Who Should Schedule a Colonoscopy? 

Posted By Author on August 25, 2022

A colonoscopy is a powerful prevention tool, but the procedure itself is quite simple. Your Charleston gastroenterology specialist will perform your colonoscopy, checking for signs of cancer as well as other changes in your large intestine and rectum. Read on to learn more about who should schedule a colonoscopy (colorectal screening) – and when!

Charleston GI makes it easy, with three conveniently-located endoscopy centers to best serve you.

Gastroenterologist examining who should schedule a colonoscopy for GI conditions

What is Colorectal Screening?

A colorectal cancer screening test is performed on patients who are not experiencing any symptoms, used as a method of prevention. Diagnostic tests, on the other hand, are performed on those who have shown symptoms of colorectal cancer. 

Your GI specialist will check for precancerous polyps or abnormal growths in your colon or rectum. These polyps may be biopsied to check for cancerous cells to determine if they could potentially turn into colon cancer in the future. Because colorectal cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps, colonoscopies can catch a life-threatening disease in its early stages.

When Should I Have A Colonoscopy Screening?

So just who should schedule a colonoscopy? Undoubtedly, it is time to schedule your colonoscopy at Charleston GI if you exhibit any of the following risk factors:

  • Age 45 or older
    The latest guidance from the American Cancer Society recommends colonoscopies for people 45 and over. If you are at an average risk, be sure to get screened every ten years after that. While stool tests and other screenings are available, colonoscopies remain the most effective way to prevent colorectal cancer.
  • Family history of colorectal cancer
    If a member of your family developed colon cancer, your GI specialist may recommend a colorectal screening before age 45.
  • Intestinal discomfort
    In addition to detecting colorectal cancer, a colonoscopy is also performed to diagnose the cause of abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, rectal bleeding and other GI issues. Be sure to describe the type of pain you are experiencing to help your doctor provide an accurate diagnosis.
  • Symptoms of colorectal cancer
    If you are showing these symptoms of colorectal cancer, your Charleston gastroenterology specialist will recommend a colonoscopy to learn more about your condition:
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Dark-colored stools
  • Blood in your stool
  • Diarrhea or constipation lasting several days
  • Narrow stools
  • Abdominal cramps or pain
  • Unintended weight loss

  • Treatment for a GI condition
    Sometimes GI doctors perform colonoscopies to treat an ongoing issue, perhaps placing a stent or removing an object from the colon.

How Should I Prepare for My Colonoscopy?

Your GI specialist will provide specific instructions, so be sure to follow them carefully. These pre-procedure instructions will likely look like this:

Three days before a colonoscopy:

  • Eat a low-fiber diet.
  • Stop taking any fiber supplements.
  • Skip any anti-diarrheal medications

Two days before: 

Continue eating low-fiber foods.

One day before: 

Do not eat solid foods and go on a clear liquid diet. Stick to the following:

  • Water
  • Soda
  • Black coffee (without cream or milk)
  • Tea (without cream or milk)
  • Sports drinks with electrolytes 
  • Apple juice
  • Honey
  • Flavored gelatin
  • Clear broth

The night before: 

Drink the bowel prep solution as instructed.

Because you may feel groggy after your procedure, remember to arrange a ride home. Your Charleston gastroenterology specialist will provide specific discharge instructions, so be sure to follow them! It may take two or three days to have a bowel movement, but if any discomfort or digestive issues persist, contact your GI specialist.

Schedule Your Appointment with Charleston GI Today – No Referral Needed!

Charleston GI is proud to provide a higher standard of caring to patients throughout the Lowcountry. We have four conveniently-located offices in West Ashley, Mount Pleasant, Summerville and Carnes Crossroads – plus three endoscopy centers!

There’s no referral needed, so schedule your colonoscopy at Charleston GI today! 

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