do a procedure. Gastroenterology Associates is dedicated to performing only gastrointestinal procedures with utmost levels of precision and care.  

 With the largest group of board-certified gastroenterologists in Baton Rouge and surrounding regions, our facility and services are meant to help patients achieve their best digestive health and to prevent colon cancer through timely screening. If you haven’t had your preventative screening for colon cancer, call us at 225.927.1190 or use the link below to schedule with one of our great doctors!

Contact Our Colon  Cancer Screening Clinic  

 Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

Topics: Cancer, Colonoscopy

Schedule Your 2014 Health Appointments Now!

Posted by Gastroenterology Associates on Thu, Nov 06, 2014 @ 3:42 PM

scheduling_health_appointmentsAs the end of the year approaches, it is the ideal time to make health care appointments, either for your annual wellness physical or for treatments and services for which a deductible must be met. November and December are often the months of the year when patients and families finally meet their health insurance deductibles.  However, these two months are often the busiest with holidays, family, and travel absorbing a bulk everyone’s free time.  So, Gastroenterology Associates encourages everyone to try to get in to their health related appointments sooner rather than later. Now is an excellent time to make your gastroenterology appointments for colonoscopy, upper endoscopy for reflux, or other elective procedures.

Things to Do Once Your Deductible is Met

Virtually all health insurance plans have an annual deductible which must be paid out by the patient or family before full health insurance benefits activate.  Most insurance plans roll over in January, and the deductible “banks” reverts back to $0.  For this reason, many people seek to have more expensive, elective procedures done once the deductible has been met.

As people receive necessary medical care throughout the year, most or all of the deductible is usually met by October or November. As a result, November and December are an excellent time to get routine appointments out of the way. Appointment availability is typically best during November, because doctors travel and visit family in the month of December as well, reducing the number of available appointments.

Medical issues which could be serious or may become worse over time should not be put off for any reason and medical care should be sought regardless of having met a deductible or not. The risks and costs of putting off any necessary treatments far outweigh the savings and will likely multiply with lack of treatment.  Ignoring new symptoms can significantly impact the ability of any health care professional to care for and treat the condition casing the ailment.

However, elective procedures for problems which are not immediately pressing can be pushed to the end of the year when deductibles are met and payment for these procedures are a bit easier. Many people wait until their deductible is met to schedule several elective procedures, like:

  • Diagnostic colonoscopy
  • Upper endoscopy for reflux
  • Mammogram
  • Annual skin cancer evaluation
  • Annual physical, bloodwork, and EKG
  • Physical Therapy
  • Allergy Testing

Screening vs. Diagnostic Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy is one of the most important preventative and diagnostic procedures for detecting and treating colon cancer and other gastrointestinal conditions and diseases.  Not all colonoscopies are the same, however, in purpose, and they are billed accordingly. When it comes to costs, it is helpful to understand the distinction between diagnostic and screening colonoscopy.

A screening colonoscopy is considered preventative wherein the patient undergoes the colonoscopy in the absence of indicative signs or problematic symptoms (of which there are usually few with colon cancer).  The purpose of the screening colonoscopy is to test for colorectal cancer or polyps. The intent of the screening colonoscopy is not changed if polyps or colorectal cancer is found, and it will still be billed as a screening colonoscopy.  After the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicare and many health insurance companies are required to cover preventative, scheduled screenings without a co-pay or deductible. 

Diagnostic colonoscopy is any colonoscopy done for the purpose of diagnosing specific signs or symptoms or for further exploration of an abnormal finding. Several of the reasons a patient might be referred for a diagnostic colonoscopy include:

  • Rectal Bleeding
  • Blood in the Stool
  • Iron Deficency Anemia with unknown cause
  • Bowel habit Changes
  • On-going and Persistant Abdominal Pain
  • Other Reasons

Biopsies may be taken or polyps are removed during this procedure and the resulting lab work is also considered diagnostic. Diagnostic colonoscopies costs aren’t waived by Medicare or third-party payors like screening tests are, and if a patient’s deductible is met, a screening colonoscopy is much more affordable.

To schedule your consultation, colonoscopy, upper endoscopy, or any other gastroenterological treatment, please contact the largest, most experienced group of gastroenterologists in Baton Rouge - Gastroenterology Associates - by clicking below and entering your information or calling (225) 927-1190.  So, schedule your 2014 health appointments now!

Schedule A Consultation Gastroenterology Associates

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace the consultative advice and experienced feedback from your physician.    Always consult with your physicians on any of your questions and concerns.

Topics: Gastroenterologists, Colonoscopy, Endoscopic Procedures