Colonoscopies provide valuable information about the health of your gastrointestinal tract and can help detect colon cancer. The minimally invasive procedure, offered by the gastroenterologists of Digestive and Liver Center of Florida in Orlando and Altamonte Springs, FL, provides valuable information about the health of your gastrointestinal system.
What happens during a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopies allow gastroenterologists to view the lining of your intestines without surgery. During the test, your Orlando or Altamonte doctor inserts a thin, lighted probe into your anus and gradually passes it through your large intestine and the lower part of your small intestine. The probe contains a tiny camera that sends images of your intestines to a digital monitor. Thanks to this important technology, your gastroenterologist can detect polyps, lesions or bleeding in the intestinal lining.
Before the test begins, you'll receive pain medication and a sedative. When you wake up, you probably won't remember anything about your colonoscopy.
Do I really need a colonoscopy?
For years, 50 was the recommended age for a first screening colonoscopy. Recently, the American Cancer Society lowered the age to 45 in order to ensure that cancerous and pre-cancerous polyps are detected promptly. As colon cancer often doesn't cause symptoms until it's quite advanced, a colonoscopy can literally save your life. If your gastroenterologist does see any polyps, he or she will remove them and send them to a laboratory for testing. Small tissue samples can also be removed for biopsy during the procedure.
If your initial colonoscopy is normal, you probably won't need another colonoscopy for 10 years. More frequent colonoscopies may be recommended if you've had colon cancer or polyps in the past.
Colonoscopies are also used to diagnose gastrointestinal conditions. Your gastroenterologist may recommend a colonoscopy if you have chronic diarrhea or constipation, abdominal pain, anemia, unexplained weight loss or rectal bleeding. In addition to diagnosing these conditions, special instruments can also be used to stop bleeding.
Can I drive home?
You'll need to ask a friend or family member to drive you home from your colonoscopy, as lingering effects of the sedative could affect your reaction time if you drive. You may pass a little gas after the colonoscopy, but most people feel perfectly fine, although a little hungry.
Protect your health with a colonoscopy! Call the gastroenterologists of Digestive and Liver Center of Florida in Orlando and Altamonte Springs, FL, at (407) 384-7388 to schedule an appointment.