What is a colonoscopy?

Large intestine is also called colon, therefore colonoscopy refers to a test used to view the inner lining of the large intestine.

Colonoscopy is often used as a screening test for colonic or rectal polyps and cancers. Colonic polyps are growths that if left untreated may turn into cancers. If a polyp is found during colonoscopy, it’s usually removed during the same procedure. Colonoscopy is also performed if there are other symptoms (discussed below). Cancer screening tests are done to find any cancerous growths before symptoms appear, as they’re smaller and easier to cure at this stage.

There are several other tests to screen for colon cancer too, however most doctors recommend colonoscopy as the best one.

When should I have colon cancer screening?

Colon screening is recommended to start by age 50. People with a strong family history or certain associated medical issues might be at increased risk of developing colon cancer and should start getting screened at a younger age.

What are other reasons for colonoscopy?

Other than looking for suspected colon cancer, colonoscopy can also be advised in patients with:

  • Blood in stools
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Anaemia
  • Long term unexplained abdominal or rectal pain
  • Abnormal results in any other colon related test
  • History of colon polyps or cancer

What should I do before a colonoscopy?

Bowel Preparation Instructions for Colonoscopy.

It is important to ensure bowel preparation is complete prior to colonoscopy, this will ensure thorough examination of the colon and rectum. Please follow the instructions below.

Colonoscopy is performed with sedative medications, you will not be aware of the procedure. You cannot drive soon after the procedure, make arrangements to have someone to drive you home.

Low Fiber Diet-3 days priorClear Fluids (See through liquid)1day prior
White bread & flour Water
Boiled/steamed chicken/fish Soup - Clear or strained broth only
Plain boiled rice/pastaWater Clear juice - No pulp, not cloudy
Boiled/mashed potatoes/carrots/pumpkin/squash Black coffee or tea
Moderate dairy products Cordial/Powerade: clear,lemon/lime but notred/green/blue/purple
Cottage cheese Jelly but notred/green/blue/purple
Plain milk drinks No milk nor Alcohol
Soya milk
Plain cakes/biscuits
Stewed apples/pears

Do nottake any fiber based laxatives such as Psyllium husk, Psyllium seeds, Metamucil, Fibrogel, Normafibe, Benefiber, Nucolox, Nulax, Coloxyl,

7days prior to colonoscopy

Medications such as Aspirin, Clopidogrel (Plavix, Iscover), Warfarin may need to be stopped, if unsure please contact Dr.Alzubaidy’s office on 5594 9496Iron tablets or supplement need to be stopped Please continue all other medication as usual, including on the day of the colonoscopy.In case of diabetes, specific instructions will be provided either by Dr Alzubaidy’soffice, your endocrinologist specialist or our diabetic educator.

3 days prior to colonoscopy

Commence low fiber diet (as above), avoid seeded bread, vegetable skins, seeds, nuts, peas, beans, tomatoes and grapes.

1 day prior to colonoscopy

Clear fluids only, clear Sport drinks are good for hydration.Take your PicoPrep as the following times depending on your procedure time

Morning proceduresAfternoon procedures
First sachet 3 pm First sachet 3 pm
Second sachet 5 pm Second sachet 5 pm
Third sachet 7-8 pm Third sachet 7 am of the procedure day
PicoPrep instructions

  • Mix one sachet of PicoPrep in 1 large glass (250 mls) of warm water, chill in the fridge before drink. Follow by 2 glasses of water. Try to drink as much as possible, at least 500mls of water or clear fluids. Your bowels will start to move in 1 to 2 hours, in some patients, the bowels may not move for a few hours, continue with the second sachet.
  • The aim is for clear yellow waterybowel motions with no solid stools.
  • To avoid dehydration, follow the instructions above.
  • Use moist toilet paper wipes or baby wipes to reduce soreness from cleaning.
  • Stop oral fluids 4 hours prior to your procedure time

Do Not

  • Drive yourself to hospital.
  • Bring valuables with you to hospital such as cash, mobile phone or jewelry
  • Smoke 24 hours before the procedure
  • Do the followings for 24 hours after your procedure

  1. Drink any alcohol
  2. Drive a car, ride a motor bike or bicycle
  3. Operate hazardous machinery, heavy manual work or lifting
  4. Engage in sports
  5. Make any important decisions such as signing contracts or important papers

What happens during a colonoscopy?

At the beginning of the procedure, your doctor will make you relax by giving you some medicine followed by inserting a thin tube along with a camera with a light through anus into the rectum and colon. This allows view of the inner lining of the colon.

Depending upon your case, the doctor might take small tissue samples from inside the colon (biopsy) and send them to the pathologist for examination under the microscope for any signs of cancer. The doctor may also clear any growths within the colon during the procedure. The patient doesn't feel the biopsy or growth removal.

What happens after a colonoscopy?

Usually you’ll return to your normal routine after the colonoscopy. However, discuss in detail with your doctor about any lifestyle changes or care needed after the procedure in your case. It’s recommended that you don’t drive or go to work on the same day after the procedure and give your body complete rest along with taking any medications prescribed by the doctor.

When should I call my doctor?

You should consult your doctor if you’re having any abnormal symptoms including:

  • Abdominal pain, worse than routine bloating or cramps
  • Hard and bloated belly
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Lot of bleeding from the anus