A colonoscopy examines your large intestine, including your rectum and colon. It’s a routine procedure, but if you’re stressed at the thought of your upcoming appointment, you’re not alone.
At the Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery, Rachel Alt, MD, Brian Prebil, DO, Jarvis Walters, DO, and our team understand that no one looks forward to getting a colonoscopy, but we’re here to put your mind at ease.
Your colonoscopy probably won’t be as bad as you think, and here’s why.
Colonoscopies are diagnostic tests used to examine your rectum and colon (large intestine). During a colonoscopy, we insert a small, lighted scope into your rectum and through your intestinal tract. The scope projects images on a nearby screen.
A colonoscopy is a safe and minimally invasive procedure. It’s one of the best ways to diagnose symptoms like abdominal pain and rectal bleeding, screen for colorectal cancer, and treat polyps.
The risk of side effects is low, and it’s an essential part of your preventive health care. In fact, most people should get their first colonoscopy by age 45 and continue getting tested every 10 years.
Since we use a small scope to examine your intestines, your colon must be clean and empty before your colonoscopy. We give you instructions on how to prepare in advance.
Typically, you need to avoid solid foods for about 24 hours before your procedure. You also need to empty your bowel, and we may prescribe a laxative or enema to help.
Many people who have had colonoscopies say that the preparation is more stressful than the procedure. It’s important to follow our instructions exactly, otherwise, we may not be able to complete your colonoscopy.
On the day of your colonoscopy, we first answer any last-minute questions. You change into an exam gown and lie on your side on an exam table. Then, we administer medication to make the procedure more comfortable for you.
We may use oral or intravenous sedative medication to make you sleepy and less anxious. Once the medication takes effect, we begin your colonoscopy. In many cases, people don’t feel anything or remember the colonoscopy at all.
Colonoscopies take between 30-60 minutes. Once complete, we move you to a recovery room for observation and then you’re free to go. Make sure to bring someone with you to your appointment so they can drive you home.
Plan to rest for the remainder of the day to let your medication wear off gradually. Side effects following colonoscopies are generally mild, but you may experience some temporary bloating and abdominal discomfort.
We review your test results with you in the days after your colonoscopy and schedule any follow-up appointments as needed.
Colonoscopies are routine procedures, and there’s no need to stress about your upcoming test. For more information about how to prepare and what to expect, contact our office in Peoria, Arizona, to make an appointment.