ABOUT THE PROCEDURE
A colonoscopy is a procedure used to detect and diagnose abnormalities in the large intestine, also known as the colon. The purpose of this procedure is to screen for colon cancer and to detect problems like inflamed tissue, ulcers, and abnormal growths that, left untreated, could lead to colorectal cancer. Most people begin having colonoscopies at age 50, although if you have inflammatory bowel disease, a family history of colon cancer, or other concerns, we may recommend one earlier.
Besides age and family history, the following symptoms indicate that you might need to have a colonoscopy sooner rather than later:
- Changes in bowel habits
- Abdominal pain
- Bleeding from the anus
- Unexplained weight loss
We understand that stress and anxiety can go hand in hand with any medical procedure, especially if it’s one you’re not familiar with. To help allay your concerns, we’ve detailed what you can expect before, during, and after the procedure below. Please keep reading to learn more and schedule an appointment with us today if you have any of the concerns or conditions named above.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Before the Procedure
Before you schedule your colonoscopy, please let Dr. Donepudi know about all medical conditions you have as well as all medications, vitamins, and supplements you regularly take. Of particular concern are the following:
- Blood thinners
- Iron-containing supplements
- Medication for arthritis
- Medication for diabetes
As the day of your appointment approaches, you will need to undertake bowel prep, which usually occurs 1-3 days before the procedures. All solids must be removed from your GI tract before the procedure. To do this, you will follow a clear liquid diet consisting of the following:
- Diet soda
- Fat-free broth or bouillon
- Plain coffee
- Plain tea
- Strained fruit juice
Please do not consume any liquids containing red or purple dye.
In addition to following this diet, you may be asked to take a laxative or enema the night before your procedure in order to loosen any stool and increase bowel movement. You will also need to ensure that you have transportation to and from the doctor’s office, as you will not be able to drive yourself. Rest assured that Dr. Donepudi will go over all requirements with you before your procedure to ensure that you understand exactly what to do and how to prepare.
During the Procedure
A colonoscopy is a relatively short procedure (30-60 minutes) and is not painful. Dr. Donepudi can provide both light and deep sedative options to ensure you are relaxed and comfortable. Since you will be required to move during your colonoscopy, you cannot be put under general anesthetic.
When the examination begins, you’ll lie on your side on the table while the doctor inserts a long, flexible tube called a colonoscope (scope) into your anus. This scope has a camera mounted on the end that will transmit a video image to a computer screen. The doctor will guide the scope through the rectum and into the colon, monitoring the computer screen to carefully examine your intestinal lining. As soon as the scope reaches the opening of the small intestine, the doctor will slowly withdraw it while once again examining the lining of the colon.
Many abnormalities found during a colonoscopy can be addressed during the procedure itself. For instance, if we were to find abnormal growths, called polyps, we can remove them during the procedure and test them for cancer. We can also take samples from any other abnormal tissues to biopsy (test) for cancer and other concerns.
After the Procedure
As mentioned above, you will not be able to drive after your procedure. It usually takes about 24 hours for the sedative to fully wear off, so please make sure you have arranged for a ride home from the office.
You might experience cramping or bloating during the first hour or so after the procedure. For your health and safety, we’ll usually ask you to remain with us for 1-2 hours after your procedure, so we can monitor your status. You can expect to make a full recovery by the next day, although you should read and follow the discharge instructions we give you for the best, fastest recovery.
If you experience any of the following symptoms after your colonoscopy, contact us immediately:
- Bloody bowel movements
- Severe pain in the abdomen
At the end of the day, a colonoscopy is a safe and routine procedure. Dr. Donepudi will take excellent care of you before, during, and after your colonoscopy, and she will make sure you know everything you need to know to feel safe and comfortable throughout the process. To learn more or make an appointment, please contact us today.