Ester column

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 24, 2011

Well, I am not 50 yet (45), but I have had my first colonoscopy.
I am having some colon issues and my doctors are trying to figure out what’s happening. It is amazing how it affects your health when your colon is not working properly.
If you remember one of my columns in March or April, I mentioned the importance of hydration. When I had a CAT scan done for my “issue” and found out that I am “just” full of it, I now understand why our older population likes to share their bowel movements with us.
Do you know what I mean? Older adults have no worries about talking about their bowel movement for the day. Since my issues developed, I am becoming quite obsessed with them (bowel movements), too, and want to share my experience. Isn’t that a hoot?
We all do it, but we don’t like to talk about it. Animals don’t care; they go whenever they need to. We, on the other hand, have to find a quiet spot (I know, not all of us).
I am telling you, when it is not a regular once a day event, you are not feeling good.
Back to the importance of colon health:
In a nutshell: After the food passes into the small intestines, the body absorbs all the nutrients. After the nutrients are extracted, the remaining material will pass into the large intestines where the body will extract the water and pass it on as feces.
How can we maintain a good intestinal health?
• Maintain a balanced diet, which includes fruits and vegetables, fiber and foods low in fat.
• Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
• Exercise regularly.
• Manage stress.
• Get the proper amount of sleep.
Part of colon health is, at the age of 50, to schedule a colonoscopy.
What exactly is a colonoscopy? A colonoscopy involves doctors looking inside the lower bowel, the large intestine. The gastroenterologist uses an endoscope, which is a long flexible tube about the thickness of your index finger. It has a small camera and a light at the end which gives the doctor a clear view of the colon’s lining and allows him to see if there are any problems. Typically, if you have had one at 50 and it was clear, your next one is not due until you are 70.
In my case, I have problems so I had it done at 45 this past week. Dr Jagar and his staff did an outstanding job. The hardest part for me was the liquid diet for one day and nothing after midnight. Boy, I was clean but also grumpy from the lack of calories.
If you are 50-plus and have not had a colonoscopy yet, schedule one now. It seems that it is an embarrassing or maybe painful event. Neither was the case with me. The staff was extremely friendly at Rowan Medical Center and I didn’t feel any pain at all.
The scary thing is with colon and rectal cancer, the common symptoms are no symptoms at all. It’s needless to say how important a colonoscopy is.
So, hydrate, eat well, exercise, sleep enough (8 hours per night) and manage your stress. And if you are 50 or older, schedule your colonoscopy.
Ester H Marsh ACSM,Cpt