1 AnswerMaking the decision to stop colon screening is based on individual patient conditions and history, and you should always consult your physician to decide. To maintain healthy living and to ward off any condition such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer at any age, it is important to continue healthy preventive behaviors such as eating right, exercising and continuing to see your primary care or family physician for annual wellness exams.
1 AnswerDr. Joseph P. Thornton, MD , Colorectal Surgery, answered on behalf of Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center
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 AnswersDr. Sharmila Anandasabapathy, MD , Gastroenterology, 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 AnswersPrior to having your colonoscopy, your doctor will make arrangements for you to have a bowel prep, which is also known as a laxative. Typically, one day before your procedure, you will start a clear liquid diet, which is basically any liquid you can see through, such as clear broth or apple juice. Your doctor will also ask you to avoid any solid foods. You will also take a laxative medicine. You should be prepared to have multiple bowel movements. This process will prepare your colon for your colonoscopy the next day.
1 AnswerDr. Michael 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 AnswerDr. Michael 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.