Whether or not you have a family history of colorectal cancer, we recommend undergoing a colonoscopy by the time you turn 50. This minimally invasive procedure examines the colon—also known as the large intestine—and the rectum. Although it has other purposes, a colonoscopy is primarily used to detect and prevent colon cancer.
Do you need to schedule a colonoscopy in McKinney, Texas? Click the button below to find a gastroenterologist near you.
How Does a Colonoscopy Work?
Wondering how a colonoscopy works? Check out this five-step process.
- The patient is given a sedative so no pain or discomfort is felt during the procedure.
- The doctor inserts a colonoscope into the patient’s rectum. This is a thin, flexible tube with a small camera attached to the end.
- The camera captures still and live images of the rectum and colon, which appear on a nearby screen for the doctor to examine.
- If any polyps are present, the doctor will remove them.
- The doctor will send a polyp sample to a lab for further testing to see whether it’s cancerous.
What to Expect
Here’s what you can expect before and after a colonoscopy.
Before the Procedure
- Don’t eat or drink anything starting the night before your colonoscopy. This prepares your bowels for the procedure. Your doctor may ask you to take a laxative to expedite the process.
- Let your doctor know the following:
- All prescription and over-the-counter medications you currently take
- If you have a family history of colorectal cancer
- If you have a history of bleeding disorders
- If you’re pregnant
After the Procedure
- After waking up from the sedative, you can return home. You will need a family member or friend to drive you to and from the medical center, as the sedative will still be wearing off.
- You may experience bloating and/or light bleeding in your first bowel movement after the procedure. If these symptoms last longer than a few days, let your doctor know immediately.
When Is a Colonoscopy Necessary?
Colonoscopies are used for the reasons outlined below.
Colorectal cancer—which is cancer of the colon and rectum—is one of the most common types of cancer in the U.S. A colonoscopy helps doctors detect colorectal cancer, particularly in its early stages.
A colonoscopy removes abnormal growths called polyps before they become cancerous.
Identify Underlying Causes
A colonoscopy helps doctors identify the causes of:
- Rectal bleeding
- Bowel activity changes
- Abdominal pain
- Unusual weight loss
Colonoscopies help doctors diagnose:
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
At What Age Should I Get a Colonoscopy?
Patients who have a history of colorectal cancer should get a colonoscopy around age 45, possibly younger. Patients who don’t have a family history of colorectal cancer should get their first colonoscopy at age 50. After your first colonoscopy, you should get a follow-up procedure every ten years until you turn 75.
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If you’re looking to schedule a colonoscopy in McKinney, TX, you’ve come to the right place. As the center for surgical excellence, Methodist McKinney Hospital has skilled surgeons and advanced technology to perform a colonoscopy for our patients. Contact us at the link below to get more information or to schedule an appointment.