The lowest portion of your GI tract is called the ‘colon’. It is attached to the anus through the rectum. The anus is an opening from where feces get thrown out of the body. After 50 years, the potential for colon cancer increases. Therefore, the doctors from Baton Rouge Clinic recommend colonoscopy testing once every ten years.
What is the reason to perform colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy screening helps the doctor in several ways.
- Check for signs of cancer and other issues.
- Evaluate symptoms of bleeding or pain originating from the abdominal region.
- Explore why bowel habits have changed.
- Find the reason for diarrhea, chronic constipation, or weight loss.
How is a colonoscopy performed?
Before the colposcopy procedure, the doctor will recommend bowel prep diet including plain coffee, broth, pulp-free juice, gelatin, or sports drink. Avoid drinking purple or red-colored liquid because this can discolor the colon. Medications for blood thinners or vitamins containing iron or specific diabetes medication will have to be stopped. A laxative may also be given the night before the procedure.
During the procedure, your knees are positioned closer to the chest. This offers the doctor a better angle to reach the colon. You will get sedated first and then the doctor will glide a tubular instrument or colonoscope inside the anus and towards the colon via the rectum. On the end of the colonoscope is a camera that transports images on a monitor, which is watched by the doctor. Your colon will get inflated with carbon dioxide gas for a better view. A tissue sample or polyps is removed for biopsy. The procedure takes 45 to 60 minutes.
After the colonoscopy, the sedative is allowed to wear off. You will not be allowed to drive home, so bring someone along. You will experience some bloating from gas placed inside. It will get eliminated from the body soon but if it persists for long then there is an issue, so call the doctor.
You will also see little blood in the stool, it is normal. If the blood or clots persist or you suffer from fever or abdominal pain schedule a doctor’s appointment.
The tissue is sent to the laboratory for testing. The results will be shared as soon as the doctor gets them in some days.
Tips to avoid colon cancer
- Eat whole grains, veggies, and fruits. Avoid processed meat and fatty food. Limit alcohol, stop smoking and lose excess weight with regular workouts.
- Identify the warning signs [bowel habit changes, rectal bleeding, constipation, abdominal cramps] and seek help.