What is a colonoscopy?
It is a procedure in which an endoscopist can inspect the entire large bowel with a video camera apparatus inside of a long, flexible hose. Small samples of tissue and or polyps can be removed and sent to the lab to be looked at under the microscope.
When you should have a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopies are recommended every 10 years beginning at the age of 50. For those with a family or personal history of colorectal cancer or other bowel diseases or symptoms, such as rectal bleeding or change in bowel habits, screening begins earlier. Your doctor is the best source for advice on this topic.
If diagnosed and treated in its early stages, colon cancer is highly curable!
Preparing for the exam
Each doctor provides slightly different instructions for patients – your doctor will give you specific directions. You will need to take laxatives and possibly enemas. If your bowel is not clean enough, the exam may not be completed.
You should drink lots of liquids (at least six glasses of water a day starting two days before your procedure). Avoid alcohol. Note: CLEAR liquids are anything you can see through (black coffee or teas, juice, broth, jello and water are all okay). You should be on a high fiber diet for a healthy bowel, but not for this test! Fiber makes stool more firm and harder to clean out – a low roughage diet is recommended starting three days before the test. Discontinue fiber supplements, as well. Avoid foods with seeds and foods with red dye while preparing for a colonoscopy procedure. Your doctor will discuss your current medications with you. Aspirin, herbal products, blood thinners an iron should be stopped prior to the test as directed by your doctor. Please be sure the doctor knows if you take these medications.
The procedure will be done in one of our Endoscopy rooms fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. You will be sedated and monitored by a nurse anesthetist throughout the procedure. You will be in a twilight sleep and should not feel anything. A specialized team will care for you while you are asleep. Rest assured you will be well draped and treated with dignity. The procedure generally takes about 30-45 minutes.
After your colonoscopy
You can expect to have some wind pain and are encouraged to let it out. Don’t be embarrassed by this. You can resume a regular diet as tolerated once you go home, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.