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FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Colonoscopy Procedures
Preguntas más frecuentes sobre procedimientos Colonoscopia

1. Why is a colonoscopy performed?

Colonoscopies are performed to see the lining and inside of the colon and look for conditions such as: polyps, ulcers, cancer, colitis, and diverticular disease. They are also used to determine unexplained diarrhea, bleeding and anemia.

1. ¿Por qué se realiza una colonoscopia?

Las colonoscopias se realizan para ver el revestimiento y el interior del colon, asi como buscar condiciones tales como: pólipos, úlceras, cáncer, colitis y la enfermedad diverticular. También se utilizan para determinar la diarrea inexplicable, hemorragia y anemia.


2. Is a colonoscopy painful?

The procedure is very comfortable since it is done under intravenous sedation, which means you will be asleep during the procedure.

2. ¿La colonoscopia es dolorosa?

El procedimiento es muy cómodo, ya que se realiza bajo sedación intravenosa, lo que significa que estará dormido durante el procedimiento.


3. How do I prepare for the colonoscopy?

You will do a clear liquid diet the day before the procedure to begin as soon as you get up in the morning. A clear liquid diet includes black coffee, tea, strained fruit juice without pulp, water, low sodium chicken or beef broth or bouillon, Gatorade, J-ello, and popsicles. NO RED OR PURPLE AND NO MILK OR MILK PRODUCTS. Also, on the day before your procedure you will have to drink a prep solution in which will cleanse the colon and insure that it is empty so that the doctor can see inside your color and the colonoscopy will be adequate.

3. ¿Cómo me preparo para la colonoscopia?

Usted va a hacer una dieta de líquidos transparentes el día antes del procedimiento para comenzar tan pronto como se levante en la mañana. Una dieta de líquidos claros con café negro, té, zumo de fruta colada sin pulpa, agua, caldo de pollo bajo en sodio o caldo de carne, Gatorade, gelatina, y paletas heladas. NO rojas o moradas. Y sin leche o productos lácteos. Además, el día antes de su procedimiento usted tendrá que beber una solución de preparación que va a limpiar el colon y asegurar que este vacío para que el médico pueda ver el interior de su colon y la colonoscopia sea adecuada.


4. Will I need to miss work?

Preparing for colonoscopy makes you to go the bathroom a lot! Your doctor will give you instructions. Read them carefully a few days ahead of time, since you may need to shop for special supplies and get laxatives from a pharmacy. You usually start your preparation a day or 2 before the actual test, and you may need to change your plans for the preparation day. You’ll need to be near a bathroom as soon as you start the laxatives. If any of the instructions are not clear or you do not understand them, call the doctor’s office and go over them step by step with the nurse.

Many people consider the bowel preparation (often called the bowel prep) the worst part of these tests. In order for the doctor to see the inside of your rectum and colon clearly and get good pictures, your bowels need to be as cleaned out as possible. For either test you’ll need to stay close to a bathroom the day before and the morning of the test.

Because colonoscopy is usually done with drugs that make you sleepy, most people miss work the day of the test. You might want to schedule the test the day after a scheduled day off, so you can be at home the day before without taking an extra day off.


5. Do I have to drink all the solution to cleanse my colon?

Yes, it’s very important to drink ALL the solution, because we are trying to clean out your colon. If the colon is not cleaned then you are at a higher risk for complications and for the procedure to be cancelled and rescheduled. Even if the stool became watery and clear halfway into the solution, it doesn’t mean your colon is fully clear, you still need to take the solution in its entirety.


6. What if I began vomiting up the prep after starting to drink it?

If this occurs stop the prep for an hour and then resume drinking it, if you already know that you are at risk to becoming sick once you begin drinking the prep then start drinking it earlier than the time that you are suppose to start and drink it more slowly.


7. Why is effective bowel preparation important?

The colon will need to be completely empty so that the camera/scope can move through out the colon without any problems. If it is not then the doctor is not going to see inside your colon clearly. There are risks of polyps and cancer that will be unable to view due to fecal debris left in the colon. If the prep is very poor then the procedure will be stopped and rescheduled.


8. What medications should I stop before the procedure?

If you are on blood thinners such as Coumadin/warfarin and Plavix they should be held 5-7 days prior to the procedure if Okayed by the prescribing doctor. If you take any iron it should be held 5 days prior to the procedure. DO NOT STOP ANY MEDICATION UNTIL YOU HAVE RECEIVED THE OKAY BY THE PRESCIBING DOCTOR OR FROM OUR OFFICE.


9. What medications can I take the day of the procedure?

You are able to take all of your medications the day of the procedure UNLESS you are on diabetic medication, blood thinners, iron or any other medications the physician specified not to take.


10. What happens during the Colonoscopy?

You will be brought into the procedure room and hooked up to a machine that monitors your blood pressure, oxygen level and heart rate. They will also insert an IV to administer the sedative and other medications.

While you are laying either on your side or back the doctor will insert the scope and slowly move through the colon and into where the large intestine joins the small intestine.

If a polyp, an abnormal growth, is found in the colon then the doctor will remove it before it has a chance to turn into cancer and it will be sent to pathology for further examination.


11. What happens after the procedure?

The doctor will explain the findings to you and the person who came with you. The person with you will also be informed on what to watch out for if something goes wrong on your way home. You will have to wait in recovery for an hour or so before you can leave due to the sedation. Most patients forget about this examination due to the sedation this is why the document includes the person who came with you if you agreed to. If the doctor finds polyps or did a biopsy during the examination then he/she will remove them and send the specimen to a pathology lab for further examination.


12. Why does someone have to come with me the day of the procedure to drive me?

You are given sedation during the procedure to make it easier on you but it does not wear off quickly. The sedation impairs your judgment and reflexes so you will not be able to drive or operate heavy machinery for 24 hours but you will be able to go back to your normal routine the next day. You will NOT be able to use public transportation because they will not assume the responsibility for you if something goes wrong on your way home.


13. What if they find something?

If a small polyp is found, your doctor will probably remove it during the test. Over time some polyps could become cancer. If your doctor sees a large polyp, a tumor, or anything else abnormal, a biopsy will be done. For the biopsy, part or all of the polyp or abnormal area is taken out through the colonoscopy. It’s sent to a lab for a doctor to look at under a microscope and check for cancer or pre-cancer cells.


14. Why are these tests so important?

Colorectal cancer screening helps people stay well and saves lives. Regular colorectal cancer testing is one of the most powerful weapons for preventing colorectal cancer or finding it early, when it’s easier to treat. There are 2 basic types of screening tests:

Tests that mainly find cancer: These involve testing the stool (feces) for signs that cancer may be present. These tests are easier, but they are also less likely to detect polyps.

Tests that can find both colorectal polyps and cancer: These tests look at the structure of the colon itself to find any abnormal areas. Colonoscopy falls in this group. Removing polyps can help prevent colorectal cancer from ever starting. And cancers found in an early stage, while they are small and before they have spread, are more easily treated.

But too often people don’t get any of these screening tests. Then the cancer can grow and spread without being noticed. Early on, colorectal cancer doesn’t usually cause any changes that are noticed (symptoms). In most cases, by the time people do have symptoms the cancer is advanced and very hard to treat.

Regular screening is the most reliable way to find these cancers in the early stages. Ask a doctor about the best screening plan for you.

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