A Colonoscopy is a routine procedure that is a proven and effective method of screening for colon cancer. The American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) recommends colonoscopy for anyone over 50, or have a family history of colon cancer. Most deaths from colorectal cancer can be prevented through proper detection. Call our office to schedule a screening. Click here for our locations.
With colonoscopies, our physicians can thoroughly evaluate the entire colon to detect polyps and small lesions. In many cases, these can even be removed during the procedure, rather than scheduling a second exam. If needed, biopsies can also be taken of any abnormal areas at the same time as the screening.
Before the Procedure
Before a colonoscopy can be done, the bowel must first be thoroughly cleared of all stool, and is referred to as a colon prep. Your healthcare provider will instruct you on how to do this prior to your colonoscopy. Be sure to discuss with your doctor, the safest way for you to do your colon prep. This may include a special diet or recommendations on what you can and cannot eat before the procedure. It is important that you follow all the instructions given to you by your health care team. You may experience some discomfort and diarrhea during the colon prep. Don’t worry if you have to go to the bathroom numerous times, as this is a sign that your prep is working as expected.
During the Procedure
The colonoscope, a long, thin, flexible instrument connected to a camera, is inserted into the rectum and moved through the entire colon. The procedure takes less than an hour and a mild sedation is usually provided to relieve anxiety and discomfort. You will need to stay hydrated and drink at least the amount of fluid required by the prep before, during, and after the colonoscopy. It is important that you stay hydrated, as the prep and procedure causes fluid loss to the body that can result in serious illness.
After the Procedure
Because you may receive a sedative for the procedure, you need to have someone drive you home. You may also experience bloating for a brief period following the procedure. You can usually resume a regular healthy diet on the same day following your colonoscopy.