Michael Tarlowe, MD
Serving Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Coral Springs, Boca Raton, FL, and the surrounding areas
A colonoscopy is a technologically advanced method for screening for colon cancer. Michael H. Tarlowe, MD, performs gentle and effective colonoscopies at his private practice, which serves Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Coral Springs, Boca Raton, FL, and the surrounding areas. To learn more, book an appointment today by calling the office or using the online scheduling tool.
Colonoscopy Q & A
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a procedure that Dr. Tarlowe performs to examine the health of your lower intestine, or colon.
Your colon is the lowest part of your gastrointestinal tract and is attached to your anus by your rectum. It’s responsible for absorbing nutrients in your food and disposing of the waste.
While colonoscopies are typically diagnostic, Dr. Tarlowe might also collect tissue samples or remove abnormal tissues during your procedure.
When do I need a colonoscopy?
Dr. Tarlowe typically performs a colonoscopy to check for signs of colon cancer, but you might also need a colonoscopy to evaluate or diagnose:
- Otherwise inexplicable changes in bowel movements or habits
- Pain, bleeding, or other symptoms in your abdominal area
- Unexplained weight loss, diarrhea, or constipation
You should get a colonoscopy at least once every 10 years if you’re over the age of 50 and at average risk for colon cancer. You might need them more frequently if you’re at a higher risk of colon cancer.
Early diagnosis significantly increases your chances of successfully treating colon cancer. According to the American College of Surgeons, colonoscopy screenings prevent 76-90 percent of colon cancer cases.
How do I prepare for a colonoscopy?
Before your colonoscopy, Dr. Tarlowe gives you instructions for a bowel prep. This is a specific diet you need to follow and a set of supplements you need to take in the days before your colonoscopy.
There are a few different types of bowel preps, so Dr. Tarlowe can give you specifics for your particular prep, but generally speaking, you need to avoid red meat, beets, and raw fruits and vegetables up until noon on the day before your exam. From noon until your colonoscopy, you can only have clear liquids, such as:
- Clear fruit juice without pulp
- Soft drinks
- Clear broth
- Plain jello
- Flavored ice (but nothing red or purple)
- Hard candy
- Coffee or tea without milk, cream, or non-dairy creamer
The diet of clear liquids keeps your system free of dyes and obstructions so that Dr. Tarlowe can get a better view of your colon. You might also take a laxative or use an enema to flush out your colon on the day of your exam.
What happens during a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy takes about an hour. An anesthesiologist gives you an intravenous sedative after you lie down on your side on a padded exam table.
Dr. Tarlowe then inserts a colonoscope into your anus and guides it through your rectum and into your colon. A colonoscope is a flexible tube with a light and a camera on the end. Once the colonoscope is in place, Dr. Tarlowe uses carbon dioxide to inflate your colon, which makes it easier to assess.
After Dr. Tarlowe is finished examining your colon, you’ll wait in the exam room for about an hour as the sedative wears off. You need to arrange for a ride from the office because it won’t be safe for you to drive. You might notice a little blood in your stool after the procedure, which is normal and will resolve on its own.
To learn more about patient preparations for an upcoming colonoscopy, click here.
Schedule your colonoscopy today by calling Dr. Tarlowe’s office or requesting a visit online.