I’m A 50 Year Old Woman – Why Do I Need A Colonoscopy?

Smiling senior woman with hair bun, and hand on shoulder. Women should schedule a colonoscopy, age 50 and older.Many women think colon cancer is a men’s health issue and don’t see the need for colon screening procedures like colonoscopies.

The truth is colon cancer doesn’t play favorites and can occur in both women and men. According to the CDC, colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer among women behind breast and lung cancer.

Colonoscopies for Women over the Age of 50

If you are a woman age 50 or older, take the time to schedule a colonoscopy.  This life-saving test can detect benign polyps that may be removed during the procedure – before they have a chance to turn into cancer.

How Often?

A colonoscopy is one of several screening tests available. Whether or not you need regular screenings will depend on your personal history and risk factors.

Those with only average risk for colorectal cancer (over 50, no known family history or medical conditions, i.e. an inflammatory bowel syndrome like Crohn’s disease), you should schedule a colonoscopy every 10 years.

The screening recommendations change when you or someone in your family has had polyps or colorectal cancer before or you have Lynch syndrome (hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer) or familial adenomatous polyposis. In these situations, you should go in for screening before age 50, and more often than once a decade.

The American Cancer Society also says people are at higher risk who have previously received radiation in their abdomen or pelvis to treat a cancer.

Depending on which guidelines you follow, you may go in for routine screenings until you are 76. Screenings are available for individuals between the ages of 76 and 85 (the maximum recommended age for screenings). This option depends on an individual’s personal risk factors and health history.

Benefits of early detection

Although many people are reluctant to schedule colorectal cancer screening tests, detecting the risk of cancer early is the best case scenario.

Most precancerous polyps are a specific type called adenomatous polyps, and the medical community believes that they take ten years to develop into cancer. Removing them before they have a chance to develop is optimal, but polyps are also most treatable when found early.

Why a colonoscopy?

If a colonoscopy is one of several screening options, you may be wondering whether it matters which type you get.

Simply put, colonoscopy finds the most polyps and cancers compared to the other options. Additionally, doctors can remove  or biopsy them during the procedure.

Should you choose a different screening tool, such as a stool-based or visual (structural) exam, you will need a colonoscopy if they yield any abnormal results. If that’s a concern for you, depending on your circumstances and health insurance coverage, you may want to skip these options and simply get a colonoscopy.

Here’s an informative video with some more information:

Don’t wait for symptoms to show up

The fact is, colon cancer doesn’t usually have symptoms in the early stages. That means your best bet for early detection and treatment is following the screening guidelines.

However, if you are seeing any unusual symptoms, make an appointment with your physician.

Common colorectal cancer symptoms

  • Bloody stool or rectal bleeding
  • An ongoing change in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, change in stool consistency)
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Gas or persistent abdominal discomfort
  • You feel like your bowels aren’t voiding completely
  • Weakness, fatigue, or unexplained weight loss

Don’t wait. Talk to your doctor or contact Colon & Rectal Specialists for an appointment. Give yourself peace of mind so you can make the most out of your senior years, enjoying friends, family, and the things you love to do.

Have Questions About Maintaining a Healthy Colon?

According to Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Women’s Health Watch, the risk of colon cancer gets higher with age. In fact, they cite a figure that over 90% of cases are in people over the age of 50.

Around 140,000 Americans were diagnosed with colon cancer in 2018, with nearly 50,000 deaths as a result. Harvard Women’s Health Watch says that experts believe that 60% of those deaths might have been preventable, had the individuals received adequate screening.

It’s normal to have questions about colonoscopy screenings, colon cancer risks, and other colon health-related topics. Don’t let those questions and concerns prevent you from scheduling an appointment. CRS specialists are prepared to answer and address them, because they are dedicated to getting you the health care you deserve so that you can live a long, full life.

CRS offers Kinder Colonoscopy, a suite of colonoscopy prep and recovery aids developed with your comfort in mind. Benefits of scheduling your colonoscopy with CRS include:

  • Faster appointments–often within a week
  • Opportunity to talk to your doctor beforehand, rather than meeting them the day of your procedure
  • Potentially less fasting time pre-colonoscopy
  • Fast-acting sedation to reduce post-procedure grogginess or feeling sick
  • 90% of procedures conducted on-site in our private, accredited endoscopy suites for your convenience
  • Results in 10 days or less

Find out more about our services by contacting Colon & Rectal Specialists in Richmond, VA today. Our dedicated staff are prepared to address any questions or concerns you might have before you schedule your appointment.

Get More Information About Colonoscopy Services

Demystifying Colonoscopy Prep

Smiling middle-aged couple riding a bike outdoors in the sun. Read our colonoscopy prep tips to find out how to get ready for your colonoscopy.

For most people, the term colonoscopy doesn’t exactly conjure up happy thoughts, especially when it comes to colonoscopy prep.

