Are you dealing with undiagnosed abdominal discomfort or gastrointestinal (GI) issues? An endoscopic procedure can serve as a minimally invasive process to evaluate the gastrointestinal problems you’re suffering from. Our gastrointestinal doctors in Austin, TX utilize these exams in an effort to visualize the various areas of the gastrointestinal system. These options help lessen the need for more invasive procedures and long-lasting recovery times.
An endoscopy is a commonly performed procedure utilized to aid in the identification of conditions affecting the esophagus, throat, abdomen, and stomach. One of the more widely known endoscopic processes is the colonoscopy screening, which helps in diagnosing and reducing colon and rectal cancer.
What are the main differences between endoscopies vs. colonoscopies, and how can such endoscopic processes help monitor your health? Read on to find out more about these services at Austin Gastroenterology. Our experienced team aims to help people in and around the Austin, TX area get the treatment they need for gastrointestinal concerns.
What are the variations between colonoscopies and endoscopies?
Although an endoscope (a long, narrow, and bendable tube fitted with a camera and light) is utilized to take high-quality pictures for both colonoscopies and endoscopies, there are a few significant distinctions that separate the procedures.
If the upper area of the gastrointestinal system needs to be examined, an upper endoscopy procedure might be performed. With this option, the endoscope device is positioned in your mouth and travels through the throat into the esophagus, stomach, and small bowel. Comparatively, a colonoscopy might be conducted in cases where the lower portion of the digestive tract needs to be assessed. To perform a colonoscopy, the colonoscope device is positioned in the rectum and advanced into the large intestine (colon).
Another difference involves how you prepare for colonoscopies vs. endoscopies. When scheduled for a colonoscopy exam, you’ll likely only consumer clear liquids for 24 hours prior to your appointment. Directs on how to clear your GI system of stool will be provided and may involve the use of cleansing solutions or laxative products. This allows for easy evaluation of the intestines and rectum.
The preparatory approach for an upper endoscopy procedure is simpler. You should fast from food and beverages for around six hours before the procedure and stop taking certain blood thinners as advised by your physician. If you’d like to learn more about the variations between colonoscopies vs. endoscopies, arrange for a consultation with our Austin Gastroenterology team to have your questions answered.
How are endoscopies performed?
During an endoscopy, a bendable, long tube-like device (endoscope) is positioned into the mouth and moved through the throat until it reaches the small intestine. When required, tools can be attached to the endoscope to help provide solutions for a range of conditions. These tools can be used to extract tissue samples, remove food that’s stuck in the upper digestive tract, or open a narrowed area (stricture).
Reasons for performing an endoscopy often vary according to your needs. If you have symptoms that impact your daily life, one of our endoscopy specialists in Austin, TX might advise having this type of exam. An endoscopy can allow our team to determine the ideal treatment to address your ailment. An endoscopy exam can be a great option if you experience:
- Constant bowel change (like constipation or diarrhea)
- Blood in the stool
- Chronic heartburn or chest pain
- Unexplained abdominal pain
How do colonoscopies work?
With a colonoscopy, a colonoscope is gently placed within the rectum and moved into the colon. This scope sends video images to a monitor so your doctor can examine the large intestine. During the course of the exam, biopsies of the tissue can be extracted to detect whether cancer cells are present, and precancerous growths (polyps) can be extracted.
It’s important to have a colonoscopy exam if you have a family history of colorectal cancer of if you are age 45 or older. A colonoscopy procedure may also be conduted if you notice the following symptoms more consistently:
- Narrow or thin stools
- Chronic fatigue
- Unintended weight loss
- Rectal bleeding
- Change in bowl movements
- Feeling bloated
- Bloody stools
Experience relief from GI concerns with endoscopic procedures
An endoscopic procedure can allow your doctor too diagnose and address GI concerns like intestinal blockages, tumors, unexplained abdominal discomfort, and more. When you schedule a consultation at Austin Gastroenterology, board-certified care for gastrointestinal symptoms is close at hand. We are ready to help you find relief from digestive concerns and intestinal conditions. Connect with our digestive health practice in Austin, TX to schedule an appointment.