If you’re 50 or older, or if you are having intestinal symptoms like abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, chronic constipation, or diarrhea, then a colonoscopy is in order. This is the best way for doctors to check for colorectal issues or polyps, which can be precursors to colon cancer. During a colonoscopy, the physician will remove any polyps that are found so that the polyps do not become cancerous.
During the several days before having a colonoscopy, there are preparatory steps that must be taken. Your doctor will explain in detail the foods you should avoid eating during those days, and the physician will give you the medicine that must be taken the day before in order to naturally clean out your colon.
Your colon must be completely cleaned out for the procedure in order for the doctor to clearly see any issues. The physician who is performing the colonoscopy will check the walls of the colon and remove any polyps that are found.
The Colonoscopy Procedure
The medical technicians will have you lie down on your side comfortably, then you will be sedated. While you are asleep under the anesthesia, the doctor will insert a long scope with a light at the end into the rectum to check the entire colon. The colon is the large intestine.
The camera at the end of the colonoscope will be displaying images of the colon onto a computer monitor so the physician can look for any type of polyps or growths that should not be there. They can even take a small biopsy sample if necessary and remove any polyps that are found.
After Having a Colonoscopy
If everything is normal and no polyps were found, the doctor will likely recommend another one in about another 10 years. If the doctor removed any polyps during the colonoscopy, they will ask you to come back in a shorter time frame.
If you had polyps in your colon and someone in your immediate family (parent, sibling, or child) has had colon cancer, the doctor will want to perform another colonoscopy possibly within months. If you have a family history of colon cancer but your colonoscopy showed no polyps, the doctor may recommend another one in another five years. The physician will take all factors into consideration.
What if Polyps Were Found in My Colonoscopy?
Although colon polyps are usually benign, occasionally they are precancerous. The removed polyps will be sent for further testing to a medical lab to determine whether they are cancerous, non-cancerous, or precancerous.
If the doctor removes more than two polyps, or if one or more polyps are unusually large, the doctor will likely recommend a follow-up colonoscopy within a year. This is why even though a colonoscopy is a simple outpatient procedure, it can be vitally important to your good health.
Family Doctor in Midlands, SC
If you are due for a colonoscopy or have never had one, contact our experienced medical team at SC Internal Medicine Associates and Rehabilitation today. We will walk you through the process so it is as pleasant as possible and achieves accurate results.
Call us at (803) 749-1111 or request an appointment online, and put your health care in some of the most capable hands in South Carolina.