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How Should You Prepare for a Colonoscopy?

As we grow older, our health needs also change. One of the most common procedures recommended for adults over 50 years old is a colonoscopy.

This procedure involves examining the large intestine (colon) and rectum to detect any abnormalities or diseases such as colorectal cancer.

 

What is Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that allows doctors to examine the inside of your large intestine using a thin, flexible tube with a camera attached at one end, called a colonoscope.

The image captured by the colonoscope is transmitted to a monitor, which enables the doctor to have a clear view of your intestines. This procedure can help detect polyps, ulcers, tumours or other abnormalities that may be present in the colon.

 

Why is it Important?

Colonoscopy is an essential procedure as it not only helps in detecting colorectal cancers but also enables the doctor to identify and remove any potentially cancerous growths (polyps) during the examination. Early detection of these growths can prevent them from developing into cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, regular screenings through colonoscopy can reduce deaths from colorectal cancer by up to 60%.

 

Preparing for Colonoscopy

To ensure accurate results and a smooth procedure, it is crucial to properly prepare for a colonoscopy. Here are some steps you can follow:

 

1) Schedule the procedure

First and foremost, schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist or a healthcare provider who specializes in digestive health. They will guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

 

2) Follow dietary restrictions

A few days before the scheduled colonoscopy, your doctor will provide you with a list of foods to avoid. This usually includes high-fiber foods, nuts, seeds, and raw fruits and vegetables. It is important to follow these restrictions to ensure a clear view of the colon during the procedure.

 

3) Take prescribed medication

Your doctor may also prescribe you laxatives or other medications that will help cleanse your colon. Make sure to take them as instructed for optimal results.

 

4) Fast before the procedure

Typically, you will need to fast for at least 8 hours before the procedure. Your doctor will give you specific instructions, which may include avoiding food, beverages, and smoking.

 

Why is it Important to Prepare for Colonoscopy?

Proper preparation is crucial when it comes to colonoscopy. It ensures that the colon is clean and free from any faeces or other obstructions that may interfere with the examination.

A thorough cleansing of the colon allows for an accurate diagnosis and reduces the risk of complications during the procedure.

 

During the Procedure

A colonoscopy usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour. During this time, a thin and flexible tube with a camera (colonoscope) is inserted into your anus and moved into your colon.

Your doctor will examine the images on a screen and may take tissue samples or remove polyps for further testing.

 

After the Procedure

You may experience some discomfort or bloating after the procedure, but this should subside within 24 hours. It is important to have someone drive you home from the appointment as you may still feel drowsy from the sedation.

 

Follow-up

Your doctor will discuss the results with you after the procedure. If any abnormalities or polyps are found, they may recommend further tests or treatment options. It is important to continue regular screenings as recommended by your doctor.

 

Takeaway

A colonoscopy is a vital tool for detecting and preventing colorectal cancer.

By following the preparation steps and regularly scheduling screenings, you can take control of your health and ensure early detection and treatment if needed.

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