What are other approaches to rectal health beyond colonoscopies?

Answered by: Thea

I highly recommend taking a look at Dr. Greger’s two videos on colonoscopies, What to Take Before a Colonoscopy and Should We All Get Colonoscopies Starting at Age 50? The videos are very short. The videos reference the source studies, which you can see by clicking the ‘Sources Cited’ buttons to the right of the video if you are interested. There is also a transcript button if you want to take the text anywhere. I thought I would also refer you to Dr. McDougall’s article on colonoscopies. I would say that Dr. Greger is more, say conservative, than Dr. McDougall. But Dr. McDougall is well respected and has done a lot of research also. (Though I think of Dr. Greger as the king of research.) If nothing else, Dr. McDougall talks about how much of a bully doctors can be, which I think might give you some moral support. This more recent article from Dr. McDougall may also be of interest.


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

5 responses to “What are other approaches to rectal health beyond colonoscopies?

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  1. Both of my parents died from colon/rectal cancer so I got my first colonoscopy at 25 and they removed a pre-cancerous polyp. Then my daughter at age 2, passed a polyp and we were recommended to get a colonoscopy as well. They removed 4 polyps and decided we treat her as if she has Juvenile Polyposis syndrome and get colonoscopies every 3 years! Since this we adopted a plant based diet. But we don’t know what do go about the colonoscopies since they’re so invasive and can possibly cause major issues. Is there anything else we can do that would be safer and more effective? Since our family history is so bad I don’t want to cut corners and miss something!

    1. Hello Whitney,
      I am a family medicine doctor, and a Health Support Volunteer for this website. I’m sorry to hear about the colon cancer history in your family and about the colon polyps in your daughter. From what you say, it certainly sounds very possible that your daughter does have juvenile polyposis syndrome (JPS). Here is a link to an article I just read about JPS by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP): https://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/juvenile-polyposis-syndrome. Look near the bottom at the “Cancer screening protocol for children and adults,” for their recommendations about screening tests.

      There is a link at the bottom of the article for you to contact a specialist at CHOP. I suggest that you contact either someone at CHOP or at another major medical center near you which has specialists in JPS, because if your daughter does indeed have JPS, then she has risks of other serious problems.

      I believe that having your daughter on a whole foods plant based diet is a good thing, because it will result in her having healthier bacteria in her colon. I hope that the specialist you find will know something about plant-based diets, but the chances are that (s)he won’t know very much. If that doctor doesn’t have much knowledge about nutrition, then I recommend that you find someone who does, who can at least give you a second opinion. You can use the website plantbaseddoctors.org to find someone near you.

      I hope this helps.
      Health Support Volunteer for NutritionFacts.org

  2. Hello,
    I am curious about how one develops a polyp in colon when strictly plant based for almost 3 years and a complete life style change (no major stresses, retired, no smoking or drugs, content!). What factors, other than animal products could be causing development of polyps.
    Thank you.

  3. The precise cell physiology and all causes of polyp formation are unknown. We do know that the cellular changes that lead to polyp formation can take decades to come about, so they may have occurred prior to the switch to a plant-based diet. In addition, we do not necessarily see an elimination of disease on a plant-based diet; we see a reduction of risk. This means less disease on average…not zero.

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