If you’re experiencing gastrointestinal pain or changes in your bowel movements, a colonoscopy can help uncover the cause of your symptoms for an accurate diagnosis. Christopher Tomaino, MD, is an experienced gastroenterologist who performs colonoscopies at East Coast Gastroenterology and Endoscopy in Patchogue, New York. To find out if a colonoscopy is right for you, call the practice or schedule an appointment online today.

What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is an exam that Dr. Tomaino at East Coast Gastroenterology and Endoscopy performs to view the inside of your colon (large intestine) and rectum. The procedure involves inserting a long, flexible tube (colonoscope) into your colon through your rectum. Attached to the colonoscope is a small camera and light, allowing Dr. Tomaino to detect any abnormal changes to your intestinal wall.

If Dr. Tomaino sees any abnormalities, such as polyps, he can retrieve a small tissue sample for lab testing through the colonoscope.

When would I need a colonoscopy?

There are many reasons Dr. Tomaino may recommend a colonoscopy, such as:

Screening for colon cancer

The primary purpose of a colonoscopy is to screen for colon cancer. This increasingly common type of cancer typically begins as a benign (noncancerous) polyp in the wall of the colon or rectum. With early detection, Dr. Tomaino can remove noncancerous polyps before they become cancerous.

Most recommendations state that men and women should have a colonoscopy once every 10 years starting at age 50. However, some recommendations suggest screening for colon cancer around age 45. If you have a family history or other colon cancer risk factors, Dr. Tomaino may ask you to come in for a colonoscopy earlier.

Searching for additional polyps

If you’ve already had polyps removed during a colonoscopy, Dr. Tomaino may suggest a second exam to make sure you don’t have any additional polyps.

Investigating new symptoms

Constant abdominal pain, constipation, and rectal bleeding are just a few symptoms that Dr. Tomaino can investigate through a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy can help diagnose inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

How do I prepare for a colonoscopy?

Flushing out your colon before a colonoscopy is essential for Dr. Tomaino to view the inside of your large intestine. Any leftover food in your colon can obstruct his view, meaning you may have to return for a follow-up exam if your large intestine isn’t completely empty.

Dr. Tomaino provides special instructions to prepare for your colonoscopy before the procedure. Normally, you can’t eat solid foods the day before the exam. It’s important to stick to clear liquids and take a laxative in pill or liquid form.

What happens during a colonoscopy?

Depending on your case, Dr. Tomaino may administer a sedative and pain reliever prior to the exam to ensure your comfort. These may come in pill form or intravenous medications. Once sedated, Dr. Tomaino guides the colonoscope through your rectum and colon to examine the lining.

After viewing the inside of your colon, Dr. Tomaino slowly removes the colonoscope, which gives him a second opportunity to check for any missed growths or polyps.

The entire procedure typically takes no longer than 30-60 minutes. Once he receives your results, Dr. Tomaino reviews them with you.

To schedule a colonoscopy with East Coast Gastroenterology and Endoscopy, call or book an appointment online today.

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