Two Key Facts About Colonoscopies

If you are over the age of 45 or have a history of colon cancer in your family, your healthcare provider may recommend that you have a colonoscopy. This procedure involves having a long tube inserted into your body so a doctor can examine your colon for any abnormalities. Here are two key facts about colonoscopies that everyone who is about to undergo the procedure should know. 


Proper preparation for a colonoscopy is essential. If a patient does not follow their doctor's orders concerning their preparation, then the results of the colonoscopy could be compromised. The first step is to follow a fairly strict diet on the days just before your test. You need to eat only low-fiber foods, such as pasta, rice, lean meat, and fish for a few days before the procedure. 

Then the day before the test, you should not eat any solid foods at all, but only consume clear liquids, such as apple juice or clear broth, and ice pops or gelatin. Avoid liquids, ice pops, or gelatin that are colored red, blue, or purple, as the dyes in these colors could interfere with the test.

The other main part of your preparation will be purging your colon of any fecal matter. The doctor will recommend a laxative mixture that you will take the night before the procedure. You will also need to take more laxatives on the morning of the colonoscopy. If you have prepared well, then your stool should look almost like urine or be completely clear.

Other Conditions

A big advantage of getting a colonoscopy is that, in addition to discovering colon cancer at an early stage, it can also detect a number of other serious conditions that can help your physician improve your overall health. For instance, the test can discover any pouches that have developed in your colon, a condition known as diverticulitis. Early treatment of diverticulitis could avoid complications that can lead to surgery.

A colonoscopy can also potentially detect Crohn's disease, which is a serious condition caused by inflammation. As with diverticulitis, if a colonoscopy detects Crohn's disease, this can help your doctor start treatment immediately, possibly avoiding serious complications.

Colonoscopies also look for non-cancerous polyps, in addition to polyps that are cancerous or pre-cancerous. The doctor may take out any polyps that they find during the colonoscopy, depending on the circumstances.

Colonoscopies are an excellent way to check for any issues with your colon. They are nothing to fear and could help you avoid serious health problems down the road.

Contact a local healthcare service, such as Gastro Health, to learn more.