The risk of Bowel cancer increases with age, however more and more we are seeing younger presentations of Bowel cancer and these appear to have worse outcomes. For those over 65 you now have access to the national screening programme and we would highly recommend that you participate in this programme.
We would recommend that what ever your age you download our “Review your poo” flyer. Preferably get your whole family to keep a log for a month and “know their normal”. Everyone is unique each persons gut is unique so talk about this with your whanau.
Also please see your Doctor at any time if you have symptoms as outlined in Bowel risks and causes page. As your Doctor may refer you for a colonoscopy if they believe it is necessary. There is a home test that you can do which is Australian and can be ordered on line at http://www.colovantage.com.au/Store/ProdID/1/ColoVantage_Home. Or they can be purchased through Unichem or Life pharmacy stores throughout New Zealand. There is also a toll free number for New Zealanders who wish to enquire about this product before purchasing on line 0800 849 104.
Please note if you don’t have health insurance and you cant get a colonoscopy through the public system consider a CT Colonography through Providers such as Pacific Radiology. A CT Colonography doesn’t require sedation and is just as accurate at detecting most precancerous polyps. The disadvantage is they can’t be removed. If they are found however your journey on the waitlist for a colonoscopy in Public would be faster.
A healthy Bowel
We know so much more now about our MicroBiome and I would encourage you all to learn more about this. We will have more information on this topic shortly.
Meanwhile there are things that you can do to ease or avoid bowel problems such as;
- Eat a balanced diet – you are feeding the Microbes in your Gut and the right food allows the good Microbes to grow and prevent the bad ones taking over.
- Drink enough fluids
- Limit the amount of alcohol you consume
- Chew your food well
- Don’t miss meals.
Being overweight or obese can affect health in general and is especially the case with regards to our digestive system.
As we age, our bowels tend to become slow moving. There are many factors including changes in our diet and less exercise that cause this. There is some evidence to suggest the lower bowel itself actually changes in old age. In some cases this can lead to bowel emptying difficulties and leakage. It is important to seek help from your GP or healthcare professional if this occurs. The majority of the immune system is gut-associated; it is estimated that 85% of the body’s lymph nodes are located in the gut. Our gut bacteria help support this; another reason why it is important that as we get older we try and maintain a healthy gut flora.