Digestive Disease Clinic
Charles A. Obioha, MD
Gastroenterologist Located in Rockville, MD
When you have unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting, or experience sudden weight loss or anemia, you may need a colonoscopy. At Digestive Disease Clinic, with locations in Rockville, Silver Spring, and Bowie, Maryland, Dr. Charles Obioha offers expert colonoscopy procedures to screen for signs of colon cancer and other lower gastrointestinal tract disorders. Call to schedule an appointment online today for a potentially life-saving health screening.
Colonoscopy Q & A
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic procedure used to look for abnormal tissue or growths in your colon. Your colon, a six-foot-long, tube-like organ that removes water from your waste, is part of your lower digestive tract.
A colonoscopy is performed with a device called a colonoscope. It’s a long, thin tube that’s inserted into your rectum and colon. The tube has a light and a camera on its tip that sends images and video back to a monitor in the treatment room. The images allow Dr. Obioha to examine your colon closely without having to open your body in surgery.
Why should I schedule a colonoscopy?
There are a variety of reasons you should have a colonoscopy. They’re an essential tool for screening for colorectal cancer. It’s recommended you should start having colon cancer screenings when you reach age 45. Additionally, you should schedule a colonoscopy if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Unexplained anemia
- Changes in bowel movement consistency
- Severe or chronic diarrhea
- Blood in your stool
- Unexplained weight loss
- Personal or family history of polyps or colon cancer
- Colitis or other inflammatory conditions
If you’re having any of these symptoms, call or schedule an appointment with Dr. Obioha.
How should I prepare for a colonoscopy?
The team at Digestive Disease Clinic gives you specific instructions on how to prepare for your colonoscopy. In general, you’ll need to fast for several hours before your procedure. You may need to take a laxative or be given a preparation kit to clear your bowel. These steps help ensure Dr. Obioha has an unobstructed view of your colon during your procedure.
What should I expect during a colonoscopy?
After a careful medical assessment, your doctor has recommended that you have a colonoscopy. During a colonoscopy, a flexible video fiber-optic tube (colonoscope) is passed through the rectum into the lower intestinal tract.
This procedure allows Dr. Obioha to examine the lining of the rectum and the large intestine (colon) and to identify any abnormalities. An anesthesia representative provides sedation for about 10 to 20 minutes on average to ensure you stay relaxed and comfortable throughout the colonoscopy.
Eyeglasses must be removed prior to the procedure. You may prefer to remove dentures and contact lenses at this time.
You will be asked to sign a consent form authorizing the doctor to perform the procedure.
Please let Dr. Obioha and the GI nurse know if you are allergic to any medicines.
A needle for intravenous (IV) medicines will be placed in your arm vein before the procedure. Medicine will be injected through this needle that will make you sleepy and relaxed.
As you lie on your left side, Dr. Obioha will examine your rectum with a gloved, lubricated finger. Then he will insert the lubricated flexible colonoscope which will give you a mild sensation of wanting to move your bowels. As the colonoscope is carefully advanced through the colon, the doctor will examine the bowel lining thoroughly.
You may feel some cramping or gas due to the air which Dr. Obioha is putting in your colon. You may be asked to change positions during the procedure to assist in the passage of the colonoscope.
Often, a biopsy specimen (tiny bits of tissue) is taken for microscopic examination. If you have a polyp, it may be removed by electrocautery through the colonoscope. You will not feel any sensation or discomfort when the biopsy is performed or the polyp is removed.
Many people do not recall any of the procedure because of the effect of the medicine. After the procedure, you will probably feel drowsy and may sleep for a short time. You may feel some bloating from the air inserted during the procedure. You will feel more comfortable if you expel this air.
Before you leave, Dr. Obioha will discuss the findings with you. The GI nurse or technician will give you written instructions to follow when you get home. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask Dr. Obioha, the GI nurse, or the technician.
If you’re concerned about your gastrointestinal health or need a colonoscopy, call Digestive Disease Clinic to schedule a consultation today.