Colonoscopy Services

Colonoscopy - Dignity Health Medical Group (DHMG) Arizona
A colonoscopy allows your physician to examine the inside of your colon and rectum. This procedure allows your physician to examine the inside of your colon and rectum. A colonoscopy may be useful in discovering the cause of certain symptoms, abnormal lab tests, or other imaging. A colonoscopy may also be used as a screening for colorectal cancer – Both men and women should have a colon cancer screening starting at age 50, unless otherwise directed by their physician.

Symptoms and treatment

Different symptoms that may lead to a colonoscopy to be suggested or performed include the following:

  • abdominal pain, changes in bowel movements, or weight loss
  • abnormal changes (polyps) found on sigmoidoscopy or x-ray tests (CT scan or barium enema)
  • anemia due to low iron (usually when no other cause has been found)
  • blood in the stool, or black, tarry stools
  • follow-up of a past finding, such as polyps or colon cancer
  • inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease)

Treatment options

  • Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) is a procedure to remove abnormal tissues from the digestive tract.
  • Endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) is an advanced procedure to remove tumors that have not yet entered into the muscle layer.
  • Luminal stenting uses a device placed within the gastrointestinal tract to keep the structure open.  

Preparing for a colonoscopy

Before a colonoscopy procedure, the contents of the colon have to be emptied. This is usually done through a liquid-only diet for 24 hours as well as drinking a solution to help clear the bowels. If the bowel prep is not completed correctly, polyps and lesions can be missed and the entire procedure may have to be repeated.
Below is the most common bowel preparation for colonoscopies. Your Dignity Health Medical Group provider will discuss specifics with you prior to your scheduled procedure.

Diet

On the day before and up to the procedure, consume clear liquids only: broths, soft drinks, tea and coffee (with no milk or creamer), clear juices or Jell-O (but no red, blue, or purple coloring). You may also be asked to avoid nuts, seeds, hulls, skins, or other insoluble fiber for a day or more before beginning clear liquids.

Polyethylene glycol

This is an electrolyte-balanced solution consumed in large amounts (four liters, or about one gallon) the evening before a colonoscopy. You will need to drink eight ounces every tenminutes until the bowel’s output runs clear or the solution is completely consumed. In another approach, the dose is divided into three liters the night before and one liter the morning of the colonoscopy.

Helpful Tips

  • Make sure you receive your colonoscopy prep instructions well before your procedure date, and read them completely as soon as you get them.
  • Pick up some medicated wipes and a skin-soothing product such as Vaseline or Desitin.
  • Arrange for the time and privacy you need to complete the prep with as little stress as possible.
  • Water can get boring, so keep a variety of clear liquids on hand.
  • To make a liquid prep like PEG easier to swallow, try one or more of the following:
  • Add some Crystal Light or Kool-Aid powder (again, not red, blue, or purple)
  • Add some ginger or lime
  • Drink it chilled
  • Drink it through a straw placed far back on your tongue
  • Hold your nose and drink it as quickly as possible
  • Suck on a hard candy after each glass.
  • Wear loose clothing, and stay near or in the bathroom.