Colonoscopy is a procedure where the inside of the colon is examined by passing a flexible lighted tube through the length of the colon via the anus. The procedure is usually performed under sedation – so you will be comfortable and free of pain. If a growth in the colon is detected, your doctor will remove the growth completely if possible and send it for further testing to rule out cancer. Colonoscopy has been shown to be very safe and is the best way to rule out and screen for colorectal cancer.
Before colonoscopy screening ??can be performed, the colon will need to be clear of feces, and you will have to take some medicine to clear the colon. The medication will induce diarrhoea and you must complete the preparation. You will need to drink a lot (2L) of water or clear fluids (no milk products) to avoid becoming dehydrated. You may also drink sweet drinks like honey or fruit juice without pulp. If you experience abdominal pain or vomiting when taking the medicine, please contact your doctor immediately. When the bowel preparation is completed, you should be passing clear fluid through the anus – somewhat like urine.
You should avoid taking fruit, vegetables, cereals, nuts and fibre rich products one day before the procedure as they will result in a large amount of fecal residue in the colon. You should take a light meal before consuming the before taking the Bowel Preparation Medication – Porridge or Noodles with lean meat or eggs. You should stop eating 6H before colonoscopy screening, but you may continue to drink up to 2H before the procedure unless you are having a gastroscopy at the same time..
1. Patients with underlying heart or kidney problems: Oral fleet has high sodium and phosphate content that can cause electrolyte problems.Inform your doctor and check that the it is alright to go ahead with the bowel preparation and the procedure.
2. Medications: Blood thinning agents like Coumadin (Warfarin), Plavix or Aspirin can result in severe bleeding – and may need to be stopped 5-7 days before the procedure.
You should continue with you blood pressure and other medication.
3. Diabetics: You may need to modify or omit taking your diabetic medication on the day of the procedure because your blood sugar level may fall while you are fasting.
4. Antibiotic prophylaxis: Patients with heart valve replacement, certain prosthetic implants or a hole in the heart and who have been advise to have antibiotics during dental procedures must inform the doctor of their condition – so that antibiotics can be taken before the colonoscopy.
After the procedure:
You will be observed and monitored until you have fully recovered from the sedatives you have been given. You may experience some abdominal distension – because of the air used to distend the colon during the procedure. This will resolve as you pass out flatus. You may not have any passage of stool for a few days after colonoscopy, because the colon has been cleared of feces and you should not be alarmed.
If you experience sudden severe abdominal pain or large amount of bleeding in the stool, please contact the doctor immediately.
Listen to Dr. Melvin Look’s Radio Interview about Gastroscopy & Colonoscopy Screening for Cancer Prevention.