Now, it usually isn’t as bad as most people think. Moreover, prep is important to clean out the colon before the colonoscopy.

Residue can make it harder for the doctor to see your colon. This means a polyp or other issue might not be identified. Dye, solid debris and/or residue can mimic blood, as well as mask irregularities, color change, or polyps. These things should be noted and/or potentially removed to prevent colon cancer.

Without adhering to prescribed prep protocols, you won’t have a completely clean colon.

There are different types of colon prep, some considered harsher than others.  At Colon and Rectal Specialists we use a more tolerable split-dose pill prep (Osmoprep) for   most patients. This prep is part of our Kinder Colonoscopy that offers patients many benefits including privacy and more comfort.

Your doctor will give you specifics for your prep, but you can use the guide below as a guide.


Prep Instructions: Getting Started

Routine colonoscopies take place in under an hour, from beginning to end. Preparation, however, takes longer. This is because your large intestine needs to evacuate all of the solid waste matter inside. Similarly, the small intestine needs to get rid of all of the “new stuff.”

If you work during the day, you likely won’t need to miss work while you get ready. Be advised that the effect of sedation can take you out of commission. You will likely need to take the day off for the procedure. Be sure to arrange for a ride home, as well!

Patients should try to stay close to home while cleansing the colon. That means patients who work nights should consider taking off work during preparation if possible.

This can be inconvenient, and an enema may seem quicker and easier. It can take up to a day and a half to fully cleanse the colon, however. The process we outline here is more comprehensive and thorough.

What if your colonoscopy results aren’t clear the first time around? It’s much less convenient to do the whole thing over again.

Every patient is unique and depending on what time of day your procedure is scheduled, details can differ. However, patients preparing for a colonoscopy all follow roughly the same steps in the runup to their procedure.

Low Fiber/Residue Diet

Preparation begins about three days prior to the procedure with a low fiber (or low residue) diet. That means fewer high fiber foods, which typically we definitely recommend that you make a part of your regular diet! Low fiber foods are easier to pass, meaning they’ll be out of the way sooner, clearing the colon more quickly.

Abstain from raw vegetables and fruits (cooked is fine), seeds, nuts, and dried fruit.

Clear Diet Day

The next phase is a clear diet day, which you’ll do the day before your colonoscopy. This means a liquid diet to your system of any dyes that might make your results hard to read. It can also make the cleansing process easier.

This kind of fast can seem daunting. We recommend sipping on some of the following items during the day. It can take the edge off and keep you from feeling too uncomfortable.

Common Clear Diet Items

  • Water
  • Coffee and tea (no cream, milk or dairy)
  • Light-colored or clear juices (apple, white grape, pulp-free lemonade) and sports drinks
  • Chicken, beef, or vegetable broth
  • Clear sodas
  • Dye-free Jello and gelatin

There are certain other things you’ll need to abstain from. Your doctor will provide an approved list of clear diet foods and drinks for this prep day.

The Night Before

Prep solutions cleanse your colon to give your doctor the best view to find and remove things like colon polyps. Carefully follow the instructions for your bowel prep tablets or solution, not eating or drinking after midnight the night beforehand.

Then, slip on some comfortable clothes and get ready to pass the time.

You’ll probably be up a lot during the night to go to the bathroom in the hours before the procedure. Consider sleeping close to the bathroom so as not to bother your sleeping partner or family.

Benefits of the CRS Kinder Colonoscopy

  • More tolerable colon prep
  • Split dosing, less fasting
  • Better sedation
  • You meet your doctor prior
  • Removal of polyps
  • Convenience & Privacy
  • Fast answers

Don’t wait to make an appointment. If you are over 50, or your doctor has recommended a colonoscopy due to family history or other factors, it’s crucial. Colonoscopies really do save lives – maybe even yours.

Contact one of our three Richmond area locations or learn more about the CRS Kinder Colonoscopy.

Learn More About A Kinder Colonoscopy Experience

CRS Breaks Ground On New Mechanicsville Medical Center

Colon and Rectal Specialists, CRS, is pleased to announce construction on a new state-of-the art medical and surgery center in Mechanicsville’s Bell Creek Medical Park.

The center, conveniently located off Pole Green Road, will feature several private endoscopy suites and can care for more than 50 patients per day.

The endoscopy suites are owned and operated by CRS physicians who are committed to providing patients with the highest quality of care. Owning the suites allows CRS to provide a unique patient experience.

CRS currently operates private endoscopy suites in Stony Point and Hanover and the new Bell Creek center will offer the same conveniences such as easy on-site parking, shorter wait and surgery times.

The atmosphere in the CRS suites is quiet, friendly and compassionate, so it is much easier for patients to get comfortable before, and during, their procedure. Also, each patient’s doctor is always nearby, if not 20 feet away, which makes having a medical procedure or outpatient surgery much easier than it would be in a traditional hospital setting.

