A colonoscopy might not be the highlight of your week, but it’s an essential procedure that can save your life. What exactly does it involve, and why is it so important?
This comprehensive guide aims to demystify the procedure, explaining why colonoscopies are crucial for maintaining gut health and potentially preventing serious diseases. Read on to find out what happens during a colonoscopy and how to prepare for the exam.
What is a Colonoscopy, and What Does it Do?
A colonoscopy is a procedure used to examine the large intestine (colon) and rectum for any abnormalities, like swollen or irritated tissues, polyps, or cancer. A long, flexible tube is gently inserted into the rectum during the procedure. At the end of the tube, a small video camera enables the doctor to see the inside of the entire colon.
The camera displays images on the screen to identify any irregularities or excessive growth in the colon wall. This enables examining, sampling, and removing abnormal tissue using various biopsy tools through supplementary channels.
Screening colonoscopy plays a crucial role in the early detection and treatment of colorectal cancers. It helps guide decisions regarding cancer treatment, including surgical interventions.
Regular screenings from the age of 45 are vital in preventing and detecting colorectal cancer. According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, adults between the ages of 45 and 75 should undergo screening for colorectal cancer.
Preparing for Your Colonoscopy – What to Expect
Before your colonoscopy, there are certain steps you need to take to ensure a successful procedure. Here are some key considerations to prepare for your colonoscopy:
- You’ll start by changing your diet a few days in advance to prepare for your colonoscopy. Usually, you’ll switch to a low-fiber diet for two or three days and then switch to a clear liquid diet on the final day.
- Before the procedure, taking a mild laxative solution in the afternoon or evening is vital to ensure complete emptying of your bowels.
- Afterward, you may spend several hours alternating between the bathroom and your bed. Take the time to get comfortable, and ensure you have a restful night’s sleep.
- Your colonoscopy is typically scheduled for the following day so that the laxative will have had enough time to take effect.
- Before having the test, ensure you’re well informed about the procedure and any potential associated risks. Ask your doctor any questions you have concerning the procedure.
- Ensure that you have a companion who can drive you home when you come for your appointment. The anesthesia used during colonoscopies might still affect you after the procedure is over.
We’re Here for You When It Comes to Your Health
Your health is our topmost priority at North Central Surgical Center Hospital. A colonoscopy is an important procedure that, when necessary, should be timely. An early diagnosis can significantly increase the success rate of treatments for colorectal cancer and other intestinal ailments.
Our team of experts in gastroenterology and colorectal surgery is dedicated to providing the utmost care and comfort throughout the process, making your experience as smooth as possible. If you’ve any concerns or if it’s time for your routine colonoscopy, please contact one of our physicians today.