The human colon is a tubular organ that functions as a plumbing system; working continuously to eliminate waste products from the body. By operating round the clock, it maintains the body’s electrolyte balance critical for proper functionality. However, there are numerous occasion when changes occur in the colon, warranting immediate medical attention. A colonoscopy, therefore, comes in handy as a medical exam with the main aim of detecting any noticeable anomalies in the colon and rectum. The doctor uses a colonoscope to assess the colon for signs of trauma typical of irritated epithelial tissue. Colonscopes are fitted with a tiny video camera that the doctor uses to inspect the colon through the rectal cavity. It is an important procedure for it reveals the colon’s current condition and may provide critical data regarding any abnormality. Over the years, colonoscopies have been hailed for their efficiency in the detection of cancer and polyps typically retrieved during the procedure. In other cases, the doctors proceed further with the probe and retrieve tissue samples after a routine biopsy to investigate the full extent of the abnormalities witnessed in the tissues. Colonoscopy is, therefore, ranked among one of the most crucial medical procedures. In fact, colorectal cancer is the third most typical form of cancer in the United States and expected to cause close to 51, 021 deaths by 2019 (“Future of Colonoscopy,” 2014, p. 186). Colonoscopy and frequent screenings have been linked to a sudden drop in the number of fatalities as physicians are now better position to treat their patients. For instance, it is only through colonoscopies that doctors are now able to detect colorectal polyps and remove them before they become cancerous. An in-depth evaluation of this procedure is, consequently, significant as it provides a window into colonoscopy preparation, bowel preparation during the procedure and the recovery process.
A doctor usually recommends colonoscopy if a patient exhibits a number of intestinal symptoms. The procedure will investigate a wide range of intestinal problems which may include rectal bleeding, pain in the abdominal area and chronic diarrhea. Moreover, this medical exam may also allow the physician to screen the patient for symptoms of cancer. Their probe may also investigate the presence of polyps in individuals who had them before as a follow-up procedure. In general, colonoscopy is a safe practice that allows a doctor to gauge the health of an individual’s colon within the shortest period. Preparation for the procedure is necessary as a way of avoiding the occasional heavy bleeding and inflammation that patients may experience afterwards (“Indications and Contraindications for Colonoscopy,” 2014, p. 26). Both patient and doctor play a critical role in making sure that the entire procedure goes as hand. While the doctor prepares the laxatives that will be used during the procedure, the patient also participates by restricting their diet in addition to making necessary arrangements on how they will reach home. All in all, colonoscopy preparation is an integral aspect and a necessary ingredient for overall success.
Bowel Preparation for Colonoscopy Procedure
A routine colonoscopy is one of the ideal methods of identifying early signs of colon cancer. Yet, a sizeable number of individuals who are potentially at risk choose to avoid the procedure altogether due to fears stemming from the rigorous preparation process. Patients are usually required to empty their bowels before doctors can proceed with their examination. Furthermore, they are also expected to ingest strong whose aim is to soften their stool before proceeding with this temporary procedure.
The preparation process should be undertaken with exclusive advice from the resident physician assessing a specific case. It is normally expected that an individual about to undergo a colostomy will purchase an over-the-counter laxative that has been specified by their doctor. They will then proceed to obtain low-fiber foods and broths that will aid the laxatives in softening bowel contents. Moist wipes and diaper ointment will also come in handy since individuals must be prepared for atypical bowel movements.
Tweaking the usual data is an integral part of the preparation process. As mentioned earlier, physicians often advice patients to consume low-fiber foods for they exit the system within a short period. Cooked vegetables, pasta, eggs and lean are ideal for a person who is about to undergo a colonoscopy (“Therapeutic Colonoscopy,” 2014, p. 145). It is important to acknowledge that doctors strongly advice against eating seedy foods, tough meat, fatty grains and raw vegetables. These foods are eliminated from the body at a slow rate which may have negative impacts on the colonoscopy process. Besides, tapering off solid foods is advisable since it promotes bowel clearing.
Doctors may also advice their patients to stop taking certain medicines before staring the procedure. In particular, supplements and vitamins should be avoided since they increase the risk of bleeding during the procedure. Conversely, blood-thinning medicines are a basic requirement since they help the patient avoid cases of inflammation during the procedure. Clopidogrel and Wargin are a few examples of effective anti-inflammatory medicines that may be taken before the procedure. Nevertheless, individuals must stop taking them 7 days before the start of the procedure with appropriate recommendations from the doctor.
Individuals about to undergo a colonoscopy are strongly counseled to drink plenty of water and remain hydrated when prepping their bowel. They are also expected to avoid red or orange foods since they may ultimately confuse the doctor when looking for signs of bleeding during the procedure. Doctors may also recommend oral solutions such as TriLyte, NuLytely and GoLytely that are known for their efficiency in promoting bowel movement (“Quality in Colonoscopy,” 2014, p. 161). They may be consumed the night prior to the exam and cause diarrhea right before the examination. It is always advisable to stay near a bathroom due to the unpredictable nature of the bouts of diarrhea.
