How to Prepare For a Colonoscopy

A screening colonoscopy is one of the best tools gastroenterologists have to detect colon cancer in its earliest stages when it is highly treatable and survivable. People ages 45 and up should have colonoscopies as their physician recommends, depending on their individual health risk.

Here’s more on this important test and how to prepare for it.

What Happens During a Colonoscopy?

During a colonoscopy, the gastroenterologist inserts a thin lighted tube into the anus and rectum and through the entire length of the large intestine. This scope is equipped with a miniaturized camera, which enables the doctor to take images of the interior walls of the bowels.

With the same scope, the doctor removes polyps (benign growths which can be precursors to cancer) and tissue samples for biopsy. The scope also enables the GI specialist to dilate strictures, stop bleeding, and investigate reasons for chronic pain, bleeding, and diarrhea.

Colonoscopies typically take about 30 minutes. Patients usually sleep through the painless procedure, as they receive sedation beforehand.

How to Prepare For a Colonoscopy

Most people find colonoscopy preparation to be a nuisance. However, it is fairly straightforward and thoroughly cleans the entire colon, so the doctor can get clear images and detect polyps accurately.

Here’s what to do in the couple of days leading up to your procedure.

  1. Refrain from everything but clear liquids for a full 24 hours. That means consume only broth, popsicles, no-pulp juices, and flavored drinks. Do not drink anything with purple or red dye.
  2. Refrain from routine medications as your doctor instructs.
  3. Use laxatives and bowel cleansing solutions exactly as prescribed. Take them at the proper times, and finish them completely, so your bowel movements run clear.
  4. Get a good night’s sleep.

The day of your procedure, arrive on time to your appointment. Be sure a responsible adult accompanies you and stays the entire time, so you can be driven home.

You will sign the surgical consent and leave your belongings with your companion. The nurse will start an IV line, and you will receive sedating medicine to keep you relaxed during your colonoscopy. Most people sleep through their test and have little to no memory of it afterwards.

Some of our patients receive a CT colonoscopy. Like the typical colonoscopy, it screens for a wide range of bowel conditions with a high degree of accuracy and requires no fasting and laxative preparation.  Unlike the traditional test, CT colonoscopy needs no sedation. Patients are fully awake during the test and may drive themselves home afterwards.

Colonoscopy Screening at Genensis Healthcare Partners

For expert colon cancer screening in a comfortable, modern atmosphere, contact Genensis Healthcare Partners. We have 20 locations in the state of California with a long list of highly qualified gastroenterologists to serve your needs.

Call the office nearest you for an appointment, or complete our online request form and a team member will contact you.