Crohn's Disease Forum » Tests for IBD » Frequency of colonoscopies?

08-18-2015, 10:46 AM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2012
Frequency of colonoscopies?

Hi all,

I have had Crohn's for 22 years now (diagnosed at age 7). I had two small bowel resections, the most recent one was almost 11 years ago. I had a colonoscopy prior to that surgery, and another in 2010 just as a check up. I have been in remission since my last surgery 11 years ago.

My question is, how often should we Crohnies get colonoscopies? My GI seems to want to do it every 5 years, but I am having trouble reconciling that since I've been in remission for so long. I can't fathom putting my body through all of that when I feel so good. Any insight you all could give me would be great!

08-18-2015, 10:55 AM   #2
Lisa's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: New York

My Support Groups:
I get one done every year - for a while it was every 2 years, but due to the length of time I have had this disease, it is recommended that routine screenings be done as the chances of cancer increase.

Here is additional information from the American Cancer Society -

We are considered 'High Risk' -

Inflammatory bowel disease:

-Chronic ulcerative colitis

-Crohn's disease

Cancer risk begins to be significant 8 years after the onset of pancolitis (involvement of entire large intestine), or 12-15 years after the onset of left-sided colitis

Colonoscopy every 1 to 2 years with biopsies for dysplasia

These people are best referred to a center with experience in the surveillance and management of inflammatory bowel disease.

30 plus years and counting with UC/Crohn's!
on remicade since 11/05

While my experiences may not be what everyone has had- I feel it is worthwhile to share any and all experiences that may be beneficial to others.
08-18-2015, 01:37 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2012
Thanks Lisa. I had thought it was for cancer screening, but he said today that it's to check and make sure there's no disease where I had my surgery. Ugh!
08-18-2015, 07:53 PM   #4
Senior Member
teeny5's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: California

My Support Groups:
I just had my 2nd one...7 years after the first and I am in remission. He said it was to assess any damage or inflammation that the blood tests don't show. Mine showed scarring all where the inflammation was.
Currently on: Colazal, Prilosec, multi-vitamin, probiotics, total EFA's, glucosamine.

Previous meds: Sulfasalazine, Asacol, Rowasa, Pentasa, Entocort.

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. -Ralph Waldo Emerson"
08-18-2015, 07:54 PM   #5
Senior Member
FrozenGirl's Avatar
Agree with Lisa. Every 2-5 years sounds reasonable. It sucks but you are higher risk unfortunately.
Dx: Ulcerative Colitis, Nov 2013
Currently on:
Mezavant 4.8g
Vitamin D 1000iu
Tecta 40mg
Remicade: 600mg, every 4 weeks
Methotrexate: 15 mg (injection)
08-18-2015, 07:58 PM   #6
Join Date: Nov 2012
Thanks guys. Teeny, my doc said the same thing about testing for inflammation/disease that blood tests don't show. It just seems so invasive for when I'm not having any symptoms, it's hard to wrap my brain around.
08-19-2015, 06:44 AM   #7
Forum Monitor
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: London, UK
Is your disease limited to the small bowel? If that's the case then you're not high risk for developing colon cancer and hence don't need the frequent screening.

I have only small bowel disease (throughout the jejunum and ileum) and my colon has always looked healthy so my doctors don't do colonoscopies for me, just MRIs. I've only had two colonoscopies - one in 1996 and then in 2004.

If your disease is just in the terminal ileum or if that's the site of anastamosis, then a colonoscopy does give you a good look at any ulceration developing as well as the opportunity to take biopsies to see if there is inflammation that isn't visible.

I can totally understand why you'd be reluctant (what with everything a colonoscopy involves!) but it is an opportunity to check on disease activity that might otherwise go unnoticed and to treat it before you require further surgery.

Good luck!
Stricturing jejunoileitis dx 1996 aged 17
Current treatment: stem cell transplant
Previous treatment: Humira + methotrexate
Past treatments: prednisolone, azathioprine, budesonide, pentasa, EEN (oral and NG), elimination diet, SCD, whipworms, 6mp, Remicade, anti-MAP antibiotic therapy
Surgeries: small bowel resection and strictureplasties in 2001, 2005, 2009, 2014

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