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Colonoscopy: diet, preparation, what to eat afterward?

Colonoscopy is the reference examination for screening for colorectal cancer and certain chronic inflammatory diseases of the colon: such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. How’s it going? Before? After? How long does it last? At what age does it? Know everything.

Colonoscopy is a medical examination that is preferred for screening for colorectal cancer and certain chronic inflammatory diseases of the colon. Explanations. 

What is a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is the reference examination for screening for colorectal cancer and certain chronic inflammatory diseases of the colon: such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. It makes it possible to examine the internal wall of the colon using a flexible tube equipped with a mini-video camera introduced into the anus. Precancerous lesions can be detected during the examination and possibly removed.

At what age?

This examination is recommended as part of organized screening for colon cancer in all people aged 50 and over, who have had a positive Hémoccult© test or from the age of 45 in patients with risk factors, such as a family history. of colorectal cancer. Regarding colorectal cancer screening, it is indicated from 50 to 74 years old, every two years, and consists of looking for the presence of blood in the stool. If blood is found, a colonoscopy is indicated.

What is a virtual colonoscopy?

This is a radiological examination. “After a preparation equivalent to colonoscopy aimed at perfectly cleaning the colon, scanners performed with insufflation through the anus of air or water, explains Dr. Mory. The images obtained are processed and make it possible to “reconstruct” an image of the colon. There is no anesthesia, and the state of the mucous membrane cannot be assessed. No procedure can be performed (if a polyp is discovered, a colonoscopy is necessary). It is reserved for specific indications (very fragile patients for example) .”

What is a colonoscopy?

The colonoscope is a medical instrument used to examine the inside of the colon. It comes in the form of a very flexible pipe, equipped with a mini-video camera at its end. It is introduced into the colon through the anus, under general anesthesia. “The colonoscope goes up the colon under the control of the manipulator helped by joysticks, explains Dr. Benoit Mory, a gastroenterologist in Paris. Along the way, it allows gestures to be performed (biopsies, removal of polyps)  using ‘instruments passing through the working channel.

Beforehand, the entire colon will have been cleaned by the ingestion of a preparation allowing the emptying of all materials. Images from inside the colon are transmitted live to a screen.

What is colonoscopy used for?

This examination is prescribed by a doctor. It is indicated in the assessments in case of family or personal history of colorectal cancer, bleeding of digestive origin, chronic diarrhea, unexplained abdominal pain… It is also the reference tool for looking for polyps and detecting colorectal cancer, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.

How to prepare before a colonoscopy?

The success of a colonoscopy is linked to the state of preparation of the colon because it is necessary to have an evacuation of the fecal matter which makes it possible to visualize the walls and the lesions. This step consists of colonic washing carried out using purgative products. Among them, is the Cookie which comes in the form of tablets (exactly 32) to swallow. Taking these tablets is divided: it begins the day before the examination and ends on the day of the colonoscopy, approximately 4 to 5 hours before the examination. Specifically, the day before the exam, take 4 tablets with 250 ml of water. Repeat 4 times in a row under the same conditions, taking 15 minutes apart, ie a total of 20 tablets to swallow, 4 to 5 hours before the examination, and take 4 tablets with 250 mL of water. Repeat 2 times in a row under the same conditions, taking 15 minutes apart, for a total of 12 tablets to swallow.  “There are other preparations such as Moviprep, Citrafleet, Picoprep, says the expert.

Note that there are certain contraindications to taking the cookie: it is contraindicated below the age of 18, in people over the age of 75. It is also contraindicated in inflammatory bowel disease, decompensated kidney, or heart failure. A survey by the French Digestive Endoscopy Society revealed that half of the colonoscopy failures were due to incomplete preparation. A colonic washing is essential for the good realization of this examination.

What diet before a colonoscopy?

In parallel, a strict diet without residues is advised before the examination. Three days before, avoid fiber (no fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes). A detailed list of authorized and prohibited foods will be given to you. The day before, you will have to drink two liters of preparation to evacuate all the feces because the colon must be completely clean. On the same day, be on an empty stomach, ie do not eat or drink,

How to go on a no-residue diet?

  • The residue-free diet is a short-term prescription, common in gastroenterology before a colonoscopy. The goal is to eliminate whole fruits and vegetables. Authorized foods, indications, and precautions before starting.

How is a colonoscopy performed?

Colonoscopy is performed on an outpatient basis, under local or general anesthesia. Under the control of a manipulator, the probe is introduced into the anus then it is guided towards the colon. If lesions are observed, the colonoscope is used to take samples using forceps positioned at the end of the probe or to remove polyps. The examination lasts about twenty minutes: complications are rare, as is a pain in walking.

How long does a colonoscopy take?

Usually about twenty minutes. “It depends on the state of the patient’s colon and the experience of the endoscopist, says Dr. Mory. The cecum, the first part of the colon, must be reached (by visualization of the appendicular fossa) and the examination at the withdrawal must be meticulous (the duration of the descent of more than six minutes is recommended).

What to eat after a colonoscopy?

You will be able to eat and drink normally. “Anesthesiologists recommend, however, not to take alcoholic beverages on the evening of the colonoscopy”, specifies the gastroenterologist.

How long does it take to get the results?

The doctor will give you his findings immediately. A detailed report will be given to you when you leave and sent to your attending physician. The results of any biopsies will be sent to you after reading by your gastroenterologist within ten days of your examination, except in an emergency.

How much does a colonoscopy cost?

The minimum tariff in Sector 1 is 153.60 euros for a total colonoscopy with or without biopsies and 192 euros for a colonoscopy with polypectomy. The anesthetist’s fees must be added.

Is it funded?

The colonoscopy is reimbursed by the Caisse d’assurance Maladie at 65%, with the mutual insurance company taking charge of the whole of the other party if the practitioner is in sector 1. If the practitioner practices in sector 2, an additional fee may be requested and will eventually be paid for by the mutual according to the contracts.