Why is a colonoscopy so important?

A colonoscopy lets your doctor see the lining of your large intestine (rectum and colon). Using a thin flexible tube (endoscope), your doctor can look inside your colon for problems such as swelling, tumors or growths (polyps). If your GI doctor thinks an area of the lining needs to be looked at more closely, he will take a small piece of tissue (biopsy) and send it to the lab to be examined. If the doctor finds polyps on the lining of the colon, they may be removed. Polyps vary in size from a tiny dot to several inches. Most polyps are non-cancerous but the doctor cannot tell a non-cancerous polyp from a cancerous one by its appearance. For this reason, if the doctor removes a polyp, it is sent to the lab for further tests. Removal of polyps is important in preventing colon cancer.

What is a colon cancer screening?

“Screening” is a term used to describe a test for the early diagnosis of common cancers, ordered before symptoms develop. For patients with no family history of colon cancer, the American Cancer Society’s current recommendation is to have your first colonoscopy at age 45. However, insurance coverage may not be available until age 50. Be sure to check with your insurance company in advance.

How long does a colonoscopy take?

Most colonoscopies take 30 minutes to an hour. You will be asked to arrive 1 hour prior to your procedure, so your total time will be around 1.5 to 2 hours.

Will a colonoscopy hurt?

No, a colonoscopy is not painful at all. Patients are sedated with anesthesia, so they won’t feel a thing!

Will I need to miss work?

Yes. Because the procedure will be done with anesthesia or sedation, you will not be fit to return to work until the following day.

Will I be in a private room?

Colonoscopies performed at our Center are always done in a private room with no other patients around. Our GI doctors and nurses are professional and remain dedicated to respecting our patients’ privacy.

Will I need someone to drive me home?

Yes. Due to the type of anesthesia or sedation that is given during your procedure, our endoscopy centers require that you bring a responsible adult to stay during your procedure and drive you home afterwards. Please note: Regulatory agencies require our facilities to discharge all patients with a responsible adult driver. If you do not have a responsible adult driver with you, your procedure will be canceled.

Doctor said drink clear liquids, is coffee considered a clear liquid?

Yes. Coffee and tea with sugar, but no creamer or anything to cloud them, are considered clear liquids. Water, soda, non-pulpy juice, jello, clear soup (broth, consommé, etc) and popsicles are also clear liquids. Milk or cream are NOT.

How long will it take to get my prescription refill?

Please allow 24 to 48 hours for prescription refills.

Do I need to contact the insurance company before the procedure?

Yes. Although our Patient Accounting Department will contact your insurance company for precertification requirements and coverage information, we do recommend that you verify your coverage to ensure that your insurance company has your current information on file.

Can I take my medication the day of the EGD (upper GI endoscopy)?

If you are taking medications for heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety or seizure disorders, you will typically be advised to take these the day of your procedure unless otherwise instructed by your physician. Once your procedure is completed, you will receive additional instructions at discharge involving medications and diet. Our gastroenterologist are happy to answer any questions you may have about post-procedure care!

What is the difference between an upper endoscopy and a colonoscopy?

An upper endoscopy is used to diagnose the digestive tract in a nonsurgical procedure (also called upper endoscopy, EGD, asendoscopy, or esophagogastroduodenoscopy). A colonoscopy is a specific type of endoscopy used to assess the lower part of the digestive tract, including the rectum and large intestine or colon. Your gastroenterologist can help answer any other questions you may have about the difference between the two.

What is the difference between an upper endoscopy and a capsule endoscopy?

During your upper endoscopy, you will be placed on your side and your gastroenterologist will pass an endoscope through your mouth. The endoscope will travel through your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum, without disrupting your breathing. Innovative technology even allows your GI specialist to insert instruments into the scope to collect a tissue sample if a polyp or abnormality is detected.

The capsule endoscopy procedure, in contrast, utilizes a pill-sized capsule camera. Once swallowed, the tiny camera travels through your digestive tract, transmitting images along the way. This gives your GI specialist a unique view that can be utilized to detect and diagnose any concerns.

What is the difference between a gastrologist and gastroenterologist?

Gastrology is the study of the stomach and the conditions that affect it. The proper term for the doctor who specializes in digestive disorders, however, is gastroenterologist.

How do I find a good gastroenterologist?

While you do not need a referral to schedule an appointment at Charleston GI, many patients trust their general physician/primary care doctor to recommend the right specialist. You can also do some research of your own, considering doctors’ experience, education, special credentials, etc.

When should I see a gastroenterologist?

If you are experiencing any unpleasant GI symptoms, don’t suffer in silence! Schedule an appointment with one of our gastroenterologists today. Great care – and symptom relief – is just around the corner.

What will the gastroenterologist do on the first visit?

During your first visit, your gastroenterologist will ask about your symptoms – their severity, triggers, persistence, etc. This information, as well as the findings of your physical exam, will be used to help your gastroenterologist reach an accurate diagnosis.

What questions will my gastroenterologist ask me?

Your gastroenterologist will ask questions about your symptoms, such as:

• Where is the pain?
• Does the pain move around or change?
• When did your symptoms start?
• How long do symptoms usually last?
• Have you noticed any triggers?
• Do you have a family history of GI issues?
• Have you had any serious illnesses or surgeries

Can I see a gastroenterologist without a referral?

Yes! You do not need a referral to schedule an appointment at Charleston GI with our stomach doctors.

Is a gastroenterologist covered by insurance?

Check with your insurance company to find out more about coverage. Here at Charleston GI, we accept Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances. For a list of in-network insurance companies, click here.

What tests will a gastroenterologist do?

Depending on your condition/symptoms, your GI specialist may recommend one of the following tests:

• Endoscopy
• Colonoscopy
• Barium swallow
• Blood test
• Stool test or stool culture
• X-ray or CT scan

What does a Gastroenterologist do?

A stomach doctor, or gastroenterologist, is specially trained to diagnose and treat digestive conditions, such as the following: constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis and more. GI doctors also provide potentially life-saving screenings for diseases like colon cancer.

What do you call a doctor who specializes in the stomach?

A medical doctor who specializes in stomach and digestive conditions is called a gastroenterologist. They may also be referred to as GI doctors or GI specialists.

Can doctors test for a stomach virus?

GI specialists often diagnose viral gastroenteritis (the stomach flu) based on symptoms and a quick physical exam.

What can a Gastroenterologist do for stomach ulcers?

Treatment for stomach ulcers is often based on their cause. Your GI specialists may recommend lifestyle changes, like avoiding alcohol and aspirin and quitting smoking. Medications that block acid and protect the lining of the stomach can be effective too. Surgery is also an option if stomach ulcers do not respond to other treatments.

Can a Gastroenterologist feel a stomach tumor?

In most cases, your stomach doctor can feel an abdominal mass associated with a tumor during your physical exam. The mass may also be accompanied by pain, an enlarged stomach or unexplained weight loss.

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