A colonoscopy can save your life by detecting and removing colon cancer, but it might also trigger appendicitis, a new study suggests.Given that I had 2 colonoscopies and a sigmoidoscopy in the last year. this is not exactly welcome news, although I seem to have escaped with my appendix intact, so far.
Experts aren't sure exactly why that happens, and, fortunately, it's rare. And it shouldn't stop you from getting a colonoscopy, according to lead researcher Dr. Marc Basson. "Having a colonoscopy, or something about a colonoscopy, predisposes you to have appendicitis in the next week," said Basson, senior associate dean at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Though the appendicitis risk is small, it's at least four times higher the week after a colonoscopy than in the 51 weeks that follow, the study found. And by some measures, the increase is 12 times higher.
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Exactly how a colonoscopy leads to appendicitis isn't clear, Basson said. He thinks it might stem from preparations for the procedure. Those preparations clear the bowel, which can cause changes in gut bacteria that could result in an infected appendix, he said. Or, Basson said, pressure created in the bowel by the procedure itself might trigger an appendicitis attack.
Basson said doctors should be on watch for appendicitis after a colonoscopy, especially if a patient complains of continued abdominal discomfort.
But there is some good news:
Most cases of appendicitis occur in children and young adults. The older one gets, the rarer it is, Basson said.Finally! An advantage to growing old.