Earlier I posted 55 frequently asked questions on colonoscopy. This time I have collated another set of 33 queries which people often ask me. I have tried to be specific and accurate as much as possible. Still, you should consult your doctor before making any decision.
Colonoscopy Facts V 2.0
A Compilation of 33 Colonoscopy FAQ.
Q: Is radiation exposure during virtual colonoscopy safe?
Virtual colonoscopy (also, known as CT Colonography) needs both supine and prone abdominal CT. Each of these processes radiates approximately 8 – 10 mSv. It has very little to no effect on human body. Still, constant exposure may have a negative impact and even lead to cancer.
If the bowel preparation is not clean, it may require repeating the process. And, it’s the most common issue with the conventional procedure in which the risk increases.
Virtual colonoscopy is useful for screening the colon cancer. Doctors suggest going with the regular procedure for confirmation if they find anything suspicious. You may need to perform Biopsy also for further evidence.
Q: How reliable is a Virtual process vs. a Conventional one?
As discussed, the virtual process is for screening purpose only. In this process, doctors create a 3D image of lower abdomen with CT Scan.
Whereas, the conventional process is done to confirm the presence of polyps or cancer cells.
Q: Can someone with Crohn’s disease have a colonoscopy?
The portion of GI track has inflammation are prone to grow Pre-cancerous cells. Hence, people with Crohn’s colitis have the maximum risk of colon cancer. Crohn’s colitis is a type of Crohn’s disease that impacts the colon.
The study shows, Crohn’s colitis can increase the chance of colon cancer by 13 times. Even ileocolitis that affects the small intestine and colon increases the risk of colon cancer by 4.6 times.
In the case where only the small intestine is affected by Crohn’s disease, the risk of colon cancer is much lesser.
So, yes, if you have Crohn’s disease you should go for the process.
Q: Tapeworm: Is a colonoscopy a better option to diagnose than stool sample test?
Doctors can diagnose Tapeworm only with symptoms. A simple stool sample test can confirm it. You need not go with colon test.
Q: Can endoscopy and colonoscopy detect typhoid bacteria in intestines?
To detect a bacteria, you need a microscope. The process cannot identify any typhoid bacteria.
Q: What is a Partial Colonoscopy?
It is also known as Sigmoidoscopy. Process-wise it may be similar to standard one, but the later is much more accurate at diagnosis.
Sigmoidoscopy is the process to check the inner lining of the rectum and the lower part of the colon. Doctors suggest it when they suspect specific digestive tract problems, such as severe abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or sudden changes in bowel habits.
Q: Are larger cancer cells removed during colonoscopy?
Yes, the large colon polyps are removed during the process. Polyps bigger than 1 cm (0.4 in.) are more likely to be adenomatous or may contain cancer cells.
Sigmoidoscopy also can be done to remove those big polyps.
Q: Is persistent abdominal pain requires a colonoscopy?
You can go ahead, but before that, your doctor must find out the actual reason.
There might be several reasons for persistent abdominal pain. Most common are bloody stools with pus, diarrhea, new constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or even an intestinal muscle cramp.
Q: What is a Retroflexion/retroflection?
Retroflexion or retroflection is used to enhance detection of polyps in the distal rectum, the part of the left colon. It depicts a method where the colonoscope bends backward to examine the colon.
Using Retroflexion method on the right side of the colon is often safe. It is highly efficient while detecting additional pre-cancerous polyps. As per the study, about 94.4 percent patients were found with 4.4 percent of additional polyps not found during the conventional process.
Q: Can you eat jolly ranchers during Prep?
Yes, you can eat jolly ranchers during prep.
Q: Can I eat apple sauce before a colonoscopy?
Yes, it’s OK to consume apple sauce.
You should consume semisolids only till 12 hours before the process, not after that.
Q: How does intestinal flora change after a colonoscopy?
The process requires total cleaning of intestinal tracks. There is the possibility that intestinal flora gets affected by the process. In such cases, doctors suggest a full course of prebiotics.
Q: Is it ok to fly long haul the day after a colonoscopy?
It is OK to fly if you don’t have any pain.
Sitting for a long time at one place (for long trips) may increase the pain. Besides, you need to take care of gas-bursts that may be uncomfortable for co-passengers.
Q: Will smoking medical cannabis during Prep cause any complications?
Normally it should not.
But it may affect the effect of anesthesia. Most important is, to be honest with your physicians, mainly the Anesthesia provider, as your health safety may depend on it.
Q: Can I drink soda the day before the procedure?
Consuming soda or any other transparent drink is OK.
Read more about Colonoscopy Prep here.
Q: If you have fissures should you go for a colonoscopy?
You don’t require the colon process for fissures treatment.
For other colon related issues, tell the doctor about your fissures. He will ensure appropriate anesthesia so that you will feel no pain.
Q: Does colonoscopy Prep interfere with medication absorption or effectiveness?
No, it does not. Though it may affect post procedure.
