You likely don’t give your colon much thought, but when this organ is in distress, it’s a problem that's impossible to ignore. Inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancers, and diverticulitis are some of the more common issues that directly affect the health of your colon, and these are conditions that you’d do well to avoid in the first place.
While the caring team at Rockwall Surgical Specialists is here to monitor and remedy poor colon health through procedures such as colonoscopy and colon surgery, we strongly believe that a few smart lifestyle practices can go a long way toward preventing you from requiring surgery.
While each of the conditions we list above is different, all of them carry many of the same risk factors — factors that are within your power to change. Let’s take a look at five smart habits you can develop to protect your colon health long-term.
Because your colon is part of your gastrointestinal tract, it makes perfect sense that what you eat can directly affect the health of your colon. Your colon is your lower intestine, and it serves three major functions:
To help your colon function smoothly, it's important that you take in vitamins and nutrients, and you also need an ample amount of fiber, which cleanses your colon and feeds the good bacteria in your gut.
Fruits and vegetables check all of these boxes. Here’s a great list to get you started.
Your body functions best when it moves, which keeps systems like your intestines moving freely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists lack of exercise as one of the risk factors for colorectal cancer, so we suggest that you follow their guidelines of getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.
Many colon diseases are linked to carrying extra weight, so anything you can do to shed unhealthy pounds are great steps toward long-term colon health. And if you follow the two tips that precede this one, you’re already well on your way toward achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
Your gastrointestinal (GI) system is influenced by stress in meaningful ways because this system is directly tied to your central nervous system. Stress can decrease the flow of oxygen to your gut, increase inflammation in your digestive system, and increase the levels of acid in your stomach.
To promote great GI health, any steps to reduce stress are well worth taking. Some popular stress-reduction techniques include exercise, deep breathing, meditation, and unplugging from your electronic devices from time to time.
One of the best ways to promote long-term colon health is to have us screen you through regular colonoscopies. We recommend that you start with a baseline screening before you reach the age of 50, even if your gut is feeling great.
During this simple procedure, we take a close look at your colon with a specialized camera, and we can even remove any suspicious polyps at the same time.
If you have more questions about safeguarding the health of your colon — or if you’re due for a colonoscopy — contact one of our offices in Rowlett, Rockwall, Greenville, Forney, and Terrell, Texas, today.