March is recognized as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. The month is designed to raise awareness about this type of cancer, which is the third most common type of cancer diagnosed among Americans.

In recognition of this month, our team at AFC Urgent Care Ooltewah wants to share some information about this type of cancer, as well as things you can do to promote a healthy colon.

Am I at Risk for Colorectal Cancer?

The short answer is yes. We are all at risk of developing colorectal cancer, and it affects men and women equally.

That said, certain people are at a higher risk, including those who have a personal and/or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps, as well as people who live a sedentary lifestyle or who have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

Signs of Colon Issues

  • Change in bowel habits
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in stool
  • Abdominal discomfort that won’t go away, such as gas, cramps and/or pain
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

How Can You Use Your Diet to Improve the Health of Your Colon?

When it comes to improving your colon health, you want to start with nutrition. First, make sure you are consuming a high-fiber diet that includes plenty of raw vegetables and whole grains.

In addition, you should be drinking plenty of water in order to stay hydrated, as well as limiting your intake of red and processed meats, as they have been linked to colorectal cancer. Probiotics can also help to improve the health of your colon.

Colorectal Cancer Prevention

  • Eat a high-fiber, low-fat diet.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Get between seven and nine hours of quality sleep each night.
  • Find effective ways to manage stress.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularly.

Are you having digestive issues? Stop by AFC Urgent Care Ooltewah today for a medical evaluation—no appointment is needed.