1 AnswerIf you have a good colonoscopy and no family history, you can wait 10 years for the next one, says Stephanie Wishnev, MD, a colorectal surgeon at MountainView Hospital. In this video, she says that timing is based on the growth rate of colon cancer.
1 AnswerPreparation should begin by getting to know the doctor doing your colonoscopy. All colonoscopies are “not” created equal. Doctors have different training, experience, and outcomes. You should have confidence in the person doing your colonoscopy.
Preparation for colonoscopy is the most difficult part of a colonoscopy. It involves cleaning out the colon so that the doctor is able to visualize the colon itself during the procedure. Everything after the preparation is simple. Preparation is also the most important factor determining the “quality” of a colonoscopy.
If a person is not adequately “cleaned out” for colonoscopy, then it is more difficult to see abnormalities in the colon, and “things” can be missed. Things include polyps and even cancers.
Typical preparation for a colonoscopy includes (details may vary):
- A period of clear liquids (usually 24 hours before the study).
- It is important to drink lots of fluids during this liquid-only time.
- There is usually a large volume laxative or cathartic to drink, which will flush through the colon. People should have about 12-20 bowel movements as they drink the “prep solution.” Stools should look like slightly colored water, or urine, but the completion of the preparation.
- If stools are still thick / darkly colored / have debris, the patient should call doctor to describe preparation results. It may be necessary to take additional measures to insure a good prep and allow for a “high quality” colonoscopy.
6 AnswersSharmila Anandasabapathy, MD, Internal Medicine, answered on behalf of The Mount Sinai Health System
All Americans over the age of 50 should get a colonoscopy—the gold standard for colon cancer screening. In this video, Sharmila Anandasabapathy, MD, a gastroenterologist, explains why some people might get tested earlier.
2 AnswersSharmila Anandasabapathy, MD, Internal Medicine, answered on behalf of The Mount Sinai Health System
Most patients say the preparation for a colonoscopy is worse than the procedure. In this video, Sharmila Anandasabapathy, MD, a gastroenterologist, explains how the preparation, which clears out the colon, has improved over the last 10 years.
1 AnswerMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answeredEveryone knows the colonoscopy itself isn't the tough part. The tough part is the colonoscopy preparation, which happens the day before. First, you can eat only clear liquids and Jell-O, which can make you cranky and lightheaded (well, that and the nervous anticipation). Second, you have to chug quarts of what humorist Dave Barry calls a nuclear laxative.
So what good news could there be about this process? A new study suggests the clear-liquids-only thing may soon be a thing of the past.
Okay, you can't dive into a bowl of chicken, tomatoes, and whole-wheat pasta in a walnut pesto sauce the night before (have it the night after), but how about oatmeal, juice and coffee for breakfast; pureed carrot soup, custard and soda for lunch; a milkshake that afternoon; then, Greek yogurt swirled into tomato soup, and eggnog and cocoa that night?
What difference did the diet make? None. The study doctors' ability to spot polyps was the same. The average colonoscopy time was also the same: 27 minutes.
Here's the thing: If you've got diabetes, eating more normally could help keep your blood sugar steady. Talk to your doctor. This isn't a done deal but it also isn't the first study to find this.
1 AnswerMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answeredNoninvasive colonoscopy screenings are just a prescription away, so listen up you reluctant 40% of 50-and-older folks who’ve never been screened for colon cancer. No more excuses.
One noninvasive colonoscopy screening option is a virtual colonoscopy that involves a computer tomography (CT) scan, which is as effective as a traditional colonoscopy. (You still have to do the bowel-cleansing preparation). A newer option is an at-home screening that requires no prep: the DNA methylation test.
Here's how the DNA methylation test works: You put a stool sample (preferably a "complete bowel movement") into a bag and send it off to the lab in the mail. There, they look for a specific gene that, if turned off (i.e., hypermethylated), could be a sign of colon cancer.
1 AnswerRobin Miller, MD, Integrative Medicine, answered
Some doctors are better than others when it comes to performing colonoscopies, says integrative medicine specialist Dr. Robin Miller. Watch this video to learn who you should go to when it's time for a colon cancer screening.
1 AnswerColonoscopy is generally a very safe procedure. However, in rare circumstances, complications can occur. If you develop any of the symptoms below, call your doctor.
Abdominal pain—A small amount of abdominal discomfort following the test is normal. If you have a small amount of stomach upset, 1 tablespoon of Mylanta or Maalox may be very helpful. However, if you have persistent abdominal pain, or find that your abdominal discomfort is getting worse either the day of the test or several days thereafter, it is important that you contact your doctor.
Bleeding—A small amount of rectal bleeding after the colonoscopy is normal. However, if your rectal bleeding is severe (more than one half cup), contact your doctor.
Fever—If you develop a fever above 100.4 in the 2 to 3 days following your colonoscopy, contact your doctor.