Routine Care

and Early Detection are Key

Schedule Your Colonoscopy Today

Find A Doctor

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 it's 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 primary care 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

How to Prepare

Since colonoscopies are visual in nature, it's essential that patients comply with pre-procedure prep. This involves a liquid diet the day before the test, followed by a prescription laxative and/or bowel cleanse.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to Expect

Upon registration, you will be taken to a pre-op bay, where a nurse will take your vital signs and start an intravenous line. In the procedure room, you will be positioned comfortably on your left side. You will be administered a sedative or light anesthetic. An endoscope is then inserted through the anus. The physician maneuvers the endoscope through the twists and turns of the colon. The procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes.

What Happens Next

Upon awaking in a recovery bay, you won't have any recollection of the procedure and might feel a little 'foggy' from the sedation/anesthesia. Since the procedure often requires the doctor to inflate the colon with air, you may experience mild stomach cramps and the need to pass gas.

It's mandatory that a companion be available to drive you home. Preliminary results may be discussed, and if necessary, a follow-up appointment with any physician on Memorial Herman's multi-disciplinary team may be scheduled.

Colon Cancer Symptoms and Screening
Colon Cancer Treatments and the Importance of Early Detection
What to Expect During a Colonoscopy

Contact Us

Fill out the form below to receive more information about scheduling a colonoscopy, procedure information and more.


Thank you for contacting Memorial Hermann in regards to colonoscopy. We have received your inquiry, and a team member will contact you soon.

If you need more immediate assistance, please call us at (713) 222-2273.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.