- Why do I need a colonoscopy?
- What are the risks for a colonoscopy?
- How do I prepare for my colonoscopy?
- What should I expect when having a colonoscopy?
- What do my colonoscopy results mean?
- Factors that may affect your colonoscopy and what to know about the procedure
- I have some more questions regarding my colonoscopy…
Factors that may affect your colonoscopy and what to know about the procedure
What factors can affect the colonoscopy?
There are a number of reasons why you may not have the test performed or have results that are inconclusive. These contributing factors may include:
- Having had a barium enema done within the week before your test can impact your doctor’s view of your colon and result in inconclusive results. The injection of a barium solution into your rectum for this procedure is vital for an X-ray of the colon but can adversely impact the results of a colonoscopy as it can block the view of the colon. It is therefore always advisable to disclose all previous medical procedures to your doctor before any further ones are scheduled.
- Not performing an adequate colon cleanse or colon prep before your test can impact the colonoscopy. If you have any stool, also known as faeces left in your colon after the prep, then the colonoscopy may be cancelled and rescheduled once a proper colon prep is completed. Stool in the colon can block the view and visual your doctor has and can cover any abnormalities that need to be detected.
- Due to the number of corners and turns in your colon, pain may be experienced during the procedure as the colonoscope goes around these corners (this is generally only if you are conscious during the procedure), or if you have had previous colon surgery.
- Taking any iron supplements before the exam can result in your stool turning black and this can make it extremely difficult to clear out your colon of stool. It is best not to any iron supplements in the first week leading up to the test.
- Drinking purple or red liquids such as fruit punch or grape juice as these can be mistaken as blood in the colon.
- Eating purple or red foods such as cherries or strawberries, gelatine or grape flavoured lollypops.
What to know and think about regarding your colonoscopy
The below list is a few things that should be taken into consideration regarding a colonoscopy:
- If you are pregnant or have an abdominal infection, this normally means you should not have a colonoscopy, unless your doctor has a vital health reason as to why he or she should perform one.
- It is important to know that a colonoscopy when compared to another endoscopic colon text, for example, a sigmoidoscopy (which only examines the lower part of the colon), is more expensive. In most cases, your healthcare insurance will cover it if it is done for a specific purpose vital for your health. It is best to speak to your insurance company regarding this procedure and what is covered before scheduling it.
- Most experts suggest that a testing schedule is created for colon cancer screening wherein you will have the exam done more frequently if you have a high risk of colon cancer. Speak to your doctor about your risks and whether he or she should create a schedule for you in order to detect any abnormalities and monitor your colon.
- There are other tests available that are able to screen for colon cancer, these include:
- Stool tests
- Sigmoidoscopy – Just to recap, this is an endoscopy done of the lower portion of your colon, therefore less area of the colon is covered during this procedure.
- Computed tomographic colonography – This test, which is also known as a virtual colonoscopy (we will get into more detail about that in the next section), uses a specialised X-ray machine to examine the colon and produces detailed images in doing so.
- The screening test that you choose is dependent on your preference, risk and of course, what your doctor recommends, as he/she will know, in light of your full medical history, what is best for you and your current state of health.