Are You Due for a Colonoscopy?
If it’s nearing time for your next colonoscopy, be sure to get in touch with Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology. Our team is well-versed in colonoscopy preparation, and we’ll make your experience as comfortable as possible. While this exam has a reputation for being a hassle, it’s incredibly important for ensuring that your colon is healthy and cancer-free! We see patients of all ages at our clinics in Colorado, and we’d be happy to set you up with an appointment.
What Is a Colonoscopy?
Colonoscopies are diagnostic exams that pinpoint irregularities in the colon and rectum. They often pick up on swollen tissues, as well as polyps and signs of cancer. This routine procedure uses a long flexible tube with a video camera attached to explore the intestine and show doctors any causes for concern. At Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology, we offer minimally-invasive colonoscopies that cause virtually no pain.
How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy
The most intensive part of a colonoscopy is usually the preparation. Before the procedure, your doctor will explain in detail the appropriate colonoscopy preparation measures. Besides signing a consent form and getting your questions answered, most patients must take the following steps to prepare for this routine procedure:
- Fasting: To perform a colonoscopy, the colon must be clear. So, patients are asked to avoid all kinds of food and drink for a specified time period before the procedure. Your doctor will make it clear how long you’ll need to fast before coming in for your colonoscopy.
- Be Candid About Your Medical History: Your doctor will ask several questions about your medical history as it pertains to a colonoscopy. We’ll need to know if you have any allergies (latex is a common one), and our team will keep a list of all the medications you take on a regular basis. For patients who are pregnant or have a history of bleeding disorders, it’s especially crucial to be upfront with your doctor about these circumstances.
- Stop or Adjust Medications: Some blood-thinning medications and supplements will need to be ceased as you prepare for a colonoscopy. Talk to your doctor about the best way to adjust your dosage.
- Bowel Preparation: In the days leading up to your procedure, we’ll discuss how to prepare your bowel. We may ask you to take a laxative or ingest a special drink that flushes out the colon.
Understanding the Procedure
Once you’ve adequately prepared for your colonoscopy, it’s time to get the procedure underway. First, you’ll change into a medical gown and receive a sedative or anesthesia. Typically, sedatives are administered intravenously to minimize discomfort. After that, the procedure will continue as follows:
- Lie on the exam table, turn onto your side, and draw your knees toward your chest
- Your doctor will insert the long, flexible tube into your rectum and inflate the colon with air or carbon dioxide
- Now that the colon lining is more easily visible, your doctor will maneuver the tube to examine all parts of the colon
- During this time, you may feel the urge to have a bowel movement, but this is normal
- Depending on what your doctor finds, we may use a second instrument to take a tissue sample or remove polyps
How Long Does a Colonoscopy Take?
While colonoscopy prep can take some time and willpower, the procedure itself is relatively short. For some patients, we can perform a quick colonoscopy that only takes about 15 minutes. However, some procedures may take up to an hour. On average, you can expect to spend about 30 minutes undergoing this procedure.
When to Get a Colonoscopy
Regular colonoscopies become more and more important as we age. However, problems with the colon are exclusive to older individuals. Even people in their early 20s may need a colonoscopy when certain symptoms are present. If you’re experiencing any of the following conditions, this procedure may be necessary:
- Abdominal pain
- Rectal bleeding
- Colon polyps
- Narrowed areas in the colon
- Foreign objects lodged in the colon
- Colon cancer
Schedule Your Colonoscopy Procedure Today
Don’t wait to schedule your next colonoscopy! This procedure is a vital tool for catching the signs of cancer and other diseases early and getting you the prompt treatment you need. Whether this is your first colonoscopy or you’re coming in for your checkup, Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology is happy to have you. We’re dedicated to helping Colorado residents make their GI health a priority. Get in touch with us today.