What is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a visual procedure that looks inside the rectum and colon for polyps, abnormal areas, or cancer. A colonoscope (a thin, lighted tube) is inserted through the rectum into the colon. Polyps or tissue samples may be taken for biopsy. You will receive sedation, and are not awake, during this procedure.
Why They are Recommended
The purpose of a colonoscopy is trifold - diagnostic, preventative and interventional. A colonoscopy gets to the bottom of troublesome gastrointestinal symptoms, screens for diseases of the colon and removes precancerous lesions. If necessary, small biopsies may be taken and sent to pathology. These procedures:
- Screen for colon cancer
- Investigate causes of intestinal problems, such as pain, bleeding, chronic diarrhea and/or constipation
- Look for and remove polyps
When To Talk To Your Doctor
Men and women of “average risk,” who do not have any family history of cancer, should get periodic screening tests, such as a colonoscopy to detect any abnormalities. You should talk to your doctor about scheduling a colonoscopy if you meet the following criteria:
- You are 45 years of age or older*
- You are 40 years old or 10 years younger than the age at which a first-degree relative was diagnosed with colon cancer
*Due to recent changes in screening recommendations, please consult your insurance provider to confirm coverage if you are under the age of 50.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, Memorial Hermann recommends visiting a doctor to find the cause and receive treatment, if necessary:
- A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation or narrowing of the stool that lasts for more than a few days
- A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so
- Rectal bleeding
- Dark stools or blood in the stool
- Cramping or abdominal pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Unintended weight loss
Frequently Asked Questions Learn More About Digestive Health Learn More About Colon Cancer
NEW REALITIES, UNWAVERING CARE
Your health and safety are always our main priority. As healthcare processes change and our community begins to adapt to a new normal, we want to let you know about the additional safeguards we are taking at Memorial Hermann to make your colonoscopy as safe as possible.
We have implemented a number of protective measures for the health and safety of our patients, workforce and community:
- All employees, clinicians and patients will be screened upon entering any Memorial Hermann facility and provided a surgical mask after clearing the screening process.
- Employees and clinicians caring for patients will be provided the recommended personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Infection prevention control best practices, including the thorough cleaning and sterilization efforts in between each and every patient visit as well as proper hand hygiene, will continue.
- As an additional safeguard, patients will be tested for COVID-19 prior to surgeries.
In addition, we have implemented Safe Wait™, a new measure that enforces social distancing in our waiting areas. Safe Wait™ also includes staggering scheduled appointments and, when necessary, asking our patients to wait in their vehicles for their appointments. For more information about your appointment, please call your practice location.
Schedule an Appointment
You can schedule an appointment for a colonoscopy or with an affiliated Gastroenterologist online at the following locations or by phone by calling 713-222-CARE (2273).
Texas Medical Center
6400 Fannin Street, #1400
Houston, TX 77030
*Use the Contact Us form to request an appointment.
Colon Cancer Symptoms and Screening
Colon Cancer Treatments and the Importance of Early Detection
What to Expect During a Colonoscopy