ZocdocAnswersDo young people need to have colonoscopies performed?

Question

Do young people need to have colonoscopies performed?

If I am in my twenties do I need to have a colonoscopy done? I heard that men especially need to be on top of colon cancer now. Should I start asking my doctor if I need one if I am late twenties male?

Answer

Colonoscopies are a common procedure to investigate the colony's health. There are two major reasons to have a colonoscopy: one is for screening purposes and the other is for diagnostic purposes. People who have a colonoscopy for diagnostic purposes are people who have a problem that could be associated with the colon. For example people who have diarrhea, abdominal pain or bloody stool can get a colonoscopy to investigate what is causing the problem. If you are having any of these symptoms then you may need a colonoscopy. The other and probably more common reason to have a colonoscopy is for screening purposes. This means people get a colonoscopy when they are perfectly healthy and asymptomatic in order to catch colon cancer early. In general these screening colonoscopies need to start at age 50. Therefore you likely don't need a colonoscopy now. The age of 50 is lower for some people, like people who have a strong family history of colon cancer or other genetic diseases. That being said, most people can simply start at age 50 ( both men and women). Talk to your doctor for more information regarding your particular situation. If you have any symptoms, seeing your doctor more urgently would be advised. Good luck.

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