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Is colonoscopy necessary considering all the headaches?

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Old 02-22-2006, 10:04 AM   #1
Mamma Lucia
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Is colonoscopy necessary considering all the headaches?


My dad recently visited a doctor because he feels an "obstruction" when making a bowl movement. The doctor prescribed Cipro (500mg, 10 tablets), and Anusol, and told him to get a colonoscopy.

I've been looking up information on colonoscopies, and they say that even traditional colonoscopies are not 100% accurate in detecting abnormalities. Plus, I've heard that PREPARATION for the colonoscopy is even worse than the actual exam itself.

I have two questions:

1. Is a colonoscopy even necessary, or is there a simpler test and treatment to diagnose this "obstruction"

2. If my dad must have a colonoscopy, please tell me how to go about finding the best doctor who can perform such an exam. Is there anything the doctor should be board certified in, years of experience, etc. Already, my dad has been through a lot, and merely preparing for the colonoscopy is going to be taxing on him, so I want to ensure that the colonoscopy he receives is worth all the hardships he has to go through.

Thanks for your help.

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Old 02-22-2006, 12:13 PM   #2
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Re: Is colonoscopy necessary considering all the headaches?

Question 1.......a colonoscopy is the 'gold standard' for finding, treating, curing, etc bowel/colon problems.

Question 2......I would locate a colon & rectal surgeon (specifically a member of American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons).

Good luck


Old 02-22-2006, 12:25 PM   #3
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Re: Is colonoscopy necessary considering all the headaches?

Bear in mind, when people say the prep is the worst part, read that to mean "it's not that bad" rather than "this is absolutely horrible". The prep is not that bad. The test is not that bad. Any alternate test that comes to mind (I'm an amateur, though) also involves some sort of unpleasant preparation. And truth be told, almost NO test is 100 percent accurate, so that is no reason to exclude something.

Protocol may be different in different parts of the countries, where I am a colonoscopy would be performed by a gastroenterologist rather than a surgeon. I'm confident in my physician's referrals to specialists. Others ask people they know (especially those in medical fields).

Old 02-22-2006, 03:13 PM   #4
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Re: Is colonoscopy necessary considering all the headaches?

Hey Mamma: First thing I would ask is how old is your Dad? Anyone over 50 should have a colonoscopy every two years. If he is having problems and feels it is an "obstruction" of some kind, then I would say he should definitley have one done.

As far as finding a doctor, the best way is have you PCP set up a referral for you. If that's not possible, ask a trusted friend if they know of a good Gastro doc. You don't need a surgeon for a colonoscopy.

Make sure when your Dad is setting up his appointment for the procedure, he makes sure he will be sedated for the test. I have had several and it is much easier, if they give you some medication to sedate you before they begin.

The preperation isn't a lot of fun, but I've had worse. You just have to remember it's necessary to clean the colon out so they can do a good test. Hopefully, your father will find out what's been bothering him.

Old 02-22-2006, 05:44 PM   #5
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Re: Is colonoscopy necessary considering all the headaches?

As far as the preparation goes, I can only speak for my self, but it isn't really that bad. I had to drink a half gallon of stuff that, while it wasn't a taste treat, was more than tolerable. The next few hours are spent going back and forth to the bathroom but once again no big deal. Nothing uncontrolled or anything like that. The test itself was a breeze. The drugs are great and it is over before you know it. I wouldn't worry about having the test at all and as for there being other ways to determine what is wrong; there is no better way to see what is going on inside your colon than with a colonoscopy.

Old 02-22-2006, 05:50 PM   #6
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Re: Is colonoscopy necessary considering all the headaches?

Many people who have never had a colonoscopy really fear the exam itself. You are sedated for the exam so you really don't remember it. Which iis why people say the prep is the worse part of the whole process--it is really meant to ease people's fear about the colonoscopy itself. The prep involves drinking liquids or taking pills that cause lots of diarrhea which will clean out the colon. Your father will just need to be very close to the bathroom once he starts. On the advice of others, I brought in a TV tray and magazines to the bathroom. I even gave myself a pedicure during the process--that might really take your father's mind off the whole process . While the preps are not on my list of things that I'll do for fun, they are on the list of what I need to do for myself health-wise. I had three preps in 16 months but now I get to go 5 years.


Old 02-22-2006, 07:15 PM   #7
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Re: Is colonoscopy necessary considering all the headaches?

Also agree that a colonoscopy is the gold standard and wouldn't settle for anything less. Also highly recommend that your dad go directly to a colon/rectal surgeon for the proceedure as he feels he has an obstruction. IF there is something that needs to be corrected surgically, then dad will be all set with a doc who specializes in colon/rectal surgery...and with a doc who has already seen the inside of the colon. And, as someone said earlier, the drugs you get before and during the colonoscopy are fantastic..your dad will sleep like a baby the night of the colonoscopy!

Have seen all types of preps...personally, we (husband and I) have found the phoso soda is the most tolerable. 1.5 ounces to drink twice..that's it.

And don't be afraid of the results.....the old saying that there's nothing to fear but fear itself is very true. Saw husband put off colonoscopy for years for almost cost him his life.

And...big point...tell your dad he will not feel like he's being violated during the proceedure...most men feel this way prior to the proceedure. The nurses and docs do this day in and day out and know how to put the patient at ease...and the drugs help with that situation also!


Old 02-23-2006, 01:59 PM   #8
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Re: Is colonoscopy necessary considering all the headaches?

I have to say that while a colonsocopy may not be 'fun', it IS the best way for your doctor to see if there's a problem going on.
The prep is gross, but you get through
And the procredure itself (to me) is painless because you're under sedation.
My gastro doc referred me to a surgeon, whom I liked alot.
They bit of discomfort is weel worth finding out if there's a problem, believe me. If only my Dad had this procedure years ago, he might have lived, so since he died from colon cancer, the doc watches me fairly close, which I appreciate now.
I hope your Dad follows through with this, it could make all the difference..good luck!

Old 02-27-2006, 09:24 AM   #9
Mamma Lucia
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Smile Re: Is colonoscopy necessary considering all the headaches?

Just wanted to thank for for the overwhelming helpful, reassuring responses to my query.

My dad is in his early 60s, so he's been putting off colonoscopy for a while.

I shared your responses with my dad, who is in Brooklyn, NY, and he would like you to advise who would be a better choice to perform a colonoscopy in his case, a gastroenterologist, or a colon and rectal surgeon.

Thanks once again!

Old 02-27-2006, 09:56 AM   #10
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Re: Is colonoscopy necessary considering all the headaches?

I would go with a gastroenterologist. Where I live, a colon surgeon is more likely to do pre-surg imaging studies, Xrays, etc. in hopes of finding something to be dealt with surgically.

A gastroenterologist is more likely to scope first, then order other tests if necessary. The most common finding on colonscopies is polyps. In many cases if they are small enough to be removed on the spot. If large or invasive, referrral to a colorectal surgeon would likely be done.

I had a polyp removed during a colonoscopy & it was duck soup. Wonderful to have it dealt with before it turned cancerous (it was a precancerous lesion of fair size).

IMO, colonoscopy is a lot less invasive than surgery. Of course, if someone needs surgery, they should get it done.

At least that's the way it works on the West Coast.

Old 02-27-2006, 11:50 AM   #11
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Re: Is colonoscopy necessary considering all the headaches?

Gastroenterologist. And since medical practices tend to be so specialized in the NYC area, I would venture to guess that any surgeon would refer him to a gastroenterologist.

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