What you should know about a colonoscopy
Colonoscopies have decreased the numbers of colon cancer patients in the last several years. Routine procedures to simple gastric issues may help prevent pre-cancers as well as as colon cancer, bacterias and infections and may very well save your life.
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a screening done to high risk patients of colon cancer. It is when a colonoscope with a camera is inserted into your rectum and through the colon to determine polyps or hemorrhoids. Although most polyps are benign, if left unremoved, they may become malignant with time. Due to the fact that most colon cancer develop after age 50, insurances now demand patients to get screened at age 50. This preventive method has decreased colon cancer by a high percentage.
Who should get a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is offered to those patients who have any type of GI disorders such as diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, colon polyps, stomach pain and vomiting, inflamed bowel disease, bleeding from the rectum, abnormal weight loss, and those patient that have any family history of colon cancer.
How to prepare for a Colonoscopy?
First, you must see a Gastroenterologist about any relateable GI issue that may conclude you getting a colonoscopy done. The GI will prescribe you a fiber to help you defecate without straining, ameprazol or something similar for any gas, bloating or nausea, and the solution you must drink a day before the colonoscopy. The GI will instruct you to conduct a clear liquid diet for about two days before the procedure. This clear liquid diet consists of absolutely no solids. The patient may drink light juices as long as they have no red, purple or orange dye. Coffee and tea are permitted as long as no milk is included. Broth is also acceptable, and Jello as long as it is not red. It is important to enable the detoxification of the colon prior to the procedure so that the results can be easily determined in the end.
The day before the procedure is scheduled, the patient must drink the gallon solution prescribed. It is usually recommended to drink half a gallon at 5:00p.m and the other half at 3:00a.m. Some patients can’t really stomach the solution. So in this case, it is fine for the patient to drink the solution gradually throughout the day. This solution is like a laxative therefore, it will help you cleanse your colon.
Be aware that for the morning of the procedure, you should not drink or eat absolutely anything. For precaution, make sure not to take any medications, either.
What will happen during a colonoscopy procedure?
Once you enter the colonoscopy suite, a nurse will check your vitals, blood and EKG one more time to make sure everything is in par. Then, the anesthesiologist will come and give you a dosage of anesthesia. As you’re asleep, the GI will insert a colonoscope into your rectum, up through your small intestine and into your colon. At the tip of the colonoscope, there’s a small camera inserted that takes photos of your intestine. If polyps are found, the GI will take the opportunity to do a biopsy and remove these polyps. After the GI is done, they will remove the colonoscope and get you comfortable to rest up for about 2 hours till the anesthesia wears off. At this point, you will be released to your companion who will take you home. For safety, the patient is not allowed to go home by themselves since one of the secondary effects of anesthesia is groggyness.
What are polyps?
Polyps are clumps of cells within the lining of the colon. Most polyps can be seen through a colonoscopy and are benign, although others are flat growth and can’t be seen as easily. The polyps that cannot be seen and therefore not removed, may become malignant in time, leading to colon cancer, which of course, can be deadly. This is why a biopsy is so important. A biopsy is when the GI scrapes a polyp out of the intestine and sends it to the lab to get tested. This biopsy will determine if the polyps found within the colon are benign or malignant.
What happens if hemorrhoids are found?
Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum or anus and are usually harmless although extremely uncomfortable. Hemorrhoids may enable constipation that may lead to pain and maybe even visible blood in your stool. For this reason, the GI will prescribe the patient fiber so that the he/she may pass stool easily without straining and worsening their condition.
A Colonoscopy can very well save your life. If you have any GI symptoms, do not hesitate to speak to your specialist about your issues. The process is simple, safe and painless. Knowing exactly what the procedure is and how it is beneficial to your life, may give you the confidence to get one done. Don’t let it be too late.