Frequently Asked Questions
Unfortunately, there are no specific symptoms of a pre-cancerous polyp or even an early colon cancer. People who wait to undergo colon cancer screening until they develop symptoms, such as rectal bleeding or abdominal pain, are more likely to have an advanced colon cancer.
To put it another way, colon cancer screening via colonoscopy is a preventative exam, like screening for high blood pressure or high cholesterol to avoid heart disease and strokes. Ideally, you should undergo colon cancer screening BEFORE symptoms develop to find pre-cancerous polyps early, remove them, and decrease your future risk of colon cancer. Research shows that colonoscopy not only decreases the risk of getting colon cancer but also a person’s overall chance of dying from colon cancer.
You can also add sugar-free flavor additives (like Crystal Light) to the solution BUT avoid any red/purple colors (which look like blood in the colon) and test the flavor in one glass of the prep before adding it to the entire container (to make sure you like the flavor).
With the use of CO2, it is unusual to have severe pain after a colonoscopy. If you have pain, it is generally safe to take low doses of acetaminophen (Tylenol) for the pain. If you develop severe pain, you can either call our office during normal business hours or proceed directly to a local emergency department.
There is generally no significant discomfort during scope withdrawal, so it is not unusual to avoid giving additional medications to patients who begin waking up during scope withdrawal. This means that you may have fuzzy memories of the end of your colonoscopy but will also be ready to go home after the procedure sooner.
For this reason, we suggest that your escort be available to talk with the physician after the procedure, though – in some cases – patients prefer that their escort not know the results of their procedure.
- Plan to be near a bathroom while drinking your colon prep
- The prep may be easier to tolerate if it is slightly chilled and swallowed via a straw
- It may take you longer than expected to have your first bowel movement
- In addition to the prep, you should drink additional clear liquids, especially if your first bowel movement is taking longer than you expect
- If you get nauseous while drinking the prep, drink it slowly and allow more time
- If the skin around your anus gets irritated from repeated wiping, coat it with Vaseline or bag balm-type products and use wet wipes instead of toilet paper
- The goal is to have clear/see-through, yellow-tinged output (similar to urine) with no brown or solid components