Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland

Gastroenterologists located in New City, NY

You may be hesitant to get a colonoscopy, but this routine test provides your doctor with a lot of valuable information. At Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland in New City, New York, the team of specialists performs colonoscopies to screen for colon cancer and diagnose a range of digestive symptoms. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone.

Colonoscopy Q & A

What is a colonoscopy?

During a colonoscopy, your doctor looks at the inside of your colon using a long, flexible tube with a camera at the end called a colonoscope. The most common purpose for a colonoscopy is to screen for colon cancer.

Your doctor may also recommend a colonoscopy to investigate unexplained symptoms including:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss

A colonoscopy can detect polyps, growths that sometimes become cancerous, as well as ulcers and tumors. If your doctor discovers any abnormalities, they may take a biopsy, or tissue sample, to aid their diagnosis. 

Your doctor can also use the colonoscope to treat symptoms like intestinal bleeding and to remove polyps.

If you have an inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, your doctor may order regular colonoscopies to monitor your condition and see how you’re responding to treatment.

How often should I get a colonoscopy?

Regular colonoscopies are the best way to screen for colon cancer. A colonoscopy can detect and treat the earliest signs of the disease well before it becomes dangerous.

Your doctor recommends a screening schedule based on your risk of developing colon cancer. If you’re not at any heightened risk of developing colon cancer, you should start getting screened every 10 years starting at age 50. 

Your doctor may recommend getting screened more often and beginning at a younger age if you have risk factors including:

  • A family history of colon cancer or polyps 
  • A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease
  • A personal history of polyps or other abnormal growths 

Be sure to let your doctor know if you have any concerns with digestive symptoms. Your doctor may recommend a diagnostic colonoscopy to find out what’s causing them.

How do I prepare for a colonoscopy?

To prepare for your colonoscopy, you need to clear out your bowels so your doctor can clearly view the inside of your colon. Steps to prepare for your colonoscopy may include:

  • Fasting and drinking only clear liquid the day before the procedure 
  • Avoiding high-fiber foods for a few days leading up to the procedure
  • Taking a laxative the evening before the procedure

You’re sedated during your colonoscopy, which allows you to relax and not feel pain. Because of the effects of sedation, it’s unsafe to drive after a colonoscopy, so be sure to arrange for a ride home. You can plan to go back to work the day after the colonoscopy.

Schedule a colonoscopy at Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland online or over the phone.