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What should I bring for my first visit?

To ensure complete and quality check-ups it is important to come prepared with questions for the doctors. If you are suffering from a recurring condition or have questions regarding ailments, it is useful to bring information regarding when your symptoms started, how the symptoms have changed over time and other relevant pieces of information.

You should bring:

  • Your insurance card
  • Driver’s License/State ID
  • A list of the medications, and dosages, you are currently taking
  • A list of any herbs, supplements, vitamins, or homeopathic medicines
  • Pertinent prior medical records including operative and pathology reports, laboratory tests, and hospital discharge summaries.

What is a colonoscopy screening?

Adults should undergo colon cancer screening starting at age 50 or earlier, depending on the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Several tests are currently available, each of which has advantages and disadvantages. The ideal screening test is a colonoscopy screening. A colonoscopy screening is a commonly ordered health examination of the colon. The patient is provided a mild sedative before the procedure. During a colonoscopy, a thin lighted tube is inserted through the rectum allowing the gastroenterologist to view the lining of the rectum and the entire colon. If polyps are discovered, they may be removed as part of the procedure.

What is a polyp? Are they normal?

Polyps are considered an abnormal growth in the lining of the digestive tract. They are usually benign, and they vary in size and structure. Cancer may begin in polyps, so their removal is required to allow pathologists to determine their specific risk.

Will I be uncomfortable during my procedure?

During an endoscopic procedure, the patient is consciously sedated. An anesthesiologist is not necessary for routine colonoscopies or Upper GI Endoscopies. The patient may or may not be awake during the procedure, and frequently upon recovery the patient has no memory of what happened during their procedure. Common sensations are bloating, pressure and cramping as the colon is expanded with air as the endoscope is passed through the colon.

What kind of preparation is necessary for an endoscopy?

Preparation varies depending on your medical history and the type of procedure. For endoscopic examination of the upper digestive tract, food and fluids are withheld for several hours before the procedure. For endoscopic examinations of the colon, a special diet is required for several days in addition to a thorough bowel prep to cleanse your colon prior to the procedure. It is very important to follow your instructions carefully, as an incomplete preparation may require an additional appointment. Please consult our office if you have any questions about preparation.

What are the risks associated with undergoing an endoscopic procedure?

Endoscopies are generally safe. In rare circumstances, a perforation of the digestive tract may occur, which would require surgical repair. Minor bleeding may occur at the site of a polypectomy, but this typically stops on its own or may be controlled by the physician. There could be adverse reactions to the sedatives given for the procedure, but this too is rare.

Severe abdominal pain, fever or rectal bleeding needs to be reported to the physician during the post-procedure recovery period, or if they are experienced within a couple days following an endoscopic procedure.

What is GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which damage to the esophageal, oropharyngeal and laryngeal tissue occurs due to excessive backwashing of gastric contents into the esophagus.

What are the symptoms of GERD?

The typical symptoms of GERD are: burning in the chest (heartburn) and regurgitation of sour or bitter liquid, sometimes mixed with food, to the throat or mouth. Not everyone will display these symptoms, however, they are so indicative of reflux that testing is not usually necessary. Other common symptoms include chest pain, which may simulate cardiac disease, and the feeling of food sticking to the esophagus. Less often GERD may cause throat burning, coughing, asthma, or recurring pulmonary infections (i.e. bronchitis or aspiration pneumonia).

Does everyone who has heartburn have GERD?

Research shows that a large percentage of the U.S. population has occasional symptoms of heartburn. Acid reflux tests using pH probes placed in the esophagus suggest that a limited amount of reflux occurs daily in the majority of individuals. Reflux is only considered a disease when excessive amounts of reflux occur causing frequent symptoms or tissue damage.

What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

IBS is a condition in which symptoms are due to dysfunction of the gut, not a structural problem like cancer. However, it is a real and treatable medical condition. IBS is a chronic disorder that is characterized by recurring abdominal discomfort or pain associated with an altered bowel habit, either constipation, diarrhea or both. Symptoms may come and go over time. IBS is different from routine, occasional constipation or diarrhea. IBS is best defined by what it is NOT:

  • An anatomical or structural problem
  • An identifiable physical or chemical disorder
  • A cancer and will not cause cancer
  • A precursor of other gastrointestinal diseases