If you want to stay healthy, you need to know what’s going on in your body so that you can find any problems at their earliest and most treatable stages. Cancer screenings, including colonoscopies for some gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, help you do just that.
Colon cancer is a potentially deadly type of GI cancer that doesn’t usually show up until after age 50. Most women and men have a moderate risk for colon cancer and should receive their first colonoscopy at age 45. If your doctor doesn’t find anything abnormal and your risk profile doesn’t change, you won’t need another colonoscopy for about 10 years.
However, if you have a family history of colon cancer or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), you may need to start screening sooner and repeat it more often. You’re also at a higher risk if you’ve had radiation treatment for any other type of cancer before.
Our expert team of medical professionals at Low Testosterone & Weight Loss Center in Allen, Texas, encourage regular colonoscopies based on your age and other risk factors. As part of your annual wellness exam, we let you know when it’s time for your first colonoscopy.
If you’ve scheduled this essential test, here’s what to expect before, during, and after your colonoscopy.
Arrange for transportation and time off
During your colonoscopy, you undergo general anesthesia or given a sedative to keep you comfortable and pain-free. Therefore, you must arrange ahead of time for a friend or family member to drive you home once your procedure is complete and our team gives you the all-clear.
You should also arrange to take the day off from work. In addition to feeling sleepy, you may feel sore.
Our team may give you or prescribe a laxative solution to use the day before your colonoscopy. In addition to fasting (see below), the laxative helps remove all stool and residue from your colon and rectum so our team can visualize your GI tract with the colonoscope.
You also want to stock up on bland foods and clear liquids for the fasting portion of your preparations. Other supplies you may need include adult diapers to catch residue after the laxative purge and diaper ointment to ease any soreness or irritation.
A few days before your colonoscopy, switch to low-fiber and bland foods that move easily through your GI tract. Some choices include:
- Lean poultry, meat, or fish
- White rice
- Vegetables that are skinned and cooked
- Fruits that are skinned and seedless
Take a break from any vegetables, beans, or other foods that give you gas. Some common culprits include broccoli, beans, and whole grains.
You may also need to “fast” from supplements and medications. During your consultation, please share with us any vitamins, minerals, supplements, or medications you currently take.
Your bowels need to be completely clean. The evening before your procedure, you need to fast except for clear liquids. You should also start drinking your laxative at that time.
Stay close to the bathroom when you take your laxative. Your stools are frequent and will be loose.
The colonoscopy procedure is simple and quick. After you come to the screening center, you change into a hospital gown. Then, you may be given a sedative or put to sleep.
During the colonoscopy, you lie on your side while your doctor threads the very narrow tube called a colonoscope into your colon. The colonoscope tube contains a miniature:
- Grasping tool
- Cutting tool
Once the colonoscopy is in place, we inflate your GI tract so it’s easier to see your colon’s walls. We wash it with the irrigator. Then, we examine the colon. If we see abnormal growths called polyps, we remove them.
We send any removed polyps to a laboratory that evaluates them to see if they’re cancerous or precancerous. Usually, polyps are benign (i.e., cancer free).
If the lab finds cancer, we refer you to an oncologist for further treatment. When caught early, colon cancer is curable. That’s why colonoscopies are essential.
Protect your health with a colonoscopy by calling us today at 214- 383-7411. Or, use our online form at your convenience.