Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy

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  • 1 Answer
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    AJoseph W. Beets, MD, Gastroenterology, answered on behalf of Greenville Health System
    Preparation 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.
    The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nor does the contents of this website constitute the establishment of a physician patient or therapeutic relationship. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
  • 3 Answers
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    AElif Oker, MD, Emergency Medicine, answered

    Colonoscopy is recommended to screen for colon cancer in adults beginning at age 50. However, if you have a family history of colon cancer or certain types of colon polyps, then you may need to begin screening for colon cancer at an earlier age. Your doctor can help you decide the best time to start colon cancer screening.

     

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  • 2 Answers
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    ASharmila Anandasabapathy, MD, Internal Medicine, answered on behalf of The Mount Sinai Health System
    What Is the Preparation for a Colonoscopy Like?

    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. 

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  • 1 Answer
    A
    ASharmila Anandasabapathy, MD, Internal Medicine, answered on behalf of The Mount Sinai Health System
    What  Risks or Side Effects Are Involved With Colonoscopy?

    The vast majority of colonoscopies have no complications. In this video, Sharmila Anandasabapathy, MD, a gastroenterologist, explains what side effects can occur after a colonoscopy.

  • 1 Answer
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    AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Everyone 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 Answer
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    AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Noninvasive 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 Answer
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    ARobin Miller, MD, Integrative Medicine, answered
    Dr. Robin Miller - colonoscopy

    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 Answer
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    Colonoscopy 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.
  • 1 Answer
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    Alternatives to colonoscopy include other tests that examine the whole colon such as barium enema or computed tomographic (CT) colonography (virtual colonoscopy). Less frequently used are the fecal occult blood test cards and sigmoidoscopy (examination of the left side of the colon). With this method, yearly tests are done to screen your stool for blood. If these tests are negative, a flexible sigmoidoscopy is done every 3-5 years. If the stool blood tests are positive or there are polyps on sigmoidoscopy, a full colon examination is necessary.
  • 1 Answer
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    AHealthwise answered

    Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

    • Having a barium enema within a week before the test. Barium can block your doctor's view of the colon.
    • Not doing a good colon prep before the test. If you still have stool (feces) in the colon, your doctor may cancel the test and you will have to reschedule and do the colon prep again.
    • Having a colon that has many turns, past surgery on the colon or a lot of pain during the test.
    • Taking iron supplements. This may make your stool turn black and make it hard to clean out the colon. Do not take iron supplements for several days before a colonoscopy.
    • Drinking red or purple fluids, such as grape juice or fruit punch.
    • Eating red or purple foods, such as grape Popsicles or cherry Jell-O.


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