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Understanding a Positive Colonoscopy Result: What You Should Know

doctor speaking with a patient

A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that allows doctors to examine the inside of the colon (large intestine) and rectum. During the procedure, a flexible tube with a camera on the end is inserted into the rectum, allowing the doctor to see images of the inside of the colon on a monitor.

A positive colonoscopy result means that the doctor has found something abnormal during the procedure. In this article, we’ll explore what a positive colonoscopy result means, what conditions may be found, and what you should know if you receive a positive result.

What Does a Positive Colonoscopy Result Mean?

A positive colonoscopy result means that the doctor has found something abnormal during the procedure. The abnormality may be a growth, such as a polyp or tumor, or inflammation or damage to the lining of the colon. The doctor may take a biopsy of the abnormal tissue to determine if it is cancerous or benign.

Conditions That May Be Found During a Positive Colonoscopy Result

Several medical conditions may be found during a positive colonoscopy result, including:

  • Polyps. Polyps are growths that can develop in the lining of the colon. Most polyps are benign, but some may be cancerous or may become cancerous over time. If a polyp is found during a colonoscopy, the doctor may remove it or take a biopsy to determine if it is cancerous.
  • Colorectal Cancer. Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the colon or rectum. If cancerous cells are found during a colonoscopy, the doctor may take a biopsy to determine the stage of the cancer and develop a treatment plan.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the digestive tract. If inflammation is found during a colonoscopy, the doctor may take a biopsy to determine if it is due to IBD.
  • Diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is a condition that occurs when small pouches in the lining of the colon become inflamed or infected. If diverticulitis is found during a colonoscopy, the doctor may recommend antibiotics or surgery to treat the condition.

What You Should Know if You Receive a Positive Colonoscopy Result

If you receive a positive colonoscopy result, it is important to follow up with your doctor to determine the next steps. Here are some things you should know:

  • Biopsy Result. If the doctor took a biopsy of the abnormal tissue, it may take several days to receive the results. The biopsy results will determine if the abnormal tissue is cancerous or benign.
  • Treatment Options. The treatment options for a positive colonoscopy result will depend on the underlying condition. If a polyp is found, the doctor may remove it during the colonoscopy. If cancerous cells are found, the doctor may recommend surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. If inflammation is found, the doctor may recommend medication to manage the condition.
  • Follow-Up Colonoscopies. If a polyp or cancerous cells are found during a colonoscopy, the doctor may recommend follow-up colonoscopies to monitor the condition and ensure that the abnormal tissue has been completely removed. The frequency of follow-up colonoscopies will depend on the size and type of the abnormal tissue.
  • Lifestyle Changes. If you receive a positive colonoscopy result, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of developing further abnormalities. These may include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol consumption.
  • Emotional Support. Receiving a positive colonoscopy result can be overwhelming and stressful. It is important to seek emotional support from family, friends, or a mental health professional to help you cope with the diagnosis and treatment.

 

In addition to colonoscopies, there are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing colon cancer, including:

  • Eating a Healthy Diet. Eating a diet that is high in fiber and low in fat can help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
  • Exercising Regularly. Regular exercise can help promote healthy digestion and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
  • Quitting Smoking. Smoking is a known risk factor for colon cancer. Quitting smoking can help reduce the risk of developing the disease.
  • Reducing Alcohol Consumption. Excessive alcohol consumption is a known risk factor for colon cancer. Reducing alcohol consumption can help reduce the risk of developing the disease.
  • Managing Chronic Conditions. Chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and inflammatory bowel disease can increase the risk of colon cancer. Managing these conditions through medication and lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of developing the disease.

Conclusion

A positive colonoscopy result means that the doctor has found something abnormal during the procedure. The abnormality may be a growth, such as a polyp or tumor, or inflammation or damage to the lining of the colon. Several medical conditions may be found during a positive colonoscopy result, including polyps, colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and diverticulitis.

If you receive a positive colonoscopy result, it is important to follow up with your doctor to determine the next steps, including biopsy results, treatment options, follow-up colonoscopies, lifestyle changes, and emotional support.

By understanding what a positive colonoscopy result means and what to expect, you can work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan and ensure the best possible outcome. Regular colonoscopies and healthy lifestyle habits are important for maintaining good digestive health and reducing the risk of colon cancer.

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