Maintaining a healthy diet full of fiber will go a long way to keep your colon healthy, according to Dr. Esther Cha, a colorectal surgeon at St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne. She suggests patients eat 25 grams of fiber a day by adding a variety of fruits, vegetables, cereals and breakfast bars to the menu. She also urges people to drink plenty of water to maintain good bowel health.
She suggests people begin getting colonoscopies around the age of 45. 50 used to be the suggested age, but she says doctors are seeing colon polyps and cancers in younger patients, perhaps because of changes in diet and lifestyle coupled with genetics. Anyone with a family history of colon cancer should consider getting a colonoscopy at a younger age. Dr. Cha says problems found early are more easily treated.
She adds that changes in surgical procedures, such as minimally invasive and robotic operations are making procedures easier for patients. Incisions are smaller, there is less reliance on narcotics for pain management and recovery time is faster. She adds that changes in post surgical care and protocols have also improved the time it takes for bowel function to return and for a patient to return to normal activity.