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Colonoscopy

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Colonoscopy

Highly skilled gastroenterologists at Houston Methodist perform tens of thousands of colorectal screenings every year. Learn lifesaving reasons to consider a colonoscopy screening.

 

Colonoscopy is the number one tool available to help detect early signs of cancer. It is also the only screening that can prevent cancer. Colonoscopy screenings allow your doctor to locate and remove polyps — small growths inside the colon — that can become cancerous if left untreated.

 

Our specialists also conduct colonoscopies to rule out or confirm other gastrointestinal issues, such as Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease or colitis.

Nationally Recognized Proactive Colon Care

Houston Methodist Hospital is ranked No. 5 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for Gastroenterology & GI Surgery. U.S. News & World Report has also named Houston Methodist Hospital the No. 1 hospital in Texas (in a two-way tie) and one of the nation’s best as a nationally ranked Honor Roll hospital.

 

Our gastroenterologists take a proactive approach to colon care. We refer you for a preventive colonoscopy if you are 45 years of age or older.

 

If you have had an immediate family member diagnosed with colorectal cancer, we recommend an earlier screening at age 40, or 10 years before the age your family member was diagnosed — whichever is earlier. Or, if you experience intestinal problems such as abdominal pain, blood in the stool or prolonged diarrhea, you may be referred for an immediate colonoscopy.

 

You may also be able to schedule a colonoscopy for yourself. Call us at 713.441.3372 to find out if you qualify for a colonoscopy. Please consult your insurance provider to confirm coverage if you are under the age of 50.

Before, During & After a Colonoscopy

What do I need to do to prepare for a colonoscopy?

During the 24 hours before the procedure, your doctor will place you on a clear liquid diet (water, broth, plain gelatin).

 

Your doctor will direct you to take a prescribed oral laxative preparation solution. The laxative causes you to have diarrhea to clean your colon. Emptying the bowels completely allows the doctor to see the inside of the rectum and colon during the procedure.

 

Your doctor may have you adjust your intake of medications or supplements prior to the procedure. Follow your doctor’s instructions.

What should I expect during the procedure?

Colonoscopies are not typically painful. You are sedated during the procedure to help you feel comfortable. You could experience slight pressure or cramping. The procedure is relatively quick — generally 20 to 40 minutes.

 

During the procedure, you will lay on your side. The doctor inserts a scope (long, flexible tube) into the rectum. A small camera placed at the end of the tube allows the doctor to view the entire colon. 

 

If abnormal tissue is found, a small amount of that tissue is removed for analysis (a biopsy). Your doctor will also remove any polyps located during the procedure.

 

What happens after the procedure?

It takes approximately one hour after the procedure for you to wake up and recover from the sedative. You may feel tired and groggy until the following day and will need to arrange for a ride home after the procedure.

 

You may feel bloated or have a need to pass gas for up to 30 minutes. A light walk can help relieve your discomfort.

 

It can be normal to experience a small amount of blood with your first bowel movement after the procedure. Call your doctor right away if you pass large blood clots or have severe abdominal pain, dizziness or a fever.

 

Your doctor will tell you if any tissue was removed for testing and will follow up with you once the official lab results are available within a couple weeks.

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