Chandraprakash Umapathy, MDGastroenterology
Eugenia Tsai, MDGastroenterology Hepatology Transplant
Shreyas Saligram, MDGastroenterology
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of death from all cancers. Early detection of colon or rectal disease can lower your risk for complications or death.
One of the best ways to diagnose colon or rectal disease is to do a colonoscopy.
What Is a Colonoscopy?
- A procedure used to view the entire colon (large intestine).
- A flexible tube about the size of your finger is inserted into the anus and is advanced slowly through the whole length of the colon.
- This test lets the doctor see the inside walls of the colon.
- This test is done when you have such symptoms as persistent diarrhea, severe hemorrhoids, blood in your bowel movements, or a family history of cancer.
- During the procedure, it is possible to take a tissue sample or biopsy for further testing.
One Week Before the Test
Stop taking the following medications:
- Alka Seltzer
- Iron Pills
- Coumadin (Warfarin)
- Plavix (Clopidogrel)
If you are taking any of the above medication, call the Endoscopy Center at 210-358-2925 for instructions regarding the management of these medications.
Make sure you have filled your prescription for the Golytely.
On the Day Before the Test
- Eat a clear liquid diet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This includes: Jell-O, juices, broths, coffee with no cream, tea, sodas, Gatorade. DO NOT EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING RED, BLUE OR GREEN!
- Fill the container of Golytely (laxative) with water and shake it. Mix the laxative in the morning and refrigerate it as it tastes better cold. You may add Crystal Light (lemon lime) for flavor.
- Take 2 Dulcolax (Bisacodyl) tablets at 2:00 p.m. You can purchase this over-the-counter.
- Starting at 6:00 p.m., drink a cup (8 oz.) of Golytely laxative every 10 minutes until you finish the whole container. Drink plenty of clear liquids, as well.
- DO NOT EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING AFTER MIDNIGHT, OR FOR 6 HOURS BEFORE THE TEST.
- Please remove nail polish from your finger nails before the procedure.
NOTE: These medicines allow the physician to see your colon clearly. If the colon is not clean your procedure will be incomplete. You may need to return for a second procedure. On the morning of your procedure your bowel movements should be clear. If it is not clear the doctor will not be able to do your procedure.
On the Day of the Test
- Take your routine medications with a sip of water. DO NOT TAKE ANY MEDICATIONS FOR DIABETES!
- Please leave your valuables at home.
- YOU WILL BE SEDATED. YOU MUST BRING AN ADULT TO ACCOMPANY YOU HOME, OR THE PROCEDURE WILL NOT BE PERFORMED.
What Happens During the Colonoscopy?
- You will be asked to change into a hospital gown.
- You will be told about the test and be asked to sign a consent form. Feel free to ask questions.
- The nurse will start an IV and give you medication to make you comfortable.
- When you are sedated the procedure will start.
- The procedure takes approximately 1 hour.
After the Test
During colonoscopy, air is placed in the colon to help visualize the walls of the colon. As a result, you may experience bloating and cramping after the procedure. As you expel the air, the cramping and bloating will decrease. It can take several hours for it to resolve (up to 24 hours).
Also, you may feel tired and sleepy after the procedure because of the medications given during the procedure. This is normal. The sleepiness can last until the next day. We recommend that you have a quiet day with light activity.
You may eat and drink normally after the procedure. We suggest starting with a light meal and advancing your diet as tolerated.
A copy of the procedure report will be give to you. If a biopsy was done, the results will be given to your physician.
IMPORTANT – Due to the sedation used during the procedure:
- Do not drive or work until the next day.
- Do not use machinery or equipment that can cause injury.
- Do not sign any important papers.
- Do not make any important decisions.
- Tips for lessening the effects of cramping/bloating:
Rock back and forth in a rocking chair
- Place hot water bottle/heating pad over abdomen
- Try to expel air as able
IMPORTANT - If you have any of the following symptoms, go to the Emergency Room.
- Persistent nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
- Bleeding (more than 1 teaspoon at one time)
- Worsening or persistent abdominal pain