URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Younger people are starting to follow new recommendations for earlier colonoscopies, but the increase in demand is becoming a problem for some hospitals. Now doctors have suggestions for patients in order to ease their load.

Dr. Omar Khokhar of OSF said appointment requests jumped 20 since the screening age was lowered in 2021. Now they’re giving alternative screening options to give patients peace of mind.

“We have been seeing more patients coming in for their screening scopes and we have been seeing more patients at a younger age,” said Dr. Jonathan Lucking with Carle.

When the recommended screening age was lowered to 45, doctors didn’t expect to see much of an increase. But now that the floodgates have opened, hospitals are turning back to solutions they started using during the pandemic.

Carle and OSF are sending home-based testing kits if people request a colonoscopy but don’t meet certain risk factors.

“So, there’s primarily a colonoscopy as a tool and stool-based testing as a tool and they both have their pros and cons,” said Khokhar.

The home-based test allows people to find out if there’s an issue that needs to be looked at by a doctor or no issue to worry about at all. Lucking said patients are more likely to have better outcomes when they take the initiative of reaching out and doing the at-home test if they’re offered it.

“It’s one of those things where you can make a huge difference in a patient early on by just doing your general screenings and it’s a relatively easy screening to do,” Lucking said.