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How to Prepare for Colonoscopy in Singapore

If you are in the age bracket of adults considered vulnerable to colorectal cancer, or you are at average or high risks for colorectal cancer, your primary care physician may refer you to a gastro specialist for colonoscopy in Singapore. Therefore, colonoscopy is a medical procedure done to examine your rectum or colon inside lining to check for signs of colon cancer.

The doctor will typically use colonoscope, a special, flexible tube that’s designed with a built-in camera and light to view the inside of your colon and rectum. If the specialist detects small polyps, they can remove them or recommend surgery to eliminate precancerous tissues that could increase your risks of getting colon cancer.

How painful is Colonoscopy?

On the baseline, colonoscopy isn’t painful since your gastro specialist will use appropriate medication and sedation to keep you calm and slightly drowsy. For most people, there is just a slight discomfort and no pain. However, pain thresholds vary, and some patients report cramping and pain. 

It is also worth noting that even though colonoscopy is largely safe, it comes with slight risks of complications. It is estimated that around 4 percent of the people who undergo this procedure will develop complications. Some of the difficulties may be due to the body’s reaction to the sedation drugs used, lung problems, or response to the preparation method used on the bowel.

When these complications occur (which is also very rare), your physician may recommend using antibiotics, a repeat colonoscopy, blood transfusion, or hospitalization, depending on how severe the complication is. Your doctor may recommend a virtual colonoscopy that uses MRI or CT scans instead of the normal colonoscopy if you don’t consent to the procedure because of the possible risks.

The only shortcoming of opting against colonoscopy is that the alternative procedure for examining the colon may not be very effective and fail to detect tiny polyps.

Here’s a primer on how you can prepare for a colonoscopy in Singapore

  • Interview

Before scheduling an ideal date for the procedure, your doctor will ask you important questions to determine if you’re the ideal patient for the procedure. Importantly, they will inquire if you’re on certain medications. If the doctor believes that drugs you’re using could impact your colonoscopy procedure, they may advise that you stop taking them or recommend viable alternatives. 

Some of the medications the gastro specialist may advise you against include;

  1. Some diabetes medications
  2. Blood thinners and
  3. Vitamins containing iron as an active ingredient
  • Your Diet

Your gastro specialist will give you guidelines for bowel prep (bowel preparation) on your first appointment. Ideally, they will insist that you stick to a clear liquid diet for about 24 to 72 hours before the procedure’s scheduled date. You will also be required to avoid any liquids or drinks made with purple or red dye since they may discolor the inner lining of your colon and impact the procedure’s efficacy.

A typical bowel preparation diet you may be advised to stick to would therefore consist of;

  1. Sports drinks
  2. Plain tea or coffee
  3. Bouillon or broth
  4. Pulp free juice
  5. Gelatin

How long does a Colonoscopy Procedure Take?

When you’re ready for the colonoscopy in Singapore, you’ll be required to get into a hospital gown. You’ll also be given a sedative medication and be directed to lie on the padded examination table on your side.

Your doctor may change your position to get the best angle to the colon and then slowly and gently guide the colonoscope into your anus. The gastro specialist may also remove tissue samples or polyps for biopsy.

This procedure would, therefore, take around 15 to 60 minutes. However, it would be better to plan for approximately two to three hours to take care of the preparation, recovery, and waiting time.

What to Expect after Colonoscopy

Once the procedure is complete, your doctor will advise you to rest for around one hour as you wait for the sedative to wear off. If the doctor extracted a polyp or tissue during the procedure, they will let you know about that and forward it to a laboratory for further tests.

You’ll need to wait a few days to get your test results. You may still experience some bloating and gas in your colon from the gas which the gastroenterologist put in the colon during the procedure.

This will resolve soon, but if it persists for a few more days, you’ll need to alert your doctor as it may signal a problem that should be checked. You may also experience some blood in your stool, but this is also normal and should go away soon. However, you will need to alert your gastro specialist if;

  • You experience high fever averaging over 100ºC
  • You continue to see blood in your stool or blood clots or
  • You feel abdominal cramping or pain

Bottom Line

We acknowledge that colonoscopy has some risks but if you have history of cancer or other risks of developing colon cancer, the benefits of undergoing this procedure clearly outweighs the risk. If you wish to stay safe by getting a colonoscopy, Singapore is an ideal place to get the procedure. Give us a call anytime you’re free and we’ll help you schedule an appointment.