What goes into your body is very important, and so is what comes out! Bowel health is a vital part of taking care of your wellness throughout all stages of life, but especially as we age.
Dr. Celia Egan covered a very important topic in our most recent Let’s Chat that relates to one of our key W*A*I Pointes – C for cancer. Colorectal cancer is an umbrella term that includes both cancer of the colon and cancer of the rectum, and is the third most common cancer in women. true. welcomed a very special guest, Dr. Antonia Henry, MD, MPH, a specialist in colorectal surgery at University of Michigan West. She completed her fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and graduated from Harvard University Medical School.
When to start screening for colorectal cancer
There are several types of colorectal cancer screenings, and it’s important to get started at age 45. When caught in early stages, colorectal cancer is very treatable, and that’s why early detection is vital. First tier tests involve a colonoscopy every 10 years or a fecal immunohistochemical test every year (submitting a stool sample). Second tier test involves a special CT scan every 5 years with colon cleanse preparation, fecal tests every 3 years, or a flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5-10 years. If polyps are detected, they can be removed before they become cancerous.
Tips to relieving constipation
Constipation is a very common issue for women, especially during the holiday season when normal routines are shifted. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is the key to getting things moving! Some popular and safe laxatives include Miralax, Benefiber, psyllium, and methylcellulose. You can bring these in travel sized packets! Be mindful of consuming about 35 grams of fiber per day. Yoga can also help massage the gastrointestinal tract.
Frequent constipation can lead to hemorrhoids, and those are no fun! Warm baths can soothe the area, and witch hazel pads and topical ointments can bring a sense of relief from itching and discomfort. One highly recommended medicine is Calmoseptine ointment, but if those treatments aren’t working, surgical removal is recommended.
Tips to better colon health
As always, we are given five tips for tonight’s topic.
- The first tip is to start screening at age 45. Your screening results determine when you need your next colonoscopy.
- Secondly, colonoscopies can be an intimate procedure. There are programs out there to reduce discomfort and allow women to get their screening without panic – like Dr. Henry’s!
- Third, it’s crucial to keep an eye on your fiber and water intake over the holiday season!
- Fourth, don’t drink more than 7 alcoholic drinks a week to reduce your cancer risk.
- Fifth, think about your nutrition and activity plan. Dr. Bitner’s free ebook on SEEDS® is a great place to start!
Now let’s highlight the five questions you should be asking your healthcare provider regarding colorectal health.
- What is your risk for colorectal cancer?
- Are you up to date on your colorectal cancer screenings?
- Do you have any unchecked signs of colorectal cancer such as ongoing anemia or major bowel movement changes?
- If you are hesitant to get a colonoscopy, ask your doctor, are there any good programs to ease your discomfort?
- Do you have any risk factors related to lifestyle that you can work on?
Thank you for being a viewer on our Let’s Chat live events, even on the topics that aren’t all that glamorous! We hope that if you haven’t already, you start taking colon health seriously after this episode and make sure to get ample amounts of fiber in your diet! Talk to Dr. Egan about how to integrate more fiber into your daily meals. We are dedicated to your health!