“Our patients who have to undergo surgery, or a simple screening colonoscopy, find that having the procedure in our private endoscopy suites means more privacy, comfort and convenience,” said Dr. Andy Vorenberg.

photo of crs new office in mechanicsville va


Construction is scheduled to begin in July 2021 with an expected completion date in early 2022. The new Bell Creek facility will feature multiple private rooms and patients can expect dimmable lights, private bathrooms in each exam room, along comfortable waiting room areas for families.

About CRS

Established in 1913, CRS is one of the oldest continually operating groups of colon and rectal surgeons in the country and the largest state-of-the-art practice on the East Coast with three locations around Richmond, VA.

The physicians and staff of CRS are committed to providing all patients the special care and education needed for th

e treatment of colon and rectal problems.

Each CRS physician is continually recognized for their role as leaders in the Richmond area health care community. They serve in leadership positions at hospitals and health care systems throughout Richmond. They are also active in the community and in many professional organizations such as The Medical Society of Virginia, Richmond Academy of Medicine, The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.

Don’t Let Bowel Accidents Slow You Down – Join Us For A Virtual Discussion

Did you know that fecal incontinence is more common than  Alzheimer’s disease and asthma?

While it may be difficult to discuss the topic, if you are experiencing accidents you are not alone and you shouldn’t have to deal with it on your own.

Join Dr. Coury & Dr. Gentry for a virtual discussion on fecal Incontinence and accidental bowel leakage and the treatment options available.

When: November 11, 2021 at 6:30pm EST

Click the flyer for more information or click here to register for this free event.  

Upcoming Saturday Colonoscopy Appointments – 2022

In an ongoing effort to ensure patients are able to schedule a colonoscopy screening appointment that works with their schedule, CRS is pleased to announce our upcoming Saturday colonoscopy dates.

  • Jul 16, 2022, Dr. Vorenberg in our Lee Davis Endoscopy Suite (Mechanicsville)
  • Oct 15, 2022, Dr. Gentry in our Stony Point Endoscopy Suite

These appointments take place in our comfortable endoscopy suites, which are owned and operated by our physicians.  These suites offer more privacy, comfort, and convenience than appointments in a hospital setting.

Both suites offer easy and convenient parking, shorter wait and surgery times, fewer hassles, and easier check-in and registration.

The atmosphere in our surgery suites is quieter, friendly and compassionate so it is much easier to get comfortable.  And if you want your doctor, they are right down the hall if not 20 feet away.

Click to request your appointment or give us a call at (804) 249-2465.

Request Appointment

Dr. Vorenberg and Dr. Gentry Podcast with HCB2 Founder Mindy Conklin

Dr. Andrew J. Vorenberg and Dr. Cary L. Gentry recently joined the HCB2 Fight Right podcast.

In the 30-minute conversation, they discussed what colorectal (colon and rectal) cancer screening is, and explained the various screening options available.

They also answer common questions including:

  • If you have a family history of polyps, should screening begin earlier?
  • Has the age for routine screening been lowered to age 45?
  • What type of patient is eligible for a noninvasive, in-home screening option?

You can listen to the full podcast below or head over to the HCB2 website to listen to this podcast and many others on important topics to keep you informed and healthy.

Colonoscopy Prep Guide

The key to preparing for your colonoscopy with as much grace – and as little discomfort – as possible is to carefully follow the instructions provided by your physician.
People who’ve never had a colonoscopy before dread the procedure; those who have had a colonoscopy know the hardest part is the preparation for the procedure.
Ultimately, the steps to prepare for a colonoscopy are designed to cleanse your colon, so it is free from any waste or debris that prohibit the doctor from getting a good view, or that could lead to false results.

Follow Our Colonoscopy Prep Guide & You’ll Do Great

Cleansing the colon takes place in three phases:

  1. Using dietary restrictions to minimize the amount of waste that enters the colon, starting the few days before your procedure. The day before your procedure, your diet will consist of clear liquids only.
  2. Drinking and/or taking the supplements that encourage the complete release of the contents in your bowels.
  3. Finalizing the colon cleanse using fleet enemas (provided by the physician) if necessary. Many people never move through this phase since Phases 1 and 2 are usually sufficient.
Read more

How Do I Know If My Bowel Prep Is Working?

One of the most common questions we get at CRS is “how do I know if my bowel prep is working?

colon surgeon richmond va
See Dr. Cary Gentry with CRS explain what to expect and the top 3 reasons some patients take longer than others.

When prepping for a colonoscopy your doctor has probably talked to you about how important the bowel prep process is for accurate results. Residue left behind can make it harder for the doctor to view your colon during the exam – meaning a polyp or other issue might not be seen as clearly or even missed.

Read more