Colonoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to examine your large bowel. The large bowel includes the colon and rectum
Your doctor may prefer a screening to look for polyps (pre-cancerous growths) and other diseases of the colon using a colonoscope, which is a thin, flexible tube with a camera attached to the end.
We use colonoscopies to help diagnose disease and as a preventive measure. Regular colonoscopies help detect colon cancer in its earliest stages. Colonoscopies also can be therapeutic treatment, by removing polyps and/or growths that could become cancerous. Talk to your doctor about when you should begin regular screenings.
We may recommend a colonoscopy if you have unexplained digestive symptoms, including:
- Stomach pain
- Anemia (feeling tired and fatigued)
- Bloody stool
- Weight loss
- Change in bowel habits
- A positive fecal occult blood test (a test to see if there is hidden blood in the stool)
Colonoscopy: What to Expect
You need to follow your doctor's pre-procedure instructions carefully. It is important your bowel is clear before your colonoscopy. This allows your doctor to examine the area and check for signs of disease. Your doctor will discuss with you how to prepare for your colonoscopy. Typically, preparations include:
- Dietary changes, including a liquid diet the day before the procedure
- Laxatives, especially liquid laxatives and large amounts of water
- You should arrange for someone to drive you home after the colonoscopy
For more information about endoscopic services at St. Anthony's Hospital or for a physician referral, please call (727) 825-1111.