Questions and Answers with Dr. Garza
Topic: Answering Women's Top Concerns About Colon and Rectal Health
Many women are embarrassed or afraid to seek medical care when they have a colon or rectal problem.
AnaMaria Garza, M.D.
Colorectal Surgery Institute
at Glendale Memorial Hospital
Dr. AnaMaria Garza, a board certified colon and rectal surgeon, answers questions women have about colon and rectal problems effecting them, the signs and symptoms that are considered normal, and those which need evaluation by a physician.
Q: How much rectal bleeding is worrisome?
Dr. Garza: “Patients with any amount of rectal bleeding need to be evaluated by a doctor. Most of the time, the bleeding is from benign problems in the anal canal but sometimes the bleeding can be from other problems higher in the colon and rectum. Patients should not dismiss rectal bleeding as ‘just my hemorrhoids acting up.’ A complete examination is necessary before you can blame the bleeding on the hemorrhoids.”
Q: How many bowel movements should I have in a day/week?
Dr. Garza: “Everyone is different. Some people have one to two bowel movements a day and that is normal for them. Others may not have a bowel movement for a couple of days and feel quite comfortable. Whether someone is constipated is relative. As long as the patient is not having cramping or abdominal pain, it’s okay if she doesn’t have a bowel movement every day.”
Q: Why do I have anal pain?
Dr. Garza: “Many people suffer with anal pain on a daily basis and don’t seek medical advice. Despite the fact that most people blame their anal pain on their hemorrhoids, anal pain is rarely caused by them. Anal pain may be related to other problems in the anal canal. A complete examination will determine the cause of the pain. Most of the patients with anal pain can be treated with certain topical medications.”
Q: When should I get my screening colonoscopy?
Dr. Garza: “It is recommended that every person get a colonoscopy at age 50. If you have colorectal symptoms (e.g. bleeding, constipation, anemia, weight loss, pain) or a family history of colorectal cancer, then the colonoscopy should be done earlier. Colorectal cancer is a very preventable disease. Removing polyps at the time of colonoscopy is your best chance at preventing colon cancer. The procedure is done with sedation with minimal to no discomfort.”
Q: What if I have a family history of polyps or cancer?
Dr. Garza: “If you have a family history of colon polyps or cancer, I recommend that you get your first colonoscopy at age 40 or 10 years before the age the family member was diagnosed with colon cancer, whichever comes first.”
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call the Colorectal Surgery Institute at 818.244.8161.
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