What to Expect Before, During, and After Your Screening Colonoscopy
The American College of Gastroenterology recommends screening both men
and women for colorectal cancer beginning at age 50. As the second leading
cause of cancer-related death in the United States, it is important to
get this recommended screening.
What is a screening colonoscopy?
A screening colonoscopy checks the colon for any abnormalities that could
develop into cancer if left untreated. This procedure is performed using
a colonoscope, a small camera, to examine the large intestine for inflammation,
bleeding, ulcers or abnormal growths.
Most often, any polyps or abnormal growths are removed during the procedure.
How do I prepare?
Your doctor will discuss the procedure and give you detailed instructions
including dietary restrictions and the cleansing routine. It is extremely
important that you follow these instructions. Generally, preparation consists
of limiting your diet to clear liquids the day before your procedure and
drinking a cleansing solution to induce bowel movements to empty and cleanse
the colon and rectum.
What can I expect during the procedure?
To help you relax, you will receive a sedative and pain medication before
the procedure. You will be placed on your side, and a small colonoscope
will be inserted and slowly guided into the colon. You may experience
pressure, bloating and cramping during the procedure, but will feel no pain.
What about after?
You will be carefully monitored until your sedation wears off, then you
can go home. Some cramping, bloating or gas is possible after the procedure.
You should be back to your normal activities and fully recovered within
a day. Your doctor will follow up with you to let you know your results.