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What to Expect from a Colonoscopy

What to Expect from a Colonoscopy
July 12, 2022 CIEC
women waiting for procedure wondering what to expect from a colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is an exam that inspects the inside of the colon and rectum. The entire colon and rectum may be examined or only the rectum and sigmoid colon may be examined (aka sigmoidoscopy). Before proceeding with a colonoscopy, you should keep in mind some helpful information.

The endoscope

The endoscope consists of a long, flexible fiber optic tube. It has a camera connected to a video at the distal end that allows us to see and record images of the studied areas inside the digestive tract on a monitor. The endoscope contains tubes inside that allow providers to perform the following:

  • Add air, carbon dioxide or saline to distend, flush and inspect the digestive tract.
  • Obtain biopsies and tissue samples for microscopic study and removal.
  • Perform interventions in the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine.

Why do I need a colonoscopy?

Doctors often recommend colonoscopies to evaluate the following symptoms:

  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Family history of polyposis or presence of already diagnosed polyps
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Symptoms compatible with digestive diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
  • Chronic abdominal pain.
  • Rectal bleeding or the presence of blood in the stool
  • Chronic iron deficiency anemia

What to expect from a colonoscopy?

On the day of the test, the patient receives anesthesia by a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) so that they are asleep during the examination. The patient will lay on their side with knees bent towards the chest. The provider will insert the endoscope while viewing the images on a monitor. Depending on the segment the provider wants to examine, the colonoscopy can last between 30 minutes and an hour.

Once the examination is finished, the patient lays down for a few minutes while the sedation wears off. Patients should make sure they are awake and get up slowly to avoid getting dizzy before putting their clothes on. Patients receiving anesthesia cannot drive home. They must be accompanied by a friend or family member.

Before the procedure:

  • Seven days prior — A Nurse at CIEC will contact you to go over your health history and to make sure you understand the prep instructions.
  • Seven days prior – Do not take any medication that contains iron. If you take a blood thinner, you may be required to hold that medication prior to the procedure.
  • Seven days prior – Do not eat foods such as lettuce, cabbage, corn, beans or any foods that contain seeds or nuts.
  • One day prior – Drink a laxative solution prescribed the doctor. These are specific, detailed instructions provided by your doctor.
  • One day prior – You will be on a clear liquid diet all day. Liquids allowed include: Regular or decaf tea, coffee, carbonated beverages, Kool-Aid, Gatorade, Sport Drinks, 100% Fruit Drinks, Jello, Popsicles, Sugar, Honey, Fat-Free Broth or Bouillon. (Do not drink anything red)
  • Day of the screening – It is so important to get good results from the laxative solution. Be sure you are looking at your stools. Stools should look clear to light yellow (like urine) with no to scant amount of sediment.
  • Day of the screening — Come accompanied by a family member or friend.

The providers at Central Illinois Endoscopy Center specialize in gastroenterology. Our highly qualified specialists provide compassion while delivering high-quality health care services with a 95% patient satisfaction rating. To schedule an appointment, contact us today.