During the doctor’s appointment, it is usually expected that the individual in question will be passing a yellow-tinted liquid indicating that their bowel is ready for the procedure. Typically, doctors explain the entire procedure to their patients before referring them to nursing staff and anesthesia representatives for any further advice. Sedation also part of this particular procedure since it persons are often subjected to a great deal of pain. Medical staff will then proceed with the procedure by first administering pertinent medications using an intravenous (IV) catheter. The physician in charge of this procedure will then escort the patient to a colonoscopy suite where a colonoscope will be inserted through their rectum to mark the beginning of the examination. It is at this point that the probe will begin as an indication that the bowel preparation was successful.
Recovery after Procedure
Persons who have undergone a colonoscopy usually come out of the experience feeling groggy. It is for this reason that doctors suggest that they be accompanied by a designated driver who would take them home. However, before leaving the hospital, the physician will discuss their findings and what they imply. It is common for doctors to present images of their initial findings as a way of ensuring that patients comprehend their current state of being and any further actions that may be required. Samples obtained from the procedure are forwarded to the labs for a biopsy that will provide an unadulterated and succinct version of the results that have been obtained. If the results come back positive for cancerous cells, the doctor may recommend further probes or even surgery.
Successful completion of the procedure often means that the patient first remains in the hospital for close to two hours as a rule of thumb for the sedatives to wear off. They then receive the appropriate direction that would ensure that their recovery is a success. This includes the type of foods that one can eat and activities that they can engage in. The doctor also has a duty to communicate the date of the next routine colonoscopy if required depending on the results. Gas pains and blood streaks in stool are common days after the procedure which is why meticulous care is important to avoid rectal bleeding. Recovery is the most important aspect of this entire procedure since it is the surest way of avoiding trips to the emergency room and unforeseen circumstances.
Recovery often begins at home. Persons who have undergone a colonoscopy should be heavily invested in the recovery process. They are required to rest within the first two days after the procedure to hasten their recovery. Having a helper around ones vicinity is also vital since they will help the individual solve certain tasks that may prove difficult in their present circumstance (“Preparation for Colonoscopy,” 2014, p. 33). Nonetheless, the patient may carry out light tasks but should cease immediately when they notice signs of fatigue. They should only participate in activities that come easy to them and avoid those that may put their health in sheer peril. In addition to this, they should also follow a strict diet with directions from their doctor. Fluids should also be included in the diet as they will replace those lost during the procedure.
Drossiness and nausea are common after the procedure. The situation is usually further exacerbated by the medicines that out patients are required to take after the procedure. Doctors usually provide clear instructions about the medicine that should be taken with the expectation that their instructions will be followed to the letter. Former patients should avoid taking any medicine that was not prescribed by their doctor and focus on following a strict diet. Any attempt to take additional blood thinners should first pass through the doctor for approval to ensure a proper understanding of what is required. The recovery process usually involves taking anti-inflammatory medicines for persons who had polyps removed during the procedure to reduce the risk of further bleeding.
International Perspectives of Colonoscopy
Ethical Perspectives of Colonoscopy
Although colonoscopy has proven to be an effective way of monitoring any abnormalities in the colon and rectum, there are a number of ethical issues that have been raised globally with regard to its use. Doctors have, time and again, been blamed for conducting this “invasive” procedure that has the potential of causing serious harm to the subjects (Quality in Colonoscopy,” 2014).. Individuals have often reported heavy rectal bleeding and perforation that sometimes results in death. Medical care experts attribute these mishaps to over-diagnosis and the use of tampered test results for the purpose of advancing specific clinical issues. Moreover, patients usually enter the colonoscopy lounge devoid of a state of autonomy and informed medication regarding the treatment they are about to receive. The mortality rate, therefore, increases after the screening process meaning that some patients do not benefit from this procedure.
Social Perspectives of Colonoscopy
There are a number of social issues impacting colonoscopy. Firstly, the stigma associated with visiting a doctor to undergo this procedure has caused many patients to avoid the procedure altogether. Many fret the discrimination usually accompanies individuals who confess to having undergone the procedure to a conservative society. In addition to this, healthcare disparities also impact the procedure negatively especially when it comes to the number of individuals who can access it without any difficulties. Persons who have a high susceptibility to ailments requiring immediate colonoscopy also happen to be experiencing difficulties with healthcare insurance (“Therapeutic Colonoscopy,” 2014, p. 148). Without access to medical care they remain in a state of psychological distress over their medical condition and the psychosocial dynamics they will be confronted with once their status goes public. For instance, a colonoscopy procedure usually warrants numerous lifestyle changes that may affect family members who now have to invest their time and finances into an individual’s recovery process.
Cultural Perspectives of Colonoscopy
Even though a number of medical complications require complex procedures such as colonoscopy, opinions about its efficacy vary amongst individuals from certain cultural backgrounds. For instance, African American and Hispanic males are less likely to attend screenings that later result in colonoscopies in comparison to their white counterparts. The underutilization of this resource points to deep-seated attitudes informing their decision. In most instances, fatalism and health literacy are major issues that affect the judgment of such individuals and their ability to participate fully in care. Coupled with medical mistrust, such individuals may forfeit a unique opportunity to receive care owing to cultural attitudes about the procedure.
Colonoscopy is a novel procedure that was developed to investigate anomalies that may be present in the colon and rectum. It is a complex formula that requires proper planning and a recovery regimen for those who have already undergone the procedure. Even so, it is a medical grey area since international perspectives about the ethics, social and cultural issues vary from one population to the next.