Associates in Digestive Diseases

Frequently Asked Questions

Colonoscopy-Related

I’m 50 years old; should I have a colonoscopy?
It is recommended that you have a colonoscopy at the age of 50 (45 for African Americans) to screen for colon cancer.

There is colon cancer in my family; should I screen earlier than age 50?
Speak to your doctor regarding specific recommendations. There are familial conditions that push up the recommended age for screening.

FAQ imageI had a polyp, when should I schedule my next colonoscopy?
That depends on the specific type of polyp. If your polyp was precancerous, then the interval for the next colonoscopy will be shorter than if the polyp was not precancerous.

I have colitis; when should I be screened?
Colitis has been found to increase the risk of development of colon cancer. After approximately 8 – 10 years of disease, you will be placed on a regular schedule of screening to monitor for early signs of change.

What if I start vomiting, or feel like I am going to vomit while drinking the prep?
Slow down consuming the prep somewhat to all your stomach to settle. You make try to take a few licks of a lollipop (not red or purple in color) between glasses of the prep. If still not tolerated, call the doctor on call. Occasionally an anti-nausea medication will be helpful. Using a lollipop to help settle your stomach should be used sparingly and as a last resort. You should not have gum, candies or lollipops less than 2 hours prior to the procedure. Gum and sucking on candies and lollipops will stimulate acid and stomach fluid for several hours. If this happens right before your procedure, you may aspirate or vomit and inhale your stomach acid, which will cause pneumonia.

Can I drive or go to work the day of the procedure.
No! You will be receiving sedation prior to the procedure. The anesthesia guidelines stat that a patient is not allowed to drive or operate machinery as the anesthesia may impair judgment and reflexes. You must arrange to be driven home by a friend or family member after the procedure. If this is not arranged, your procedure will not be done. A taxi is only permitted if a friend or family member accompanies you.

After I have the colonoscopy, when will I know the results?
Your doctor will speak to you after the procedure is completed. If biopsies are taken, they will be available a few days after the procedure.

Ulcer-Related

I have an ulcer, what caused it?
Most ulcers are mediated by acid and caused by H. Pylori infection or non-steroidal medication (Aspirin, Motrin, Aleve, etc.)

I have H. pylori, is that dangerous?
H. Pylori is an infection of the stomach that increases the risk of developing peptic ulcers, stomach cancer or stomach lymphoma. When this infection is found, you will be treated with a course of medication to eradicate the infection.

Will my ulcer go away?
After treatment of the underlying problem (i.e. eradication of infection, removal of offending agent) the ulcer will heal with medication. Occasionally repeat endoscopy will be required to assure resolution of the ulcer.

Hepatitis-Related

I have been told that I have Hepatitis. Am I contagious?
Ask your doctor about restrictions. These will depend on the type of Hepatitis and your blood tests.

I have Hepatitis C; am I a candidate for therapy? Most types of Hepatitis C are responsive to medication. Your doctor will test you to see about what type you have and discuss the likelihood that you will respond to medication.

What is the treatment for Hepatitis C?
Most therapies involve injectable and oral medications. Therapy will last anywhere from 24 weeks to 48 weeks, depending on your response.

Other

I have recurrent heartburn; is that a problem?
Occasional heartburn is common and perfectly fine to treat with over-the-counter medications. If your heartburn is recurrent or doesn’t go away, mention it to your doctor. It may represent an underlying problem and require endoscopic investigation and/ or prolonged therapy.

I’m having trouble swallowing; what’s the problem?
This requires further investigation. Testing will need to be done to find the cause i.e. benign or malignant narrowing or a muscle problem of the esophagus.

I have gallstones; should I have my gallbladder removed?
Many people have gallstones and only a small percentage have symptoms from those stones. If you are having symptoms then removing the gallbladder is the way to go.

I have diverticulosis; do I need to change my diet?
Current recommendations are to be on a high fiber diet. Restrictive diets are not necessary. Most patients never have symptoms from their diverticulosis.

I have had recurrent diverticulitis; do I need surgery?
This will involve a discussion with your GI doctor and possibly a colorectal surgeon. Most cases of diverticulitis can be treated with diet and antibiotics.

I’m having rectal bleeding; what could I have?
There are many causes of rectal bleeding. Most are benign, some are not. Please discuss this with your doctor so it can be properly addressed.

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