In the world of camera crazy selfies, the one picture that could be life saving is that selfie of the colon. Colon cancer screening is never something you should put off.
Ahhh yes, mentioning anything about that 5 foot luminous tube that weaves itself around the core of our essence makes us want to run in the opposite direction. Don’t!
The colon is VITAL to maintaining homeostasis and overall balance.
The colon absorbs essential vitamins, salts, nutrients, and water that gives us our good health. However any disruption is this function causes toxins to be absorbed back into the blood stream rather than expelling them. The reversal of this pathway leads to not only GI complaints, but also systemic symptoms. Examples include, fatigue, skin changes, hormonal imbalances, sleep issues, depression, hair loss, weight gain, weight loss, and headaches.
Over one hundred trillion microorganisms (bacteria) reside in the colon. There are more microorganisms in the colon than are contained within the skin, heart, bone, brain, and the rest of the body’s cells combined. A proper balance of healthy bacteria must be maintained inside the colon to avoid being constantly plagued with digestive ailments.
Since we live in a world where processed food is a staple, it is no surprise we are being plagued with continuous health ailments. The impurity of our diet has led to an epidemic of persistent illnesses. Also, the overuse of antibiotics has resulted in a paradigm shift of our normal gut flora. The overwhelming force of trauma of both of these habits has made it difficult for the colon to withstand any level of normalcy.
The sharp rise in obesity, ADHD, adult and children’s cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other health conditions, must leave us wondering, why? What are we doing wrong?
Once again, the answers lie in the lumen of our GI tract. This is exactly why you SHOULD NOT avoid your colon cancer screening.
Taking care of our gut health is not optional, it is vital.
How can we do that when we constantly feel like we are swimming against the current?
Here are a few simple ideas:
- Eliminate sugar. “On the high sugar diet mouth-to-anus transit time was significantly prolonged, despite a shortened mouth-to-cecum transit time. The fecal concentration of total bile acids and the fecal concentration of secondary bile acids increased significantly. Diet affected neither the serum bile acid pattern nor the concentration. Breath hydrogen tests showed significantly enhanced H2 production on the high sugar diet. We conclude that the quantity of refined sugar in the diet can significantly influence gut function and the composition of bowel contents”. (Gut. 1991 Apr; 32(4): 367–371.)
- Increase water intake. Water helps break down food and improves waste transit and elimination. It also enhances vitamin and nutrient absorption and helps maintain a balanced pH in the gut.
- Listen to your “Gut”. Whether the symptoms are of GI origin or systemic, it is important to have the gut evaluated in its entirety. A GI work up may include:
a). Evaluation for food allergies,
b.) Hydrogen breath test for bacterial overgrowth,
c.) Celiac disease,
d.) Stool sample for fungal or bacterial infection.
e.) Upper Endoscopy for reflux, hernias, erosions etc.
f.) Colonoscopy for polyps, cancer, Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, generalized colitis etc.
This is by no means a complete list. It only outlines different ways of getting into the GI tract. It is imperative not to ignore the body’s communication with us.
- Probiotics. These are the “good” guys that have come to save the day. Packaged and labeled under many different disguises, it is hard to know which one is the right one. Before starting down the road of pill-popping, first find the cause of the symptoms. Once identified, then reach for these microbes.
Many of us ignore the warning signs because we may feel it is “gross” or “embarrassing.” Physicians and specialists are highly skilled and trained in the area of Gastroenterology. There is nothing there we have not seen or experienced before.
Health is #1 priority. By allowing toxins to continue to reside in the seat of our solar plexus, we continue to live in a toxic environment.
Would we let toxic individuals stay in our home? Then why are we doing it to our OWN self?
Dr. Raman’s Concierge Medical Practice is focused on holistic care and good health maintenance. For more information on healthy eating habits and achieving and maintaining OPTIMAL health, CONTACT our office today to schedule your appointment. You can also learn more by following Dr. Raman on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Recommendations about women’s health screening have changed in recent years, and often-conflicting information can lead to confusion. For instance, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, not every woman needs an annual screening for cervical cancer, known as a Pap test. Authorities on breast cancer also vary on their recommendations for mammograms, but it is important to listen to your body and be proactive—no matter what the guidelines may say.
What hasn’t changed, however, is an across-the-board recommendation for annual well woman exams. In fact, annual well woman exams are considered routine preventive care as outlined by the Affordable Care Act.
Even if a Pap test is not performed, an annual pelvic exam allows your doctor to check your vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, rectum, ovaries, and pelvis, comparing each part of the pelvis with the results from the previous year’s exam. As a woman enters various phases of the hormonal cycle in her life, there will be changes in a woman’s anatomy. Regular pelvic exams help to track these changes and give patients opportunities to discuss any concerns with her physician.
Clinical Breast Exams
A clinical breast exam (CBE) is part of a well woman visit, which offers an opportunity to discuss a personal schedule for mammogram screenings. Many health authorities now recommend biennial (every two years) mammogram screenings for women ages 50-74. Other equally reliable authorities continue to recommend annual mammograms beginning at age 40 and continuing beyond age 74.
**It is essential to remember that the best defense against breast cancer is a good offense. Monthly breast self-exams should be done in-between clinical breast exams. The biggest reason for non-compliance in doing monthly breast self-exams is, “I don’t know what I am feeling for.” This is precisely why a woman should make this part of her monthly routine. The more familiar a woman is with the findings in her breast during self-exams, the more she will know what is normal and what is not. With practice, each month will become easier.
Colorectal cancer screening guidelines, as well as most patients’ reluctance to get screened, have remained relatively stable over the years.
The stigma of the prep for the colonoscopy and the sensitive nature of the procedure can quickly cause undue stress and anxiety.
Most colon cancers arise from a single polyp. A colonoscopy can detect and treat the polyp during the procedure itself. But often if the polyp is not removed, this can and often does lead to colon cancer. Isn’t it better to endure a few hours of discomfort for the prep and procedure of a colonoscopy rather than enduring a removal of part of the colon for a treatable colon cancer?
A Discussion About Overall Health
An annual well visit also focuses on general overall health and maintains an ongoing discussion between you and your doctor about healthy lifestyle choices, reducing or eliminating health risks, weight concerns and healthy aging (inside and out). Screenings that facilitate these discussions include full in-depth discussions on physical, emotional, psychological and environmental stressors. A detailed blood work and physical exam with blood pressure, body mass index (BMI) screenings and body fat analysis will help identify the source of symptoms. A symptom is your body’s way of talking with you. DON’T IGNORE THESE WARNING SIGNS!
As your well woman exam appointment approaches, you might consider other issues that affect your overall health and be prepared to cover these areas with your doctor, including:
- Contraceptive counseling
- Tobacco, alcohol or drug use
- Depression screening
- Vaccines and immunizations
- HIV screening
- Sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening
View your annual well woman exam as an opportunity to partner with your doctor on the business of your good health. The active role you take in your day-to-day health is encouraged and supported by your doctor, and your well woman visit is the best way to review and fine-tune your efforts.
For more information on well woman exams or to schedule an appointment, please CONTACT our office today! You can also learn more by connecting with Dr. Raman on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.