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Colonoscopy Services in Concord, NC

What is a Colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is a procedure that uses a long, flexible, narrow tube with a light and tiny camera on one end, called a colonoscope or scope, to look inside the rectum and the entire colon. A colonoscopy can show irritated and swollen tissue, ulcers, and polyps.

When is a Colonoscopy Needed

A colonoscopy is performed to help determine the cause of:

Colonoscopy is the most common method of screening for colon cancer. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends routine screenings for people 45 and over. Most colon cancers begin as polyps. Screening can detect polyps so they can be removed before they become cancerous. Regular screening and removal of any polyps found can reduce your risk of colorectal cancers by as much as 90%.

Our gastroenterologists in Concord, NC perform colonoscopies to diagnose many health problems – including colorectal cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the United States. Fortunately, about 90 percent of people live 5 or more years when their cancer is detected early.

While there are several ways to test for colorectal cancer, most doctors recommend a colonoscopy. This is because this procedure is better at detecting polyps, which are growths in the intestine that may turn into cancer. Our doctor can remove suspicious polyps during the procedure before the polyps turn into cancer.

What to Expect

A colonoscopy is a comprehensive examination of the colon and rectum. It begins with preparation, including changing into a hospital gown and receiving sedatives or anesthesia for comfort. Vital signs are monitored as you lie on your left side with your knees drawn up. A flexible colonoscope, equipped with a camera and a light, is gently inserted through your rectum and into your colon.

As the colonoscope advances, the doctor carefully navigates through your colon, inspecting for abnormalities like polyps, inflammation, ulcers, or signs of disease. Air may be used temporarily to enhance visibility, causing some bloating or discomfort. Suspicious areas, polyps, or abnormal tissue can be biopsied or removed during the procedure.

The doctor gradually withdraws the colonoscope while examining the lining, including the rectum and the lower colon. Afterward, you're monitored in a recovery area while sedation or anesthesia wears off. Mild bloating, gas, and cramping may occur immediately after. Recovery typically takes 30 minutes to an hour.

Our doctors in North Carolina will discuss findings with you, providing initial results or recommendations. Biopsy results may take a few days. You can usually resume your regular diet and activities within a day, but avoid strenuous exercise briefly. Follow pre-procedure and post-procedure instructions from our professional team for a successful colonoscopy and smooth recovery.

How to Prepare For a Colonoscopy in Concord, NC

Your gastroenterologist will provide you with specific instructions on preparing for a colonoscopy; it is essential to follow these instructions closely. In most cases, your digestive doctor will recommend that you eat a low-fiber diet for a few days before your colonoscopy; avoid eating whole grains, nuts or seeds, raw fruits, dried fruit, or vegetables. Your doctor will likely recommend a clear liquid diet the day before a colonoscopy. Do not eat or drink anything two hours before your colonoscopy unless otherwise directed by your gastroenterologist.

The day before your colonoscopy, you will drink a bowel-cleansing liquid that will induce diarrhea. The exact colonoscopy prep used depends mainly on the product your gastroenterologist prefers, the time of your colonoscopy, and any prior experience you may have had with a specific product – if one type of bowel prep did not work well for you, your doctor may recommend another.

All patients should:

  • Arrange for a ride home, as driving is not allowed for 24 hours following the test.
  • Cleanse the bowel completely beforehand.

Your Northeast Digestive Health Center provider will provide written prep instructions before your procedure. Following all instructions is very important to ensure accurate results. See all colonoscopy prep instructions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I eat the day before a colonoscopy?

Consume only clear liquids the day before a colonoscopy. Clear liquids are foods and beverages that are transparent and liquid at room temperature.

Examples of clear liquids include:

Clear broth or bouillon
Black coffee or tea
Clear juice, such as apple and white grape)
Clear sports drinks or soft drinks

The following foods and beverages that are NOT clear liquids, and should NOT be consumed the day before your colonoscopy:

Ice cream
Coffee or tea with cream
Cream soup
Solid food

How long does a colonoscopy take?

A colonoscopy usually takes about 30 to 60 minutes.

Does a colonoscopy hurt?

No – our healthcare team administers anesthesia before starting the colonoscopy, so the patient is asleep and pain-free during the procedure. What’s more, the patient does not remember anything about the procedure.
In some cases, the doctor will introduce air into the patient’s bowel during the procedure. There is a small chance that the patient will feel some gas-like cramping after the colonoscopy. If the doctor takes a small amount of tissue to send to a lab for biopsy, the patient may experience discomfort the next day.

What can you eat after a colonoscopy?

After a colonoscopy, consume foods and beverages that are easy on your digestive system. Your doctor may recommend that you eat a low-residue diet immediately after the colonoscopy. A low-residue diet usually limits dairy foods and features low-fiber foods that are easy to digest and that produce less stool.

After a colonoscopy, you may consume the following food and drinks:

Apple butter
Canned fruit, such as peaches
Drinks with electrolytes
Fruit juice
Graham crackers
Herbal tea
Mashed or baked potato
Saltine crackers
Scrambled eggs
Smooth nut butter
Soft white fish
Tender, cooked vegetables
Vegetable juice
White bread or toast

Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration associated with diarrhea from the bowel prep or from withholding liquids before the procedure.

What should I avoid eating after a colonoscopy?

Your doctor may recommend that you avoid eating anything that could upset your bowels, such as spicy foods or foods that are high in dietary fiber. Heavy, greasy foods may make you feel nauseated after receiving anesthesia. If your doctor introduced air into your bowel, you may want to avoid carbonated beverages that add even more gas to your system.

Who should I contact for more information about a colonoscopy?

For more information about colonoscopy at Concord, NC, and how to prepare for this important procedure, contact our gastroenterologists at Northeast Digestive. We are always glad to answer your questions and schedule an appointment!

What happens if I can't drink all the colonoscopy prep?

Proper preparation is essential for a successful colonoscopy. If you're unable to drink all of the colonoscopy prep as instructed, it may result in inadequate bowel cleansing, compromising the accuracy of the procedure.
Your healthcare provider may reschedule the colonoscopy or recommend alternative preparations to ensure thorough cleansing of the colon.

How often should you get a colonoscopy?

The recommended frequency for colonoscopy screening varies depending on individual risk factors, age, and personal or family medical history. In general, average-risk individuals should undergo a screening colonoscopy every 10 years starting at age 45 to 50, while those with higher risk factors may require more frequent screenings.

Are you awake for a colonoscopy?

Most colonoscopies are performed under sedation to ensure patient comfort and relaxation during the procedure. While some individuals may be lightly sedated and awake during the colonoscopy, others may receive deeper sedation or anesthesia to remain asleep throughout the procedure, depending on individual preferences and medical needs.

Can you drive after a colonoscopy?

Due to the sedative effects of anesthesia or sedation medications used during a colonoscopy, you will have to arrange for someone to drive you home afterward. You may feel drowsy, lightheaded, or disoriented for a few hours following the procedure, so driving yourself is not recommended until these effects have worn off.

Do women need colonoscopy?

Yes. Women are at risk for developing colorectal cancer and other conditions that can be detected through colonoscopy. The recommended screening guidelines for colonoscopy apply to both men and women, with screening typically starting at age 45 to 50 for average-risk individuals, although earlier or more frequent screening may be recommended based on individual risk factors and medical history.

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Northeast Digestive Health Center
1070 Vinehaven Drive NE
Concord, North Carolina 28025
Phone: (704)783-1840
Fax: (704)783-1850
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