Learn Why It Is So Important to Have a Colonoscopy


Are you aware that the five-year survival rate for patients with colon or rectal cancer is 90% if the disease is found and treated early on in its progression? When used in catching colon cancer and additional colorectal issues, colonoscopy has notoriety among gastroenterology professions as the most dependable, effective exam.

The experienced professionals at GI Alliance of Illinois regularly provide colonoscopies for patients throughout our community. Continue reading as our Illinois gastroenterology team explains the imperative role colonoscopies play in protecting your gastrointestinal health and wellness.

Who is a good candidate for a colonoscopy screening?

Periodic colonoscopies are advised for patients who are at least 45 years of age or older. People who are younger may be advised to get a cancer screening if any of the following criteria apply:

  • You have some variation of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (like ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease)
  • Your family health includes colorectal cancer or polyps
  • You show signs or symptoms that are connected with colon or rectal cancer, including:
    • Unintentional weight loss
    • Abdominal discomfort or pain
    • Blood in the stool
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea

It's important to note that the symptoms mentioned here are also experienced with other gastrointestinal diseases, making it vital to set up a colonoscopy to investigate your GI symptoms and health. Contact GI Alliance of Illinois for further details about other disorders that might be discovered during a colonoscopy.

How long is the colonoscopy process?

For most patients, the whole colonoscopy exam commonly lasts a couple of hours, from preparation to recovery. Please plan to arrive at your colonoscopy doctor's facility or endoscopy center in Illinois 60 – 90 minutes prior to your scheduled exam. This will provide you with some additional time to complete any required paperwork and put on a medical gown. Once you are ready, you'll be shown into the procedure room, where the medical team will begin administering a sedative to keep you relaxed and at ease during your colonoscopy process.

In most cases, a typical colonoscopy procedure can take 15 – 30 minutes. Your doctor will gently place the colonoscope (a flexible, probe-attached camera) into your rectum, slowly advancing it into the large intestine (colon) and viewing the live video for any signs of concern. If colorectal polyps (growths) are identified during the colonoscopy exam, your gastrointestinal specialist may take the opportunity to remove them at this time.

Following the exam, you will be given time to relax in a recovery room to allow the sedative effects to diminish. This might take up to 60 minutes or so, depending on the amount of sedation administered and your individual reaction to it. It's common to be drowsy for the rest of the day, so plan ahead to have a friend or family member drive you home. You should also avoid doing anything too strenuous or signing important paperwork until you recover. You will be sent home with a report summarizing your screening results and can expect to hear from your gastroenterologist about any biopsy results usually within about a week.

Colonoscopies are a small investment in time for the diagnostic advantages they offer. To hear more about what to expect from your colonoscopy screening, reach out to a GI Alliance of Illinois location near you to connect with a provider who offers colonoscopies in Illinois.

Are there any colonoscopy risks I should be aware of?

When evaluating risks associated with the procedure, there is a minor chance that some indications or concerns (including growths) may not be readily evident during your colonoscopy procedure. It's crucial to reach out to your gastrointestinal doctor and inform them of any persisting or new issues.

Further possible risks affiliated with a colonoscopy procedure include piercing of the colon, adverse response to the sedation, or bleeding (if any polyps are excised). It's important to remember, however, that less than 1% of colonoscopy procedures incur complications, the majority of which are not severe. If you have questions or concerns regarding the potential risks associated with a colonoscopy, our team at GI Alliance of Illinois will be glad to go over those with you.

Partner with an experienced colonoscopy doctor in Illinois

Given that colorectal cancer rates are trending upward in younger adults, the value of undergoing a colonoscopy to protect your GI health cannot be stressed enough. If you are at least 45 years old or you have a higher risk of developing colon or rectal cancer, please contact the gastrointestinal doctors at GI Alliance of Illinois to find out more about colonoscopy services. Take charge of your health and contact our Illinois team today.