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Many people will get a colonoscopy for the first time this year. Doctors normally recommend patients who are in their 50’s to have a colonoscopy if they have never had one before. There is a high mortality rate with colon cancer, and a colonoscopy is a relatively inexpensive procedure. Some decide to get a colonoscopy due to their age but it might also be used to look for bleeding, tumors, polyps or irritation in the colon or rectum.
If you suffer from diarrhea, abdominal pain, or rectal bleeding your doctor might ask you to get a colonoscopy. It is important to discuss any health problems you have that might interfere with your colonoscopy, such as heart problems. Go ahead and get any insurance forms you need ready so they will be close at hand. When a colonoscopy is performed a long, flexible colonoscope is used. There is a small camera attached to the scope. Your doctor can get a biopsy while doing this procedure and in some instances polyps can be removed.
What Type of Prep Is Used?
It is important that you take your normal medication without any anticoagulants or aspirin for at least 3 days prior to the procedure. Asprin like anticoagulants will increase your risk to bleed. Your bowels do need to be relatively cleaned out so you will normally take a laxative pill, or miralax. This is probably the hardest part for most people. The evening before you will take your laxatives and drink your miralax, we normally suggest mixing it with soda or gatorade. It is easier to drink chilled.
What Can I Expect While Drinking The Colon Prep?
Expect to go to the bathroom a lot. Your stool will start to run clear. Your physician will give you instructions on what he would like you to do before having the procedure. It is important that there is as clean a view as possible. I would take a clean pair of underwear and a change of clothing just in case. Normally the underwear will be all you might need.
The morning of the procedure you will be medicated by an anesthesiologist. You will be sedated through the procedure. The physician will insert the colonoscope and visually look for irritation, bleeding, tumors, or polyps. A colonoscopy allows the entire length of your colon to be looked at. It can be as long as 4 to 5 feet. Sometimes air is used to maximize visibility and you can expect a bout of gas after the procedure.
A colonoscopy is frequently used to diagnose an inflammatory bowel disease such as chron’s or ulcerative colitis. Many times bowel diagnoses are made in the teens or young adult years. Instead of a colonoscopy the disease may be diagnosed with a X-ray. A colonoscopy allows a better visualization of the bowel.
Most facilities require you to have a driver before they will release you. As most medicines used to put you under, it is not recommended nor allowed for you to drive while still under the side affects of the medicationYou may be able to return to work in most cases depending on what type of work you do. If you run heavy machinery, or transport the public you might be required to take the day off.