You should let your doctor know whatever medication you are taking. It’s essential as it will help him to decide your medicines pre & post process.
Q: Can Colonic irrigation be used during colonoscopy prep?
Yes, patients can do it but of course, after consulting with your doctor.
Q: Why do doctors ask about the condition of your heart, lungs, and blood pressure before a colonoscopy?
Those are standard queries doctors ask before any medical procedure. If any issue arises during or after the process, they will be able to handle it properly.
During Prep patients need to consume a significant amount of water (more than 2 liters). It can accelerate an episode of heart failure due to a sudden increase of fluid.
COPD and Asthma patients may risk of having respiratory problems. It can make the situation more complicated during anesthesia application. These patients are monitored closely for respiratory insufficiency or a respiratory arrest that may develop during the process.
Blood pressure issues:
Patients with ischemic heart disease and blood vessels problems often use blood thinners. Your doctor should know this to minimize the risks of bleeding.
Those patients are on aspirin-like platelet aggregation inhibitors are even a more significant problem. Stopping them may increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Q: What are the risks of having stomach cramps after a colonoscopy?
Approximately 5-10 percent patients experience stomach cramps and abdominal pains. It may happen due to Trapped Gas, Tearing and Perforation of the colon, Pain After Polyp Removal or injuries outside of the colon.
You should reach your physician immediately if the pain is intolerable.
Q: How can you treat abdominal pain after the procedure?
As explained above, it can be for many reasons. Most of the cases painkiller or muscle relaxants work well. If the pain persists, contact your doctor immediately.
Q: Can a person who is in Xarelto have a colonoscopy done?
First, make sure your gastroenterologist knows that you’re on Xarelto ( an anticoagulant drug). You should inform about every medicine you take.
It is OK to go for the procedure if it is for observation only. In case of biopsies and polyp removal, extra care should be taken. Doctors suggest stopping Xarelto 2 days before the procedure.
Q: Is it dangerous for a heart bypass patient to have a colonoscopy?
Technically NO. But if you are taking any anticoagulant or blood thinner, extra caution should be made. Please read above answer.
Q: Why can’t I eat fruits and vegetables during colonoscopy prep?
Most of the fruits and vegetables contain high fiber that may interfere with proper bowl preparation. In raw fruits and vegetables, it is available in high concentration. That’s why doctors suggest avoiding whole grains, seeds, dried fruit, nuts, or raw fruits or vegetables during Prep.
You can drink the clear fruit juice like apple and white grape.
Q: Can a colonoscopy be performed safely with an indirect inguinal hernia?
There are different types of a hernia. It purely depends on how much amount of colon present in a hernia. If it has a very small presence in it, like in case of an indirect hernia, the process could be done without any issue. A massive hernia with much more colon in it would not be advisable for the procedure.
It requires proper analysis of the size before deciding. Please consult your doctor.
Q: Why do I have no bowel movement after my colonoscopy?
Entire bowl is cleaned during the process. It takes some time before the body restores all functionality back to normal.
If you had constipation earlier, you would need a stool softener.
Do not use any laxative post-procedure as it may create stress in your colon.
Q: How long does it take to normalize bowel movement after my colonoscopy?
The timeline differs from patient to patient. It is normal for your bowels to be “sluggish” post process. It may take days before you experience what was normal.
Start a regular diet or the diet suggested by the doctor. For uncomplicated cases, you can start eating common foods after few hours. Read this to learn what to eat after colonoscopy.
You should drink lots of liquids and eat easy to digest foods. It may take few days before peristalsis, or the colon contractions that move the stool out of the body to normalize. Go for a brisk walk if possible. It helps with proper digestion.
Eat small meals instead of eating all food at a time.
Q: Can I get a colonoscopy if I have impaired but untreated kidneys?
Yes, you can go for it.
The foremost concern is to use a prep technique that is harmless for the kidney. It is a sensitive part of human body, and even a low volume preparation can be toxic to the kidneys.
For patients with renal impairment, doctors recommend a colon flush.
Q: Can I eat some cheese the day before a colonoscopy?
No, you should not eat cheese during prep.
It is crucial that the colon should be clean. Otherwise, the doctor may ask you to repeat the prep. It’s better to avoid tough to digest foods.
Q: Can I do a CEA antigen test instead of a colonoscopy?
CEA antigen test is not 100 percent accurate and precise. Colonoscopy is the gold standard for detecting and eliminating colon growth or cancer. The result of it will decide the route for further treatment.
Q: Why do I have a lot of gas after a colonoscopy?
During the process, air is pumped inside the colon to hold it inflated so that doctor can have a clean image. The air resides inside, and after the process, it turns to gas.
It may take 12-24 hours to normalize the situation.
Q: Is it risky for a person with extremely low blood pressure?
There should not be any problem. Inform your doctor about it in advance. He’ll take proper measures during prep and procedure.
Please reply on this post if you have more query, clarification or rectification.