What is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is an endoscopic procedure where a long, thin, flexible tube or “scope” is placed into the rectum and advanced through the entire colon (large intestine). The scope has a light and a camera on the end of it which allows the physician to examine the lining of the colon. A colonoscopy may be performed to diagnose the cause of GI symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, bleeding, abdominal pain, or abnormal x-ray results. A colonoscopy may also be performed on an asymptomatic patient at age 50, or sooner depending on the patient’s history, to screen for colorectal cancer and polyps. A colonoscopy can also be helpful in diagnosing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may need a colonoscopy:
- Rectal bleeding
- Abdominal pain
- Change in bowel habits
- Unexplained weight change
- Chronic diarrhea
- Or if you are over 50 with a history of colon polyps or colon cancer.
Patients that are experience the symptoms listed above will need to see their physician prior to scheduling a colonoscopy. If you do not have a physician, we can help connect you with a Board Certified Gastroenterologist.
If you are 50 years of age or older and have no history of colon cancer or colon polyps, and have commercial insurance, you may be a candidate for the Direct Screen Colonoscopy Program at Hill Country Ambulatory Surgery Center.
The Direct Screen Colonoscopy Program is a no-hassle, lower-cost, and patient-centered alternative to traditional screening colonoscopies. With the Direct Screen Colonoscopy Program, you can skip the pre-procedure physician office visit and instead schedule your screening colonoscopy directly with the facility. Learn more about this program and see if you qualify here.
What Should I Expect?
You will receive instructions from your doctor regarding the necessary preparation to get you ready for your exam. Most patients will be on clear liquids the entire day before the exam. It is very important to follow the instructions given to you by your doctor. There will also be additional instructions regarding your medications. On the day of your procedure, DO NOT eat or drink anything, including water or clear liquids. The doctor will perform your colonoscopy using anesthesia unless the doctor states otherwise. After the procedure, you will need a guardian to drive you home. You are able to eat soft foods and will need the day to rest.