The Colonoscopy Survival Guide

Prep­ping for your Colonoscopy Prep

A colonoscopy is a diag­nos­tic test that allows your gas­troen­terol­o­gist to exam­ine your large intes­tine for any abnor­mal­i­ties and pre-can­cer­ous growths called polyps. Dur­ing your colonoscopy, your doc­tor can obtain tis­sue sam­ples for fur­ther test­ing and remove any polyps found before they devel­op into can­cer­ous tumors. In addi­tion to screen­ing for col­orec­tal can­cer, colono­scopies may be used to diag­nose a num­ber of gas­troin­testi­nal issues and may be rec­om­mend­ed if you are expe­ri­enc­ing symp­toms including:

  • Changes with your bow­el habits or blood in your stool
  • Unex­plained abdom­i­nal pain or weight loss
  • Chron­ic diarrhea

All adults should receive a colonoscopy screen­ing when they reach the age of 45. Can­cer screen­ings are an easy, effec­tive way to detect can­cer ear­ly, when they are most treat­able. This is espe­cial­ly true of col­orec­tal can­cer because it is a slow-pro­gress­ing can­cer. We rec­om­mend talk­ing with your pri­ma­ry care physi­cian before the age of 45 to deter­mine your risk of devel­op­ing col­orec­tal can­cer, which takes into con­sid­er­a­tion both your per­son­al and fam­i­ly health his­to­ry, and to estab­lish your rec­om­mend­ed screen­ing sched­ule. If you are at an increased risk, your doc­tor may rec­om­mend you begin screen­ing ear­li­er or more frequently.

In order for your physi­cian to per­form your colonoscopy, it is impor­tant that your colon is com­plete­ly emp­ty so that they can locate and remove every polyp that may have formed inside your large intes­tine. If your colon is not ful­ly clear, you may need to repeat your colonoscopy (and the bow­el prep), so it is impor­tant to fol­low your doc­tor’s instruc­tions carefully.

Although it can be a life­sav­ing test, many peo­ple delay com­plet­ing their colonoscopy because they are anx­ious or unsure about the pro­ce­dure or the pre-screen­ing prep. To make you feel as com­fort­able and pre­pared as pos­si­ble, our board-cer­ti­fied Gas­troen­terol­o­gists share tips from tak­ing time off work to stay­ing hydrat­ed to help you pre­pare for the prep.”

Can­cer screen­ings, includ­ing colono­scopies, can save lives. It is esti­mat­ed that 60 per­cent of col­orec­tal can­cer-relat­ed deaths could have been avoid­ed with ear­li­er detec­tion and treat­ment, yet approx­i­mate­ly 1 in 3 peo­ple are not up-to-date with their col­orec­tal can­cer screen­ing. Don’t let fear of the prep keep you from reduc­ing your col­orec­tal can­cer risk and tak­ing con­trol of your health. For ques­tions about your bow­el prep, or to sched­ule a colonoscopy, call 630−717−2600.