What to Know Before Your Colonoscopy
Get Screened for Colon Cancer at Tri-Rivers Healthcare
A colonoscopy is a procedure that enables a physician to see the inner lining of your rectum and colon. During the procedure, a long, flexible tube with a camera is inserted into the anus and through the colon.
When To Get a Colonoscopy
A colonoscopy may be done for a variety of reasons, including:
- Routine check for colon tumors
- Routine check for colon polyps
- Investigate abdominal pain
- Investigate blood in the stool
- Investigate frequent diarrhea
- Routine check up if you have a family history of colon polyps or colon cancer
It is suggested that all people undergo a routine colonoscopy around age 50 and every ten years thereafter to catch polyps before they turn cancerous.
Preparation for a Colonoscopy
Prior to receiving a colonoscopy, the colon must be completely cleaned. Your physician will give you the following information to prepare for your procedure:
- Stop eating solid foods and drink only clear fluids one to two days before the colonoscopy. Some approved foods and liquids include water, tea, coffee, cleared broths and gelatin.
- The night before the procedure, you will take a prescription laxative tablet or solution. The laxative will be mixed with one gallon of water. Depending on the time of your procedure, you may choose to drink half the solution the night before and half in the morning.
- To completely clear out the colon, an enema 30 to 60 minutes before the test may be necessary.
- To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of fluids while preparing for your procedure.
- Stop drinking clear liquids six to eight hours prior to the procedure.
Recovery from a Colonoscopy
When you are fully awake, you will be released from the hospital or office the procedure was performed at. Depending on the amount of anesthesia that you were given, you might not be able to operate machinery for up to 12 hours. Patients are allowed to eat normal foods and are required to drink a lot of fluids after testing to replace the water that was lost in the colonoscopy preparation process.