Abdominal and intestinal health issues are more prevalent as high stress, sedentary lifestyles and obesity have become increasingly common. Digestive disorders have especially increased in men and women over the age of 40. Instead of seeing a specialist, many are reverting to self-medicating with over the counter solutions. This may ease symptoms temporarily, but the root of the issue cannot be resolved without an expert opinion. If you are experiencing symptoms for more than three days, you may have a gastrointestinal disorder, or worse.
Colon cancer is asymptomatic, meaning symptoms often do not occur until the cancer worsens. Therefore, early detection is essential. Colorectal cancer is screened by a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy checks the large intestine for polyps, which may become cancerous as they grow larger. Polyps are detected by a certified physician who inserts an endoscope, a thin, flexible tube attached to a miniature camera, through the rectum.
Depending on your symptoms, age, and medical history, a physician may recommend an upper endoscopy for early detection. An gastroscopy is a nonsurgical procedure that examines the digestive tract using an endoscope, a thin, flexible tube with a camera and a light at the end, inserted through the throat. If cancer was detected via colonoscopy, a gastroscopy may be performed to see if, and how far the cancer has spread. Gastroscopies are capable of showing more detailed images, collecting tissue samples, as well as removing or destroying cancer. Colonoscopy and gastroscopy are used together to identify, monitor and treat colon cancer.
Colonoscopy and gastroscopy preparations are very similar. Before the screening, colonoscopy patients are advised to cleanse using the directed over the counter liquid to clean out the large intestine for a more accurate exam. Patients should not eat solid food the night before their exam, with the exception of light broths and water. Gastroscopy patients are not permitted to eat or drink for six or more hours before the exam. Your doctor may also give you a laxative to clear your system for a more accurate exam. Gastroscopy is typically conducted with conscious sedation, using just a numbing spray prior to the procedure, however your doctor may use anesthesia, based on what is best for your health.
Anesthesia may be used for a colonoscopy and gastroscopy, so it’s wise to arrange your ride home. The average colonoscopy procedure lasts between twenty minutes to an hour. Gastroscopies average fifteen to thirty minutes, with an additional hour or two for recovery. Patients can expect their gastroscopy results while they are in recovery, unless a biopsy was conducted which requires a few days for lab results. Colonoscopy results are available one to two weeks after the procedure.
A regular colonoscopy cycle for polyp-free patients, without family history of colon cancer, is every ten years until age 75. If multiple polyps were found, a colonoscopy may be required every three years.
Regardless of how frequently you need a colonoscopy and gastroscopy, it’s important for your procedure to be as relaxing and pleasant as possible. For expert, quality care, trust the colonoscopy and gastroscopy experts at North Texas Endoscopy Centers.