Abdominal problems such as bloatedness, reflux symptoms, and changes in bowel habits such as blood-stained stools need to be investigated for underlying diseases involving the stomach and/or colon respectively. The primary screening modality is endoscopy of the stomach and colon which is offered at our practice.
What is Gastric & Colorectal Screening?
- Endoscopy is a physical examination of body cavities using long and flexible telescopes attached to video monitors. When done to examine the stomach, by inserting the scope through the mouth, it is called a gastroscopy. When done to examine the colon and rectum, by inserting the scope through the anus, it is called a colonoscopy.
- Endoscopies are most commonly used to screen and identify certain conditions or disorders, but it can also be used to treat internal bleeding, conduct biopsies, remove polyps as well as detect and treat stomach/colon cancers.
- How is it done? For a gastroscopy, the procedure takes about 10-15 mins. You will be requested to fast for about 6 hours prior to the procedure. Once the procedure has begun, you will be asked to lie on your side, while an intravenous sedative is given to you. Upon taking effect, the scope will be gently inserted through the mouth and down the esophagus, until it reaches the stomach.
- For a colonoscopy, the procedure takes about 30 mins and is done under the influence of sedatives. You will be required to have a low residue diet prior to the procedure and will also be given laxatives to help clean the region for a better reading. Upon sedation, air will be used to bloat the bowels for a clearer colonoscopy, after which the scope will be passed through the anus, into the colon.
Who is it For?
A gastroscopy may be recommended to you if you happen to experience any of the following:
- Abdominal pain or discomfort that is persistent
- Difficulties related to swallowing or vomiting
- Symptoms of heartburn or reflux
- Indigestion and/or bloating after meals
- Passing of black stools
- Loss of appetite or weight
A colonoscopy may be recommended to you if you happen to experience any of the following:
- Persistent abdominal pain or discomfort
- Changes in bowel habits, like constipation or diarrhoea
- Mucus or blood traces in stools
What is the Pre- and post Procedure requirements?
- Before the procedure, you may be asked to fast for a few hours or limit yourself to a low residue diet. For colonoscopies, you will be given a laxative as well, to ensure clean readings are obtained.
- After the procedure, you will be given a light snack while you fully recover from the effects of the endoscopy. It is not recommended to drive back home after the treatment due to the sedatives involved, and hence would be a good idea to have someone accompany you to and from the hospital.
- Before you leave, you will be monitored by the doctor and will also be detailed about the findings of the procedure.