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Diagnosed with crohn's disease. Should I get a colonoscopy done?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2007
Answered : 353 Questions
Hi, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease just over 15 years ago when i was admitted to hospital with an acute instestinal blockage which resulted in a small bowel resection. I have been in remission ever since my surgery and in pretty good health apart from suffering from fatigue, constant diarrhoea and and upset tummy from time to time. All things considered I've done pretty well. But just in the past few months i've noticed that my tummy has been upset alot more than normal. I often go to bed feeling really bloated and uncomfortable and my tummy rumbles very loudly - enough to wake my husband! I also have to wake in the middle of the night to use my bowels which is frustrating. I know this doesn't sound like much but i feel like a ticking time bomb and that surely I'm due for another relapse.

Anyway my question is: should I have a colonoscopy done? And How often should a colonoscopy be done when in remission and not actually experiencing pain?
Posted Wed, 20 Feb 2013 in Crohn's Disease
Answered by Dr. Neelam Ashish Vanjari 55 minutes later

Thanks for writing in.
Colonoscopy done to check disease condition after it's diagnosis is called as surveillance colonoscopy.

Surveillance colonoscopies should be performed when the disease is in remission.

Regular surveillance should begin after 8–10 years (from onset of symptoms) for pancolitis and after 15–20 years for left sided disease. Pancolitis and left sided disease is extent of your disease process in intestine.

As the risk of cancer increases exponentially with time, there should be a decrease in the screening interval with increasing disease duration.
For patients with pancolitis, in the second decade of disease a colonoscopy should be conducted every three years, every two years in the third decade, and yearly by the fourth decade of disease.

I hope I have answered your query. Revert back in case you need further clarification.
Best regards,
Dr. Neelam.
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